The Only New Toy

May 3rd, 2016

KoetterAt least something was under the Christmas tree for America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, during the NFL Draft.

Hardly a new iPad or a Corvette with a big red bow around it, sixth-round pick Dan Vitale is more rare gift.

He’s a fullback that’s more wide receiver but plays tight end, too. Known as a “superback” at Northwestern, Vitale comes to the Bucs as a guy who potentially could change the face of offensive football.

Definitely read this cool Yahoo! feature on Vitale. At 6-1, 240, Vitale is a total athletic freak who also is a bit of a football genius obsessed with hitting people.

On offense, Vitale estimated he was motioned out to the wing about 40 percent of the time, in the slot about 30 percent, lined up as a true or offset fullback about 20 percent and as an on-the-line tight end maybe 10 percent of the time. It’s the kind of versatility as a blocker and receiver, to go with his eye-popping athleticism and special-teams zeal, that he hopes NFL teams will value highly come draft time.

Yes, Vitale qualifies as a new toy. He can catch the football. He’s got great hands.

Dirk Koetter developed undrafted fullback Patrick DiMarco into a Pro Bowler in Atlanta (just ask DiMarco), but Vitale will be a new kind of challenge, one with more upside.

Joe’s now imagining Charles Sims and Vitale in a two-back set and then breaking off to line up as receivers.

Yes, the Bucs ignored their desperate for depth at receiver in the draft. But at least Vitale is something.

34 Responses to “The Only New Toy”

  1. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    OMG I can’t wait to see how Koetter implements this shiny new toy.

  2. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    A man some of y’all still sleep we about to be so H3ll in this league man.

  3. DallasBuc Says:

    My favorite pick from day 3

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I have been calling for months that we need to use the FB more in our offense…..Lane had like two passes and one carry last year…..not per game…..ALL YEAR!

    There is no question that using the FB in the slot/TE/RB will create matchup problems…..

    And….he likes to hit people.

  5. Lunchbox Says:

    Hey Joe just a heads up-I clicked on the link for the yahoo story on Dan Vitale. It took me to the story on Aguayo twice.

    It’s fixed! Thanks. –Joe

  6. mike Says:

    I love the pick. We have to find another WR!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    The worse thing that can happen for this league is surrounding Jamies with a large number of talented football players. The NCAA was at our mercy in 2013. Go and check the average margin

  8. Destro44 Says:

    This guy is so intriguing, because it’s all about creating positive match ups and this guy is a match up nightmare. Totally a Koetter pick in my opinion, I don’t think we would have drafted him if Lovie was still in charge. The key is not to just use him as a FB, you have to be creative

  9. Rrsrq Says:

    I hope we can put up 30 a game and when we want wear down the clock or just strike with the quickness, but I also hope our defense becomes familiar with the concept of 3 & out, take advantage when we have a team 2nd/3rd and long instead the usual giving up a twenty yard play on 3rd and 15, that’s all

  10. mike Says:

    I really thought we would trade both picks for the long snapper out of Baylor so I was glad to see us take Vitale.

  11. Brandon Says:

    You want a true NFL equivalent? People are going to take the fact that he’s a FB, white, from a midwest Big 10 school and scream ALSTOTT, not to mention he wore 40 in college… but this guy is…on the field…another Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez was also 6’1, didn’t run as well as this guy, but was a tad bigger. Hernandez also wasn’t a true TE and was often flexed wide. If we had people wanting us to draft a slot WR, this is the guy…he’s one part Welker and two parts Hernandez. Good hands, pretty good quickness, good routes. His production was hurt severely by poor QBing at Northwestern. I think this was a good pick… i just don’t want to hear about him being the next Alstott. Alstott was a bad blocker coming out of college, Vitale is terrible blocking out of the I. He does okay on the edges but if he doesn’t shield he only tries to cut block and he does this very poorly. As a lead blocker on 6 runs, I noticec he hit SOMEBODY 3 times. It probably wasn’t even the right SOMEBODY. He has a lot to do to work on lead blocking. Good weapon in passing game though.

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says
    “I have been calling for months that we need to use the FB more in our offense…”

    I have been BEGGING for a good fullback for years now. Remember all my mentions of Lorenz O’Neal? Mike Alsott?

    I wanted us to draft John “The Terminator” Connor when he came out. He ended up going to the Jets…and Rex Ryan destroyed the kid.

    I really liked this draft. I believe it was quietly one of the most solid drafts in Bucs history. I got a couple guys from my wishlist.

    Dan Vitale wasn’t on my wishlist (I’m ashamed to admit that), but he is most certainly my favorite pick of this draft…and I loved pretty much all of the picks.

  13. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Someone mentioned yesterday that this kid has the potential to be a cult hero.

    I agree. But I also agree with Brandon! He won’t be a pile moving Alstott…I like Brandon’s comparison Aaron Hernandez.

    What’s really exciting though is Joe’s point about changing offensive football.

    Koetter is flexible and imaginative…this could be something truly entertaining!!!

  14. Pat Says:

    I remember an article where Vitale mentioned another superback, Drake Dunsmore. He accredited his route running improvements because of Drake. GO BUCS!

  15. rayjay1122 Says:

    Loved this pick. May be the steal of the draft when it is all said and done. Go BUCS!!!

  16. » Blog Archive » Joe Maddon And The Bucs’ 2016 Draft - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] where he got a hands-on look at Tampa Bay’s new sixth-round pick Dan Vitale, the “superback” […]

  17. Rrsrq Says:

    Speaking of toys, just read an article “the Deion Jones Gamble” by the dirty birds, what’s the gamble, they drafted him to play MLB, think they saw that small speedy linebacker from LSU up close and personal and affect the outcome of a game, yeah, Dan Quinn is copying what Lovie Smith did with Kwon, wow

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    I’m solidly on board with the Vitale pick also, can’t believe he lasted long enough for the Bucs to bring him aboard.

  19. Pa Privateer Says:

    Wasn’t Dallas Clark of the Colts used like this? If I have the name wrong please correct me. But I remember them using him in the same way while Manning was running the show. Personally I am loving this pick for the same reasons that were pointed out by Joe. He can line up anywhere and he has already been doing that in College.

  20. Guzzie Says:

    He’s been my favorite player since I started looking at Glenn Gronkowski as a possible Bucs pick, after seeing this guys 40 time I did more research on him, 4.6 239 30 reps on bench and a 38 inch vertical, he is measureables destroyed Gronk, then watching his YouTube highlights, this guy in not a typical FB, he’s way quicker than any Hback type, he looks like 6’1 239 slot receiver, he destroys LBs and safeties on pass routes, he has the best hands on the team, it’s going to be fun watching his career

  21. Bill Says:

    I’m shocked Vitale fell to us in the 6th. His versatility should be a huge asset in a league where packages, formations, and motions have never been more important.

  22. Tnew Says:

    Privateer you are right. This kid is more of an H back than a fullback. Reminds me of Chris Cooley from the skins or Hoover for the Panthers. He is a willing run blocker as well but to put him at Fullback and make him a Javorski Lane type guy would be a waste. He might have the best hand on the Bucs right now.

  23. King C Says:

    I hope they actually use Vitale so I really hope so.
    We already have Sims as the pass catcher on third down so I’m not sure.

  24. Mike Johnson Says:

    I hope this Vitale kid makes the team. Sounds like he might have a little, Up the gut Allstott in him!!

  25. Jeagan1999 Says:

    It seems that offensive football is all about matchups…and how to exploit them. Vitale seems to be the kind of kid that you could really use to create some mismatches with! Stick him in the backfield with 3 WR’s and Sefarian-Jenkins at TE. Then just before the ball snaps, you motion Vitale out to the slot…or keep him in and let him sneak out of the backfield for the dumpoff throw. Who would cover him? A linebacker? A DE? I could really sethis kid as a huge redzone weapon this year!

  26. Guzzie Says:

    ASJ and Brate, one online, one a HBack role, Evans n Vjax/Bell out wide on each side, then Simms, one of the best dualthreat backs in the game with 5.0 YPC 500 yards rushing n receiving, and superback Dan Vitale, best hands on the team, both in the backfield, can motion Simms, Vitale, or Hback at anytime, that’s like having a 5 receiver set in a base offense, pretty awesome……NO IMAGINE IT IN THE HURRY UP….OMG

  27. Guzzie Says:


  28. Espo Says:

    Closest comparison I see is Chris Cooley, the Skins’ Mr Do It All.

  29. Guzzie Says:

    Way faster and quicker than Dallas Clark or Chris Cooley, he looks like a slot receiver and an Hback rolled into one player

  30. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    He’s a freak of nature, a human bowling ball, a machine on the field..I really like this kid a lot!!

    Give him a DNA will find steel, diamond. and lonsdaleite,..beast mode 3.0..

  31. brandonbucsfan Says:

    Everyone wanted another receiver…remember we haven’t really seen Bell yet..with the addition of Vitale and the way Humphries played and assuming Murphy comes back and MAYBE just MAYBE a healthy ASJ, I will take our receiving corps with almost anybody..with the OL having a year behind them Dirk and Jameis must be salivating!

  32. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    We asked ASJ on Twitter if he was healthy and ready for the year and he said he was..He was exercising a bit different than before, doing hot yoga on Sundays ( other Bucs doing it too) and working with the trainer…Hopefully he stays healthy..he’s a my Buc crush I know, I can be his mother)..but my mind can get a bit naughty..

  33. Mr. T Says:

    I surely hope we utilize this kids offensive play making ability and not try to make him into just a blocking back. We didn’t do that with Iosefa last year and that’s why he’s with New England now because they used him as a runner not just a blocker as we did.

  34. Pa Privateer Says:

    @Guzzie, great point. He is a match up nightmare in a no huddle offense or the 2 minute drill