The Tampa Bay Buccaneers likely have lost rookie tight end
T.J. Williams for the entire 2006 season after the sixth-round draft choice suffered an injury to his right Achilles tendon during the team's mandatory three-day minicamp last week.
It is expected that Williams, the latter of the Bucs' two selections in the sixth round and the 202nd player chosen overall, will be placed on injured reserve.
The former North Carolina State standout was to have challenged for a backup job at a position where the Bucs are very deep. Even with the loss of Williams, the Bucs still have six tight ends on the roster, counting deep-snapper Dave Moore. But because head coach Jon Gruden relies on so many two- and three-tight end formations in his offense, Tampa Bay typically keeps a lot of players at the position.
A three-year starter in college, Williams had 98 receptions for 1,283 yards and five touchdowns during his Wolfpack career. Over his final three seasons, Williams averaged 31.7 receptions and he led the team in catches in 2004. Although he has good enough size (6-feet-2½, 255 pounds), Williams is regarded as a much better receiver than blocker, and will have to improve in the latter area.
Williams is the second player from the 2006 draft class to sustain a potential season-ending injury during an offseason workout. Former Texas Tech center E.J. Whitley, a seventh-round selection of the Dallas Cowboys, suffered a knee injury last month during a workout.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.