Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs rookie Danny Vitale shows versatility again

TAMPA — Danny Vitale's position at Northwestern was called "super back" as a nod to his unique athletic versatility, and the sixth-round draft pick hopes to continue that hybrid Swiss Army knife role as a Bucs rookie.

"I think I actually fell into a great situation — I did this pretty much in college," said Vitale, enjoying his first practice at rookie minicamp. "I kind of played in the slot, I kind of played tight end, a little bit of fullback, so I think the biggest transition is going to be that fullback spot when they do need it. But I'm not worried about it. I think just using my athleticism I'll be able to figure it out."

Vitale, listed as a tight end on the Bucs' roster, was introduced as wearing No. 33 but wore 86, much more of a tight end's number, on Friday. His college coach used him as a do-it-all weapon, creating mismatches with his size — 6 feet 1, 239 pounds — and his speed, running the 40 in 4.60 seconds at the combine.

"Very versatile player," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "A terrific athlete, an amazing work ethic. He had the full package for us."

The Bucs don't have a true fullback; last year's only one, Jorvorskie Lane, wasn't re-signed. But Vitale doesn't think of the position as dying off in the NFL so much as being re-imagined as offenses change.

"I think football is moving toward this hybrid style of football," Vitale said. "I wouldn't say 'dying,' I would say it's transitioning to more of this H-back position that I think I'll be playing a lot of here. It's exciting to see."

Cram session: Coach Dirk Koetter said the three-day rookie minicamp is a balance of trying to introduce as much scheme as possible to new players without overwhelming them, and he has been pleased with how they've handled it.

"They're definitely spinning, but these guys, again, I can't say enough," Koetter said of the 51 players attending. "When we were out there for the walkthrough this morning, they were ready to go. They had their ears pinned back. … They know what's at stake. These guys are hungry, and they show it."

More signings: In addition to top pick Vernon Hargreaves, the team signed LB Devante Bond, the first of two sixth-round picks. With S Ryan Smith and OL Caleb Benenoch on board already, the team has signed four of its seven draft picks, with only DE Noah Spence, K Roberto Aguayo and Vitale remaining.

This and that: Former USF WR Andre Davis, cut last week, was invited back to minicamp as a tryout player. Former USF offensive linemen Thor Jozwiak and Brynjar Gudmundsson are also participating as tryout players. … Former FSU kicker Aguayo, drafted in the second round, has familiar faces this weekend, as Seminoles P Cason Beatty and long snapper Dax Dellenbach are in minicamp as tryout players. … Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, soon to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, watched practice with chief operating officer Brian Ford. … Koetter, asked if he had shortened practices as other NFL teams in Florida have due to the heat: "I think we're cutting it down, but I didn't call Miami and Jacksonville to ask permission."

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs rookie Danny Vitale shows versatility again 05/06/16 [Last modified: Saturday, May 7, 2016 12:41am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …