During the NFL Draft, the argument is always best player available, versus a need pick. At the fullback position, there was no question that the Bucs had a need as they had no fullbacks on their current roster.
That changed on Saturday when the Buccaneers took Northwestern’s Dan Vitale in the sixth round, which was their final selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Vitale was a consensus Second Team All-Big Ten player for the Wildcats. Despite being known as a tough runner and blocker, Vitale is a versatile athlete, evidenced by leading Northwestern with 33 receptions for 333 yards and four receiving touchdowns. Vitale played the superback position in college, where he showcased his versatility, playing tight end a times in addition to other duties, including receiver and fullback. .
Vitale is expected to compete at fullback for the Bucs while also to be counted on as a special teams contributor, according to Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter who spoke immediately following the selection on Saturday.
Vitale spoke to the local media via a conference call not long after being picked, and PewterReport.com asked him to describe his playing style.
“I would definitely say my athleticism is my biggest asset, and versatility as well, but the biggest reason I went to Northwestern, other than the great education, was Big 10 football,” Vitale said. “You know, hard-nosed football. I’d like to believe I am a hard-nosed football player and I am excited to go do that in Tampa.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
He’s awesome bay-bee!
Too bad Dickie V. didn’t announce this pick
I’m glad we picked him and I believe he will get some playing time this season. Go Bucs!
The short out to the FB in the flat is as sure as any play in the game. Mr. Alstott racked up about gazzilion 1st downs making one guy miss – it needs to be back in the script. This guy may be the one …
That play is unstoppable in Madden. haha
I know – digital A-Train nostalgia. Still, if this guy can shed that corner like Mike did, those chains will be movin’.
absolutely love this pick. This guy has great hands and is built like Mike, not to mention he just destroyed the combine. We could use him all over the place.This is a Jason Licht player all the way. This might be one of my favorite picks in this draft.
I predict Vitale will be our starting fullback and can also be our short yardage back, catch passes out of the backfield, and also play TE in a pinch. That would also mean that once again Licht got us four starters in this year’s draft. I loved Alstott too! Licht also got us a kick returner who averaged 28 yards on a kickoff who will also try out for backup CB or Safety and special teams named Ryan Smith who should start running back kicks, a developmental backup Tackle and Guard–Caleb Benenoch, and a Special Team’s player and backup linebacker–Devonte Bond. What Licht neglected to draft was a DT that we badly needed and another WR. Maybe he will still trade Glennon to fill those needs or hire some that have not made a team yet. The other two starters will be Hargraves and Arguayo from this year’s draft. So decent draft that could have been better.
Now we have the perfect player for spider 2 y banana John Gruden. I think Jameis will have a new best friend.
I had my eye on this guy in the 6th round since we have no FB’s on the roster. He’s not going to get to wear #40. Looking forward to watching what he can do out of that spot.
Watched some tape on him, he’s a very sound pass protector in the backfield. To me, this will be a fun pick to watch. Reminds me of Cooley. There’s really no need for Stocker anymore. This kid can fill his roll, while doing much more.
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