Buccaneers rookie TE-FB Danny Vitale is looking for his first NFL touchdown in Saturday's game at Jacksonville - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
After selecting just one defensive player – middle linebacker Kwon Alexander – in the last two drafts, the Buccaneers were destined to have a defensive-laden draft class in 2016. Tampa Bay selected cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III with its first-round pick and came back and picked defensive end Noah Spence in the second round. But there is one offensive draft pick that has Bucs fans buzzing and that’s former Northwestern “Superback” Danny Vitale.
Sixth-rounder Danny Vitale looks to impress during rookie mini-camp – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Part tight end, part H-back, part fullback, Vitale will play multiple roles in Tampa Bay. His muscular build, and blue-collar work ethic and Chicago background are reminiscent of legendary Bucs Pro Bowl fullback Mike Alstott, who happens to be a native of Joliet, Illinois and a role model for Vitale. Although a sixth-round pick, Vitale is a near lock to make the roster as he has already endeared himself to Tampa Bay’s personnel department and coaching staff after a very successful offseason catching the football in the team’s OTAs and mini-camp.
He’s a big-play receiver from the slot, the backfield or the tight end position that has already developed a rapport with quarterback Jameis Winston and a player that could develop into a fan favorite with some success on the field as a rookie. With multiple entries over the next four weeks, Vitale will be sharing his training camp story exclusively with PewterReport.com readers in his Bucs Camp Diary.
Follow along as Vitale navigates his way through his first NFL training camp, adjusts to the heat and humidity and establishes himself as a weapon in Dirk Koetter’s offense.
I KNOW IT’S ON, IT’S TIME TO GO!
By Danny Vitale as told to Mark Cook
Obviously, just from a competition standpoint, practicing against the Jags this week, we got a lot a great work in. But also with me being a younger guy, I was able to see some new defensive looks. Our defense is totally different, so getting different looks with different personnel was good for me. I learned a lot more detail. And assignment-wise, it helped in learning where to be.
Also learning how to adjust and play to guys with a different style. With the Jaguars defense, these dudes and linebackers can run. So specifically, if we can get our hands on them and are blocking them, you have to sustain your block farther down the field or else they will chase the play down. So that’s something I focused on – getting my hands on them and sticking with them through the whistle.
Bucs TE Luke Stocker has been a big help to Vitale- Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
A player that I really respect and admire is Luke Stocker. I would say Luke is the guy I have tried to stick with and learn as much as I can from. I think someone told me he wants to be a coach in the future and that is something that guy should absolutely do. You can tell he is passionate about the sport as well as all the general knowledge he has about football.
I would put him on the level of the coaches we have on staff now. That is something that is very special about him. He is willing to help me out every day. When I have questions, he will answer right back. Phenomenal guy and phenomenal athlete and player. He has a bright future ahead of him if he chooses to get into coaching.
This week in the game upcoming against Jacksonville, I am just going to focus on my reps and not worry about how much playing time I get, whether it be special teams or offense. I am just going to do my job and do my best every single play I get. It is the coach’s decision.
I am really excited about this week’s game. I am also a little more comfortable this time. Not that I wasn’t comfortable last week at Philadelphia, but I got my teeth busted a little bit, smashing heads a couple times, so now I know it is on. It’s time to go! And I am just excited to get out there and get another opportunity to compete and show what I can do.
The next edition of Danny Vitale’s Bucs Training Camp Diary will be later this week after the game with with the Jaguars. Please follow him on Twitter at @RealDannyVitale.
Be sure visit PewterReport.com multiple times throughout the day during training camp for new stories and updates from practice live from One Buccaneer Place, and follow us on Twitter at @PewterReport.
Read other exclusive Vitale Bucs Training Camp Diary entries on PewterReport.com right here:
First Installment – Vitale Bucs Training Camp Diary: “I Want To Be A Pro Bowl Fullback”
Second Installment – Vitale Bucs Training Camp Diary: “Going In Pads Is When It Gets Ramped Up”
Third Installment –Vitale’s Bucs Training Camp Diary: “I Have A Cut On My Nose, My Neck’s All Beat Up”
Fourth Installent – Vitale’s Bucs Training Camp Diary: “Felt Awesome To Hit Someone Other Than Teammates
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 [email protected]
Still trying to do my avatar. Shows up on my profile but not here.
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