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Tuesday, Aug 14, 2018
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Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

At no position is the Bucs' ability to find talent outside the NFL draft more clear than at tight end, where three of the four returning players from last season joined the Bucs as undrafted rookie free agents.

Cameron Brate did so in 2014, Alan Cross in 2016 and Antony Auclair last season, and there's a chance that pattern could continue in 2018 as well, with three promising rookies hoping to stick on the Bucs' final roster.

"I like our new group, new rookies," tight ends coach Ben Steele said last week. "We've got three great guys that are competing right now, just trying to get lined up, to be honest with you. Their heads are spinning. They're behind on the install, but they're putting in the time. It's still early, but I do like the group we have."

Here are the three trying to compete and grab perhaps the fourth tight end job away from one of the returning players who did the same their rookie year:

DONNIE ERNSBERGER, WESTERN MICHIGAN: The smallest of the three at 6-foot-3, 241 pounds, he emerged his senior year of college, after only 11 catches in his first three seasons. He caught 34 passes for 394 yards and four scores as a senior, and was one of the Bucs' priority signings after the draft.

TANNER HUDSON, SOUTHERN ARKANSAS: Started his college career at Memphis as a quarterback/punter, but played four years for the Muleriders, adding about 30 pounds to his frame, now at 6-5, 239. He caught at least 40 passes for at least 600 yards each of his last three seasons, totaling 23 touchdowns over those three years.

"I consider my strength in the receiving aspect," said Hudson, who was a teammate of Cross at Memphis. "I did a lot of blocking my last year in college. I really worked, knew that was probably the weakest part of my game, and I think I did a decent job at it."

JASON REESE, MISSOURI: More the blocking type, he had a 61-yard catch against South Carolina last year, but had only five catches for 134 yards as a senior, with 29 in his college career. Good size at 6-5, 250.

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