“They Were Looking For A Very Specific Guy”

May 23rd, 2016
Dan Vitale's college coach talks about the Bucs' draft motives

Dan Vitale’s college coach talks about the Bucs’ draft motives

Were the Bucs hunting a new tight end in the NFL Draft?

Joe’s got commentary from Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Bucs scouting personnel visited Northwestern prior to the draft, including general manager Jason Licht. It’s common for team officials to go very deep with a college head coach on prospects — and share plenty of team insights with the coach, too.

For example, Fitzgerald is certain sixth-round pick Dan Vitale has a great home.

“He’s going to fit in really well with Coach Koetter’s offense,” Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald told WGN in Chicago.

“They were looking for a very specific guy with Dan’s skills, kind of just how we use our superback, you know, a fullback, H-back that would be complementary to their primary on-the-line tight end.”

So who is that primary on-the-line tight end? That’s Luke Stocker, who is adored by Bucs coaches. No Tampa Bay tight end got more snaps last season, even when the whole TE stable was healthy.

Joe was interested in Fitzgerald talking about how the Bucs wanted a “superback” to use like Northwestern did. Vitale has said he was lined up as a receiver nearly 70 percent of the time.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins might really have to step up his game — and availability — in a hurry.

22 Responses to ““They Were Looking For A Very Specific Guy””

  1. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    I think it’s safe to say ASJ is officially on the chopping block. Dallas Clark 2.0 is in the building.

  2. LakeLandBuc Says:

    If ASJ stay healthy, he will beat out these other TE’S with ease.

  3. pick6 Says:

    might be best to trade ASJ while people are still enamored with his freakish athleticism. between the old standby (stocker), the reliable up-and-comer (brate), and the new toy (Vitale), it seems like we have a full complement of TEs to fill the depth chart. ASJ more explosive than that trio, but not that important when you are responsible for as many personal fouls as you are big plays or when you are sucking up a spot on the 53 without actually suiting up.

  4. Fsuking Says:

    There is no way ASJ is going anywhere. He’s still far and away our most complete TE. Luke Stocker can block better but he can’t get open. Cameron Brate can get open but he can’t block. Vitale is 3 inches too short to be a TE. When fully healthy last year (1 game) ASJ was great. Then he came back and played like a tampon

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The ASJ mentions are understandable and spark comment but not really that relevant……What about Brandon Meyers…..when is the last time he has ever been mentioned in the mix…

    There’s Stocker, Brate, ASJ and now Vitale…….

    I would say Meyers is on the chopping block…..

  6. Mike Johnson Says:

    We all hope and pray..ASj worked out in the off season. Worked on a lot of things. You gotta wanna ball. Its gotta be in your heart to be good..to be great. You can’t half step in the NFL Sapp once said, Play half speed and you will get hurt. I believe that. All eyes are on Mr ASJ this season. I hope he delivers. I can’t see him as a..Rec Specialist somewhere at Golds Gym. We shall see if he’s got what it takes.

  7. Rrsrq Says:

    It’s the NFL, people get hurt, the guy we are loving now, Stocker, spent three years on the injured list, why are we so quick to run out ASJ when he is clearly the most talented of all in the TE room, injuries happen, last time this year it was Charles Sims, before that it was aLways GMC, so now it’s Kenny Bell and ASJ. Either these fans are spoiled because the Bucs of old were ironmen or they are just arm chair tough talkers wo only want to voice their disgruntlement with at least one or two Bucs every year, be careful Roberto and Spence, if you get hurt this fan base will consider you soft.

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    ASJ has had adequate time to fully heal and with competition pushing he should produce his best season outing yet. That’s what I want to see happen.

  9. Alan Bucs Says:

    @Rrsrq: Well said! I have heard Nice fans right so many players off because they get hurt. We have no idea how difficult it is to practice for a whole off season and play preseason and 16 game regular season without getting hurt. Let’s try and get whatever production we can out of the guys we have because often they will go to another team and have success.

  10. USFBUC Says:

    No need to cut ASJ he is a good receiver when he isn’t injured. Maybe they could line him up wide more often and leave the true TE position to Stocker, Brate, Meyers, and Vitale.

  11. mcruzer Says:

    What is it about ASJ that you guys defending him are seeing that I am not. I watched every game he played. His career catch % is 54% (among the lowest in the league) I saw him drop passes left and right as well as easy third down passes. Tell me again why he is a “good” receiver?

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    If ASJ can ever get and STAY healthy for an extended period of games – we will all see why he was a top 40 pick.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    He’s an H-back, we’ll see if he makes the team or not. He’s got unbelievable measurables and a lot of production at WR, he’s not much of a runner however and didn’t put much on tape in that regard. I hope he’s a homerun hit, that would be awesome, but I think he’s more of a developmental pick.

  14. Kevin Says:

    ASJ will have to be healthy and productive for 16 games or hes fried. To bad its come to this but as long as someone on the field is gwtting it done I dont really give a crap when they were drafted.

  15. Dreambig Says:

    I bought in to the whole dunkanners thing. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. So far ASJ is all hype until he proves otherwise. I don’t hate him, I just have a hard time remembering the man … he’s got a few touch downs, a few dropped passes, a few over the top penalties, thats about it. If he can come in this year and contribute, I’ll toast him and sing his praises. Otherwise he is burning up a roster spot that could be spent on someone helping us win.

  16. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I bet Luke Stocker doesn’t make the starting lineup this year. Why? His age. His durability.

    I don’t believe the Bucs are ready to toss in the towel on ASJ just yet. Next year? Maybe. If he doesn’t have a career year.

    Meanwhile, Stocker has been on borrowed time himself. The only reason he hasn’t been sent packing yet is ASJs health.

  17. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    At least Stocker has established himself as a role player. If ASJ isn’t catching passes and scoring TDs he’s useless. I was sooo pumped when we drafted him and his stock has done nothing but drop since that day. I thought he had Tony Gonzalez type skill, but now I’m just back to missing Dave Moore.

  18. Destinjohnny Says:

    Asj doesn’t have the mental make to match up with his talent

  19. gotbbucs Says:

    Vitale will be our most productive TE/H-back this year, mark it down. Brate will be second. ASJ doesn’t have it between the ears to maximize the talent he has.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    ASJ has mostly been great when he’s played – he has shown why he was such a high pick and basically everyone said the Bucs were getting a dominate player. His hands haven’t always been great, but he’s also made incredible plays. He’s 100x the athlete that Brate is, but of course Brate has been on the field. To me Brate is just another guy, a 50 catch 600 yards 6 TD player, ASJ has the potential to be much much more, but again health is his major concern.

  21. Alstott up the gut Says:

    It would be a great situation if Vitale’s performance put Stocker and ASJ into a “best man stays and worst gets traded” situation. Both are fragile with “upside.”

  22. old buc fan Says:

    I think ASJ needs to be in shape for a change. Work-out before camp and learn how to stretch those hammies early and often. He always seems to be a little out of shape, but we will see. As was mentioned before I don’t hate him, but I wish his abilities everyone brags on would come to light.