When the Buffalo Bills opened training camp at the end of last month, there were a few undrafted rookies who seemingly had a chance to crack the final roster. One of them was a tight end from Tennessee who was trying to find a spot at the bottom of a crowded depth chart, but at this point is sitting just behind another unheralded name.
Name: Jason Croom
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 246 lbs.
Draft: UDFA (2017)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Croom is on something close to a standard three-year UDFA deal. He’s set to make $465k this season with $90k raises in each of the next two seasons. He did receive a signing bonus of $11,000, so any dead cap hit if he were released would be minimal.
2016 Recap: After a knee injury cost him his 2015 season, Croom converted to tight end from wide receiver for the 9-4 Volunteers. He caught 21 passes for 242 yards without a score last season, finishing fifth on the team in receiving. He topped out in catches with seven during a loss to Vanderbilt, and in yards with 54 in an early-season win over Ohio University.
Positional Outlook: The top two spots on the tight end depth chart seem pretty settled, so Croom is fighting for what will probably be only one spot at the bottom of the rotation. He has some catching up to do to match Logan Thomas, but a quick look at playing time would seem to imply that he’s the next man up if someone gets hurt.
2017 Offseason: After signing with the Bills during the undrafted free agent frenzy, Croom really hasn’t popped much on the radar, aside from the first day of camp when he earned some first-team reps. He hasn’t been back since, for whatever that’s worth.
2017 Season Outlook: Without some standout performances in the remainder of the month, Croom isn’t likely to find a spot on the 53. That said, he saw plenty of playing time against the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason opener and has a strong case to make the practice squad if he can’t pass Thomas on the depth chart.