Round 7: Florida State FB Freddie Stevenson – 6-0, 236 – 4.72 – Senior
Previous Pick: Drake TE Eric Saubert
In the seventh round the Bucs select Stevenson, Florida State’s lead blocker for Dalvin Cook. Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht has a history of taking fullbacks with their final picks, including Hawaii’s Joey Iosefa in 2014 and Northwestern’s Danny Vitale last year. The problem with Iosefa and Vitale is that neither was a blocking back in college and couldn’t make the transition to fullback in the NFL.
This time, Licht and the Bucs draft an actual lead blocker in Stevenson, who played with Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston for two years at Florida State. In fact, Winston and Stevenson hooked up for a 35-yard touchdown that helped the Seminoles mount a comeback and beat Louisville – a game Licht attended.
Stevenson’s Florida State Career Rushing Stats
2016: 13 carries for 90 yards (6.9 avg.) and 4 TDs with a long of 38 yards
2015: 3 carries for 9 yards (3.0 avg.) and 0 TDs with a long of 6 yards
2014: 1 carries for 0 yards (0 avg.) and 0 TDs
2013: 8 carries for 33 yards (4.1 avg.) and 1 TD with a long of 10 yards
Stevenson’s Florida State Career Receiving Stats
2016: 1 catch for 6 yards (6.0 avg.) and 1 TDs with a long of 6 yards
2015: 9 catches for 64 yards (7.1 avg.) and 0 TDs with a long of 17 yards
2014: 7 catches for 72 yards (10.3 avg.) and 1 TD with a long of 35 yards
2013: 2 catches for 18 yards (9.0 avg.) and 0 TDs with a long of 10 yards
Stevenson had his most productive year during his senior season, rushing for 90 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 13 carries, including a touchdown that helped put away state rival Florida. Stevenson played in the Senior Bowl where he showed his versatility in practice, lining up as a traditional fullback, a single back and even lining up in the slot as a tight end-H-back.
Tampa Bay’s running game slipped in 2016 and part of the reason why may be because the team decided not to have a traditional fullback on the roster. Instead the Bucs used tight end Luke Stocker in the backfield as a lead blocker, in addition to rookie tight end Alan Cross. The Bucs signed Quayvon Hicks, who was the lead blocker for Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb at Georgia, this offseason, so it’s clear the Bucs see a need for better blocking at the point of attack.
Seventh-round draft picks need to be able to play on special teams in order to make the 53-man roster, and Stevenson is no exception. In addition to blocking, catching and running from the fullback position, Stevenson, a native of Bartow, Fla., played on all of Florida State’s special teams and will be doing that in Tampa Bay, too. (Warning: highlight video contains explicit language)