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)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Tennessee TE Luke Stocker in fourth round

Luke Stocker had a season-high 58 receiving yards and a TD in Tennessee’s loss to North Carolina in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

Getty Images (2010)

Luke Stocker had a season-high 58 receiving yards and a TD in Tennessee’s loss to North Carolina in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

TAMPA — Luke Stocker has watched and admired Kellen Winslow since Winslow was a star at the University of Miami.

Stocker has always marveled at the current Buccaneer's ability to run by defenders and change directions with ease, effortlessly bringing to the tight end spot qualities that are mostly found in wide receivers.

For those reasons, Stocker believes he's the perfect complement for Winslow after becoming the Bucs' fourth-round pick (104th overall) on Saturday.

Stocker, a 6-foot-5, 256-pound prospect out of Tennessee, prides himself on being a tough, physical player who likely won't stretch defenses like Winslow but isn't shy about taking on tacklers when he gets the football.

"I have watched quite a bit of (Winslow), and I remember when he was at Miami watching quite a bit of him," Stocker said. "Athletically, he is unbelievably gifted. His ball skills as a receiver and things like that, they're as good as they get.

"I think I can add another dimension to the offense. I'm a bigger-body type of guy. I'm a guy who will put my hand in the dirt. So I think the combination of a really athletic, fast guy like him and another big, versatile guy like myself can really (help). A lot of teams in the league are doing that now."

Stocker cited the Patriots as a team that has done an exemplary job using tight ends with different strengths. Former Florida Gator Aaron Hernandez, a long, athletic tight end, and Rob Gronkowski, a heavier, more physical player, were two of quarterback Tom Brady's top targets last season. The pair combined for more than 1,000 receiving yards.

The combination of Stocker and Winslow won't "give the defense any indicators of which way your offense is leaning toward, whether it's a run or a pass. I definitely think that you can disguise some things and keep you from being put in a box," Stocker said.

That was difficult to avoid last season when the Bucs often used Winslow and Jerramy Stevens in two-tight end sets. They have similar traits, and that made the Bucs' intentions hard to mask.

The combination told the defense, "Look at us! We're throwing the ball," coach Raheem Morris joked. "You don't necessarily want to run right behind either one of those guys. We did it sometimes, but that's not necessarily an envelope we want to push."

Clearly, the Bucs have plans for Stocker. The fact they traded up 12 spots with Philadelphia to make the selection speaks to the value they see.

And the Bucs lack depth at tight end with 31-year old John Gilmore entering free agency and Stevens being released last season after his latest arrest. The Bucs still have Ryan Purvis and Nathan Overbay on the roster and drafted Idaho's Daniel Hardy in the seventh round, but general manager Mark Dominik suggested they'll have to fight for roster spots.

The Bucs also have an ongoing effort to put talent around quarterback Josh Freeman, and this selection is in line with that. Stocker is seen as a capable blocker with reliable hands. He caught 39 passes for 417 yards as a senior in 2010 with 10 catches of 10 yards or longer.

He figures there will be future opportunities for that with Freeman under center.

"He's an unbelievable talent and an unbelievable player," Stocker said. "He's going to continue to grow. He's still a young player. And I'm going to start growing with him. Looking at that is really exciting."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Tennessee TE Luke Stocker in fourth round 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Mike Evans, Bills cornerback Gaines could face off again

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans has gone up against four Pro Bowl cornerbacks in five games, and on Sunday he could be lining up against a corner he has a history with in Buffalo's E.J. Gaines.

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28)  Sunday  in Glendale, Ariz. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: The importance of Kwon Alexander's return

    Bucs

    Greg Auman talks the importance of Kwon Alexander's return Sunday in Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, pictured during training camp in July at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Tampa Bay should say no thanks to these sporting events

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay has become the Break-Glass-In-Case-of-Emergency City.

    In this file photo, Cal quarterback Jared Goff poses for photos with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Los Angeles Rams as the first pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  5. History rewrite: What if Dalvin Cook, Lamar Jackson had landed at Florida?

    College

    Two days before suiting up in the Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field, Dalvin Cook announced a change of heart.

     Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook (4) on a run in the first quarter of the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Florida Gators at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016.