Tight end Alan Cross spent much of his first two years with the Bucs on the bubble, getting cut and re-signed during last season. That might have changed with his progress this offseason, including an impressive 10-yard touchdown catch in Thursday's preseason opener against Miami.
"I'd say he's not on the bubble," Koetter said Friday. "Alan Cross is a pretty good football player. He does a lot of things behind the scenes that people don't always see. He's a guy that is in the shadows sometimes, but all the sudden when you need him, if a guy's hurt, he knows all the positions. He plays fullback, he plays tight end, in the slot, on all the special teams. Heck, he could probably coach the special teams. Just a good football player, and that was a beautiful route and throw on his touchdown."
Cross, 25, had six catches and a touchdown as an undrafted rookie out of Memphis in 2016, and had five catches in eight games last year. The Bucs have two top-tier tight ends in O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, with six touchdown catches each last year, but Cross and Antony Auclair give them promising depth in a young room.
The Bucs brought in three undrafted rookies at tight end, potentially challenging Cross for the No. 4 tight end spot, but one of them, Donnie Ernsberger, was waived-injured on Friday, leaving just Tanner Hudson and Jason Reese.