The clear need for the young and promising Bucs offense is at slot receiver. Tampa Bay will likely be in the market for a speed threat that can take the top off the defense and compliment the 6-foot-5 targets, possibly as early as the first few rounds. But another area to keep an eye towards the end of April’s draft is at fullback, where Javorski Lane’s future remains uncertain after a gruesome injury in Week 17. The Bucs emphasize the run, so blocking backs to help Luke Stocker and hopefully a recovered Lane could be addressed this offseason.
Derek Watt out of Wisconsin is an intriguing prospect, not only for his versatility and athleticism, but his family roots as well. The brother of NFL super star, J.J. Watt, Derek is trying to carve his own path and is willing to go the extra mile to do so. The 6-foot-2, 231 fullback who blocked for Monte Ball, Melvin Gordon and James White at Wisconsin, was lining up occasionally at tight end at West team practice Wednesday. He also spent time working with coaches as a long snapper. Watt, who was a three-time All-Big Ten Academic, played in 34 games with 14 starts, being slowed by a foot injury last season. He sees himself mainly as a blocking fullback or tight end, though has some experience carrying the rock and isn’t opposed to anything the coaches ask of him.
Below is the transcript from his quick Q & A.
Derek Watt, FB/TE Wisconsin
(On third day)
“It was good. I’m feeling more comfortable each day, and getting a few more reps at tight end. Just trying to learn more and more from these coaches. We have a great staff here and it’s just been an awesome opportunity for me to play full back and tight end and, at times, a little halfback. But mostly fullback and tight end.”
(On his versatility)
“I think that’s one of my strengths. I take pride in the fact that I can adapt and do a bunch of things. I’m just trying to be as versatile as possible, and just get noticed in any way, shape or form. I’m even long snapping after practice, just trying to get on the field.”
(On his ability playing special teams)
“Yep. I’m already on the punt team as a starting left wing. I don’t know how we’ll balance that out, but I’m on kickoff and kick return as well. Just trying to make my mark.”
(On using marketing major to his advantage when talking to teams)
“A little bit. It’s just a fun process, and that’s essentially what it is – marketing myself. I’m trying to make the most of this opportunity that I have.”
(On being in a backfield with Doug Marin and Charles Sims)
“I’ve seen those guys play. It would be a tremendous opportunity. I’ve been fortunate at Wisconsin blocking for some great running backs throughout my time. They made me look good, made my job easy. But, yeah, it would definitely be an honor to block for those guys.”
(On J.J. and family of football players)
“We try to be. We work hard, that’s are thing. J.J. has obviously been successful. I’m trying to make my own mark and my little brother is doing the same thing. He’s going to be a junior outside linebacker at Wisconsin, and he’s doing some great things. Look forward to seeing what he’s going to do.”
(On if J.J. has helped him through the process)
“Just enjoy it and work your butt off. Let your play do the talking. Be early and stay late and do everything you can because this is your one shot.”
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: [email protected]
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I sure hope we use the first 4-5 Rounds for other concerns than this. Go Bucs!
This kid could fill 2 or 3 roster spots. That’s value and he has the pedigree.
If we have a need on offense, I’d say it’s someone who can fill in for VJax as the #2 when he’s injured, which may be more common as he gets older. It was a huge drop-off when he was out this year. Hoping that Kenny Bell’s return helps, and disappointed that we let Rannell Hall get plucked away by the Browns.
This piece reminded me of a question posed to Walter Payton’s younger brother. “What’s it like being the brother of a superstar”? To which he replied, “I don’t know, maybe you should ask Walter.”
I was very Impress ed with this player and 10 other players that played in this game today.I think there is at least 4 players could be on Tampa bay roster in 2016 thru draft or FA.
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