Because Luke Stocker was drafted in the fourth round in 2011 – 24 picks ahead of Julius Thomas – many Bucs fans expected him to be an effective pass catcher and downfield threat on offense. And because he hasn’t quite fit that role over the last five years, some of those fans have discredited his value to the team.
But take it from tight ends coach Jon Embree, those fans would be wrong.
“Luke is probably the most valuable guy in that room,” Embree said of the tight ends group at One Buc Place on Thursday. “He’s invaluable because he’s a great pass protector, he’s a good run blocker and he can be a threat in the passing game.”
Throughout the offseason, coaches, on both sides of the ball, have emphasized the importance of having versatile players and Stocker is definitely one they would consider a multitalented piece on offense. Embree also praised his knowledge of the system and reliability to do his job even when others make mistakes.
“He knows what everyone is supposed to do,” Embree said. “There were a lot of times last year where he made things right. Maybe a play wasn’t called right, or a formation, but he knew what was supposed to be done and he got it done.”
So while Stocker, who had nine receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown in 2015, won’t likely see 10 targets a game – a plan that seems to be in store for Cameron Brate and Austin Seferian-Jenkins combined this season – his value on offense is hard to question. Whether it’s serving as a blocking fullback, a jumbo tight end in pass protection, or understanding his responsibility at all times, Stocker has truly been a jack-of-all-trades for the Bucs and continues to play an important role.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org