Contrasting Tight Ends And A Bear Hug For Tristan Wirfs

March 3rd, 2023

After coffee with new Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales this morning, Joe is patrolling the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, where tight ends were rolled out to media today.

Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta could be a late second-round pick, and he’s well aware of the tight end pedigree from his school. It almost rivals how the Hawkeyes spit out quality offensive linemen.

LaPorta has excellent hands and he strives to be an every-down tight end. He admits his blocking is a work in progress, and he takes great pride being named an Iowa captain for every game last season. He shared that the Hawkeyes have a “leadership council” that votes on captains weekly rather than for the season.

Joe asked LaPorta, who had a “formal” interview with the Buccaneers yesterday, about his relationship with Tampa Bay right tackle Tristan Wirfs. He said he doesn’t stay in touch with Wirfs but remembers him very well and they had a good relationship.

Wirfs was “the big dog in the locker room, literally and metaphorically. … I’m sure if I saw him I would give him a big bear hug,” Laporta added.

LaPorta stands about 6-4, 255 pounds but he looked lighter than that Joe, almost skinny. The contrast between LaPorta and beastly Georgia tight end Darnell Washington was wildly striking. Washington was listed last season at 6-7, 270 pounds, and he looks every bit of it but Rob Gronkowski-like ripped.

Asked to name tight ends he studies, Washington’s first answer was Gronk (followed by Ravens tight end Mark Andrews).

Joe got a little time alone with the soft-spoken Washington and asked him how he defines a complete tight end. Washington, a likely second-round pick, said “dominate” three times and he sounded far more sure of his blocking than Laporta did.

Joe has an extra interest in tight ends this season because the Bucs certainly need one, and what a sweet addition it would be if they landed a top-flight blocking tight end — in the draft or in free agency.

Washington is a specimen and was a nasty blocker at Georgia, in addition to his 28 catches for a whopping 454 yards last season. Joe has to think he’s on the Bucs’ radar. Heck, he’s so big he might show up radar at Tampa International Airport.

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41 Responses to “Contrasting Tight Ends And A Bear Hug For Tristan Wirfs”

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Draft as many Iowa OL/TE as you can.

  2. PSL Bob Says:

    Washington sounds like the more complete package.

  3. BucsfanFred Says:

    What will Santa Jason leave us under the tree this April?
    It’s definitely coal for free agency this year because we’ve been salary cap naughty last few years, but maybe the draft will be a nice surprise.

  4. ElioT Says:

    Is Washington going to run the 40? – He looked very slow at UGA but perhaps that was just because of his size???

  5. D-Rok Says:

    NFL Network was calling that kid from Notre Dame a mini-Gronk. Dude separates at top of routes almost like a WR.

    Washington appears to lumber, but so did Gronk, so who knows what his 40 time is. He’s a specimen, for sure.

  6. Marine Buc Says:

    Our first two picks should probably be defense – unless there is a legit replacement for Donovan Smith available.

    Tight end with pick #81.

    Our GM would be wise to trade down from pick #19 and collect a few more picks because this team needs as many cheap, young, healthy players as possible…

    23 free agents – 3 restricted free agents – releasing 3 players (all have started)

    Minus $55 million SC.

    And we only have 3 picks in the top 100…

  7. robert Says:

    no TE. I happy with the 2 we have. get a cheap vet. this guy is wayyyy to skinny.

  8. Marine Buc Says:

    We actually only have 3 draft picks in the top 150…

    If Licht can trade pick #19 and stay in the late first round while picking up an extra 2nd and 4th he should do it.

  9. rrsrq Says:

    Washington may not be a Kyle Pitts, but you know if it’s Kyle Trask, he will find a friend in a tight end

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I could definitely see us selecting a TE in the first 3 rounds….along with a CB & LB…..perhaps Oline instead of LB if LVD is retained.

    A big receiving/blocking TE would really help our offense.

  11. Arn Platz Says:

    @Joe. Have you met Michael Mayer, Notre Dame TE? He might change your mind.

  12. Craig Says:

    We have two young, contrasting, tight ends. I hope they develop this season because we are stuck with them.

    Bowles cleaner will use the first two picks on defense. DL and CB are my guess.

    He might give the third pick to Canales, and maybe the fifth.

    Other than that the picks will be on defense.

    And if Stetson Bennett is around for round 5, grab him. Who cares about a public drunk charge for a kid who just went 15-0 in the SEC.

  13. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Washington looks like a swole Jameis

  14. Voice of Truth Says:

    Best Edge/OLB in round 1, TE Washington in round 2 –

    Pass rush cures ills in the secondary

    Huge TE is a security blanket for Kyle

    Two HUGE needs

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc & TBBF … Given our situation, there are so many possible scenarios come draft time that it boggles the mind. The one saving grace is that free agency should be pretty far along by the time that draft night rolls around. We should be able to narrow things down quite a bit in the meantime.

    I still stick with the notion that all of the potential starters & key rotational players will come from Rnds 1-4 in the draft. That’s not to say that picks from Rnds 5-7 never make it as starters or key guys their rookie season, but the odds are definitely against them it seems. And since we don’t have a 4th Rnd pick right now, we’ll probably only get 3 cracks at filling our biggest needs. BTW, is there ANY CHANCE AT ALL that we’ll get a comp pick in the Top 4 Rnds this year?

    So what are our biggest needs, keeping an eye on the long-term as well as the short-term? IF we only get those 3 picks, I say ‘Man the trenches’ followed by Secondary or ILB depending upon which of our FAs get re-signed. In any given year you can never go wrong by grabbing a quality OLineman in the Top-4 Rnds. Same with picking up a quality DLineman (to include OLB/DE in that group). That’d leave you 2 others in any given year, one for offense & one for defense depending upon where your holes are. Since we’ve currently only got 3 picks, defensive needs seem to be more pronounced.

  16. MadMax Says:

    If we dont draft Darnell Washington, Im going to be sad….I cant wait to see his combine….also CB Mekhi Garner today….then LT Harrison and Duncan on Sunday.

  17. MadMax Says:

    If we cant land Carter or LT Harrison, I say trade down to near the top of the 2nd and grab Washington there.

  18. MadMax Says:

    And I swear if the AINTS steal my picks again, im gonna freaking lose it… lol

  19. Usfbuc Says:

    @Defense we did get comp picks already – 175 and 253

  20. Marine Buc Says:

    @ DR

    “Since we’ve currently only got 3 picks, defensive needs seem to be more pronounced.”

    I agree. But it seems (based on reports) that we are cutting 3 players who were offensive starters…

    – D. Smith
    – Fournette
    – Brate

    So add 3 more holes to this Swiss cheese of a roster – all on the offensive side of the ball.

    IMO – our GM really doesn’t have much of a choice. Moving back in round one to gain 2 additional draft picks in the top 100 is a must.

    We could literally pick ANYONE (except punter) and it will fill a hole in this roster.

    The past three off seasons have been pretty boring.

    Now we will see if our GM is worth his salt.

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    lol Max

  22. Andrew Fish Says:

    #1 priority select the best players available no matter the position. That being said I would love to see the Georgia TE selected if available. We need a dual treat TE. Blocking being the key.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    Well, the biggest hole on offense last year was the TE position. Without Gronk, production fell off a cliff. And some here are expecting the same two TEs from last year to fill that void?! Based off of last year?!!!

    Is it THE most important position we draft? No, but it could be a difference maker, IMO.

  24. MadMax Says:

    What up 87, you know me…. 🙂

  25. Joe Says:

    Have you met Michael Mayer

    Joe likes him.

  26. MadMax Says:

    Ya’ll that know me, when they listen to me and some others here, we draft good, when they dont and go down some kind roller coaster rabbit hole of unknowns, well, you see the results…

    And no we’re not trading Devin White (one of my prized picks along with, Big V-Wirfs-Winfield-Marpet-David)

    Yes i missed on Jaemis and that other TE, looks like tarzan plays like jane…forgot his name OJ something….

  27. MadMax Says:

    Unfortunately Mayer wont be there for us….unless we move up. And of course I like him too….just out of reach.

  28. Dooley Says:


    Luke Schoonmaker & Brevyn Span-Ford, two big durable TEs from programs that run the hell out of the ball. Both day 2-3 prospect depending on how they test, but in terms of adding to Otton & Keift in the TE room, either prospect just beefs up the rotation.

  29. MadMax Says:

    Garner 4.55

  30. MadMax Says:

    Thanks Dooley, I’ll look into them.

  31. MadMax Says:

    CB Cam smith is fast…if we do go CB early

  32. Dooley Says:


    There are several guys I wouldn’t mind going for at Cb in this draft class, that particular position this cycle is deep as I can ever remember it being. Wouldn’t complain drafting Smith, Porter Jr, Kyu Blu Kelly, Julius Brents or either CBs from Texas A&M

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … ‘our GM really doesn’t have much of a choice. Moving back in round one to gain 2 additional draft picks in the top 100 is a must.’

    I hear ya, but it still takes Two to Tango. Someone has to want that #19 pick bad enough to be willing to give up 2 picks that equal (or preferably best) that one. Kinda like what Buffalo did 5 years ago to get Josh Allen?

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    MadMax … ‘And no we’re not trading Devin White’.

    I’m still doubtful that the Bucs will be able to re-sign him next season Max. I like him, but not at $20 mil. I’d much rather sign Wirfs to a long-term contract rather than going the 5th-year routine with him (it’d cost just as much as a long-term contract & I’d rather lock him up for a bunch of years). He’s much too good to ever let go.

  35. MadMax Says:

    Yeah, Wirfs over White…but he’ll come down.

  36. Warrenfb12 Says:

    Need a true dual threat TE. This was a big part of the problem with the running game.

  37. BelleGladeBuc Says:

    Mayer from Norte Dame is the best TE in the draft followed by Washington from Georgia. Both are elite level prospects for the NFL at the TE position and have the potential to be game changing players. Because of both players tremendous blocking and pass catching abilities they affect the offensive game plan in a greater capacity than other skill position players other than the QB. The Bucs would be lucky to draft either player in my opinion.

  38. BelleGladeBuc Says:

    Defense Rules

    Devin White got torched by Prescott and Goedertt on the vertical seam routes.

    It didn’t matter if the Bucs were in man, man cover 2 or cover 2 or man Cover 3 or Cover 3 (the Cowboys ran down our throats when they saw Cover 3) the ball went to Goedertt because White couldn’t cover the hash seam route which is the vulnerability of that coverage.

    LB’s must be able to defend the hash to the safety and and the hash to the flat in modern day football.

    The film on White that everyone in the NFL now has is that Devin White can’t cover those things.

  39. FrontFour Says:

    I liked D White coming out of LSU but you raise the glaring weakness in his coverage skills that can’t be overlooked. He regressed last season rather than taking the step forward to fix that. Someone in the organization needs to put it on him to step up. No big contract with his current game.

  40. BelleGladeBuc Says:

    I got my NFC East TEs mixed up. Sorry about that.

    It was Prescot to Shultz that Dallas torched Devin White on with the vertical seam route up the hash.

    I guess my brain is trying to protect me from remembering everything from that brutal playoff beat down that my Bucs suffered.

    Goedertt from Hurts would torch Devin White just the same if the Eagles were to play the Bucs, and thankfully that didn’t happen this past season.

    Devin White can’t defend the hash to the safety and the hash to the flat in pass coverage. Everybody knows it.

  41. MadMax Says:

    My man Darnell, he blew up today at the combine!!!!

    We better be saying welcome to Tampa at pick #19….

    Im not playing, this is the guy! I was already pushing for him…then he went out here and OWNED the combine….No other TE pushed that sled like he did….the 4.6 40’s and then of course, that beautiful one handed grab in the last drill

    This is our guy Mr Licht! I would say try to trade down for more capitol, but he wont last long, so just get it over with.