You May Thank Luke Stocker

June 10th, 2017


Though Joe has yet to read it, Joe senses there are lurkers hiding under rocks who can’t wait for tight end Luke Stocker to be cut.

After drafting O.J. Howard in the first round and winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter raving about undrafted rookie free agent Canadian Antony Auclair as if he is the second coming of Mike Ditka, and the NFL leader in touchdowns for a tight end last season in Cam Brate on the roster, Stocker could be the odd man out if the Bucs keep only three tight ends.

Stocker is a damn fine blocker, which never shows up on the spreadsheets, and we all know a player is worthless if you can’t slap a number on him other than his jersey number right? Right?

The fact Stocker is on his fourth Bucs coaching regime and his second general manager administration should tell folks something. New coaches and GMs aren’t always keen on keeping players they did not select.

Well, after underwear football practice Thursday, someone did some bad math and figured, since Brate, a Harvard man, is so intelligent, he must be like Howard’s big brother on the roster, helping him learn the ways of the NFL.

Not really, Koetter said. It is Stocker who has been right by Howard’s side.

“Really the guy that does a great job in that tight end room as a mentor is Luke Stocker,” Koetter said. “Luke’s one of the elder statesmen on our team, and I think he looks after both Cam and O.J. Luke’s the leader in that room.”

Often, there are invaluable guys behind the scenes, always veterans, often backups. They may not play much but the wisdom they offer to younger players makes it hard to put a price on their importance.

Another guy like that was swinging saloon doors Gosder Cherilus. Yes, he was over the hill, but if you talk to Ali Marpet or Donovan Smith or even Leonard Wester, they rave about how much Cherilus helped them. It was almost as if they were speaking about a family member.

Often, Wester told Joe in January, Cherilus would give Wester sort of a problem or a riddle dealing with blocking and playing offensive line and he would tell Wester, “You go home and think about it and give me an answer in the morning.”

It was like a college professor giving a student a homework assignment. The young offensive linemen loved it.

The difference between Stocker and Cherilus is, Cherilus is over the hill. Stocker can still block and block well.

30 Responses to “You May Thank Luke Stocker”

  1. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Should of cut him after the draft so Howard could have #88, then resign him.

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    Well, if he is not cut before opening day. Joe will get to see luke stocker go tot he DL or IR one last time as the Bucs will not resign him after this season!!! Contract year for stocker, or rather an audition to make another squad next year as the backup FB and 3rd string blocking TE that is very injury prone!!!!!!

  3. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Let me show my ignorance here. I do a very poor job of keeping up with ST players and it seems like the gunners and LS are the ones who get the attention.

    Is Stocker a large contributor on ST?

  4. Casual Observer Says:

    Haven’t heard how the Laval guy is doing; Auclair. Seems like he would be in the running for no. 3. But Stocker should be fine for no. 3 or 4. Experience plus blocking ability.

  5. InJameisWeTrust Says:

    I see Stocker’s importance as the elder veteran on the team, especially in that VERY young tight end room

  6. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Ah Gosder Cherilus, the human turnstile.

  7. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Stocker also has Howard’s college number lol

  8. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Luke Stocker IS a great blocker…when he is healthy. Which is almost never.

  9. Cover Deuce Says:

    There are 4 downs, and he’s a mighty contributor on 4th down. That’s on top of being versatile enough to line up in the backfield. This game will always be about blocking and tackling, so guys like Stocker always find homes, even if he is a bit injury prone.

  10. EasyTheGreat Says:

    Stocker should’ve be been cut from this team 3 years ago

  11. Mo_Downs Says:

    Only 2 of our 4 TE’s has played in the NFL.
    Only “2” of our 4 TE’s has been a consistent contributor in the NFL.

    Like most fans I hope OJ and Auclair are the 2nd coming of Bronk & Aaron.
    I’ve been down this path of “HOPE” every year before the 1st camp cuts.

    So, this year I’m going to chill and assume the coaches look beyond “Hope” and pick the players who can contribute to the overall success of the team within the confines of the playbook and the anticipated competition.

    I hope OJ is the next “BIG DEAL”.
    I hope Stocker is a Road Grader blocker and is overlooked by every team in the Red Zone.
    I hope that Brate improves even more this year and puts up a career season
    And, I hope that Auclair is better than all the above.

    “Just Win, Baby”

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

    Gosh was bad in tha dallas game but in fairness Irving will be serving a 4 game suspension for ped use. So was Gos that bad or Irving juiced up??? Things that you go hmmm.

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

    Dewey I kinda wish he was still rockin the 88 also bro☺. Also people better start getting to know Auclair,he ain’t fling no where for a long while. 6’6 250lbs pass blocker and catcher much like O.J.

  14. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Luke Stocker is garbage, only a dumb team like the Bucs would carry this trash for 5 seasons.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    I sometimes wonder if some JBF folks just kinda make up their own ‘facts’. Realist you called Stocker ‘very injury prone’. Really? And Bonzai, the same thing … Stocker’s healthy ‘almost never’? Seriously? Luke’s been in the league for 6 yrs now, and has played in 71 games … average of 12 games a year. But look a little deeper. He was hurt early in the 2013 season & only got to play in 2 games. So discount that & he played in 69 games in 5 yrs … and average of 14 games per year. For a blocking TE/FB who’s hitting some rather big guys going at full speed hundreds of times a year I’d say 14 games/yr is pretty darned good.

    And BTW, he may not be the spectacular as a pass-catching TE in your eyes, but over all those 6 seasons he’s averaged 65%. So he caught 2 out of every 3 balls thrown his way. Awful, just terrible. Way below (?) Cam Brate’s 72% rate, but still above the other 2 TEs who’ll probably make the team.

  16. Bird Says:

    They will make him an assistant tight ends coach or something like that. As long as no tight end gets hurt

  17. tnew Says:

    Really don’t understand the disdain for Stocker. Never that highly paid, was a 4th round pick, been on the roster through 4 coaching changes, good guy in the community, does a ton of dirty work, back up Full back, mentors the TE’s and because he isn’t Tony Gonzalez he sucks..

  18. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Stocker may be a good blocker yes, but I don’t think anyone would call him dominant.

    After all he got beat bad on that goal line play that resulted in a safety.

    My biggest issue with Stocker is that he has proven to be injury prone. Having said that, I do think he makes this team, if he and Auclair are neck and neck in training camp/ preseason I think we will most likely keep a 4th tightend.

  19. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    ^I’m referring to the Seattle game btw.

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    Stocker is a valuable and valued member of this team and is not going anywhere. Sounds like he’s making himself even more valuable by willingly taking on the “mentor” role for the young TEs. Good story Joe!

    Although…. – this is an odd take.
    “Stocker could be the odd man out if the Bucs keep only three tight ends”.

    Um – we are keeping a minimum of 4 TEs this year – perhaps even 5. You need bodies to run a 2 TE offense as often as I believe we will this year and moving forward.

  21. Bojim Says:

    That Stocker is still here should tell you something. Just sayin.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    EasyTheGreat Says
    “Stocker should’ve be been cut from this team 3 years ago”

    No, he should have been REPLACED 3 years ago.

    Just cutting him would have created a hole.

    A good fullback would easily replace him. Hopefully we have one now.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Pickgrin Says
    “…we are keeping a minimum of 4 TEs this year – perhaps even 5. You need bodies to run a 2 TE offense as often as I believe we will this year and moving forward.”

    I agree with this 100%.

    Dirk has wanted really good TEs for a while now. It’s how he runs his offense. We have not really seen him light things up because he has not had the talent. Now he does (hopefully).

    But I hope you are wrong about Stocker. If he goes, it is because the Bucs found someone else who is just as good, healthier and perhaps younger. So I hope he goes.

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    When exactly did we only keep 3 TEs?…..and don’t most teams have at least 4?
    I will lay down a wager with Joe or anyone right now that we have 4 or more TEs…..

  25. Howard Cosell Says:

    This is like how Josh McCown would have been a great mentor too, right?

  26. Maze Says:

    You may be simple if you want the Bucs best run blocker at TE cut

  27. webster Says:

    My buc fans and writers are clueless. The bucs are not cutting stocker. Dirk has raved about his leadership etc. Anybody that thinks stocker will not make the final 53 are clueless as it relates to what it means to build a team.

  28. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    Another good article by Joe.
    After Brandon Myers left, I never expected Luke Stocker would get cut, but I do expect he’s #3 of the depth chart, though we may see him a lot on first down plays. He’s on his last year of his contract due to earn $1.7 million, and maybe they sign him for a couples years after…but that depends. One of A. Cross or T. Westbrook will make the practice squad. I do wonder if they will carry four tight ends given they play a two TE sets and special teams is out there too.

  29. BucTrooper Says:

    When a player sucks, the fallback praise is always “well he can block.”

    I think lining up at TE Warren Sapp has more career touchdowns than Stocker. Sapp could block…and catch.

    One game last year, Brste caught 2 TDs. I went on my phone to look up Stocker’s stats and he had 2….in his career.

  30. firethecannons Says:

    Bu-bye alan cross and luke stocker and t westbrook