1. Bucs

Undrafted rookie Dominique Robertson makes splash in Bucs' rookie minicamp

Offensive lineman Dominique Robertson signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent. The nephew of Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop went to Texas Tech after community college, but finished his college career at Division II West Georgia.
Offensive lineman Dominique Robertson signed with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent. The nephew of Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop went to Texas Tech after community college, but finished his college career at Division II West Georgia.
Published May 8, 2016

TAMPA — Dominique Robertson didn't know if he would join the family business. He just wanted to be his own man.

But when you are 6 feet 5, 324 pounds and unusually strong, sometimes the career chooses you.

Robertson, an undrafted free agent offensive lineman from Division II West Georgia, stood out in the Bucs' rookie minicamp this weekend. Not that he wasn't going to be recognized. His uncle George Warhop is Tampa Bay's offensive line coach.

"He's here because he's a prospect. Period,'' Warhop said of his nephew. "He's talented. I think we're very fortunate to get him as a free agent. I didn't think he would go undrafted. Unless we had a chance to draft him, I didn't think we would get him. He's earned the opportunity to be here. Now he has to earn the opportunity to be on the team.''

Growing up in Riverside, Calif., just 60 miles east of Los Angeles, Robertson really didn't talk much football with his uncle.

"I didn't want to use his name,'' Robertson said. "I wanted to build my own reputation as a football player, so I just tried to learn on my own. But when I got to a point where I thought he would be very useful for me, I started to utilize him, and it benefited me a lot.''

Robertson took the hard road to the NFL. He played at Riverside Community College and earned a scholarship to Texas Tech. But life in the south plains of Texas is far different than what Robertson experienced growing up as a California kid.

"It was like a situation where I just didn't think I fit in well there,'' Robertson said. "It was kind of like coming from California to Lubbock, it was a bit of a culture shock.

"I heard there are better places in Texas, I just think it was Lubbock.''

But Robertson wasn't ready to be done playing football, so he transferred for his senior year from Texas Tech to West Georgia, near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Though he towered over most opponents, Robertson worked hard and tried to dominate at the lower college level.

"I definitely wanted to show I was a competitor, even though it was Division II, I wanted to still show I was going to play hard regardless,'' Robertson said.

Funny thing about the NFL. It has a way of shaking the bushes for players.

"The key is he was able to perform,'' Warhop said. "He was able to go someplace different, find a niche, and be able to perform at a high enough level for despite only be there one year, good enough for somebody to come find him.

"He got noticed and that's what it's about. It doesn't matter where you play. If you're good enough, we'll find you.''

It's a lesson the Bucs proved last season by locating guard Ali Marpet at Hobart College, a Division III program in Senaca, N.Y. Marpet impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl and the Bucs chose him in the second round. As a rookie, he started at right guard.

This was not a case of a lamb being led to slaughter. Robertson earned an invitation to the NFL scouting combine, where he impressed scouts with his strength and athleticism. He bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.36 seconds.

"I like to be physical and get my hand on them (opponents), because once I do that, it's over for them,'' Robertson said.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter actually met Robertson at One Buc Place last season.

"He's a big, powerful man,'' Koetter said. "Obviously we had some recon on him because he's related to George. He was actually in here last year visiting George on a family matter and I got to just meet him over a weekend. It just worked out.''

Robertson was projected as a possible pick anywhere from rounds 5-7 in this year's draft. Several teams wanted to sign him as a college free agent. But his decision to join the Bucs was, well, relatively easy.

"I don't think it could get any better than this, man,'' Robertson said. "I think this was like a blessing in disguise, for real.''

Robertson projects as a guard at the NFL level, but his ability to also play tackle will be a real asset. Right now, it's expected he will be among the 90 players brought to training camp and it would seem he might have to nudge out Kevin Pamphile, who plays guard and tackle, to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

"We're looking at him inside,'' Warhop said. "He was more of a tackle in college. He'll spin his way inside for us. He's a powerful kid. He plays a powerful game and he's got really good quickness, which is what we want inside, now we like to play and pull our guys and get them in space and that fits him.''

In fact, Robertson has probably never felt more at home.

"Man, it's beautiful,'' Robertson said. "It's kind of like euphoria. Every time I step out here and see his beautiful facility, I'm ready to go.''


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) makes a pass to a receiver during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The quarterback has been able to play with limited practice in the past, doing it before during the 2017 season.
  2. Bucs receiver Mike Evans signs a Texas A&M jersey during his charity bowling event in Tampa on Monday night. Proceeds go to the Mike Evans Family Foundation, which provides college scholarships to low-income students. [EDUARDO ENCINA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Pro Bowl receiver helps develop and assist students from low income families with a foundation he started two years ago.
  3. There are signs that former first-round pick Breshad Perriman may be putting his early career struggles in Baltimore and early-season difficulty in Tampa Bay all behind him. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The veteran wide receiver is playing his best football down the stretch, and the Bucs will need him to continue that.
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Griffin (4) looks to pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. [MARK LOMOGLIO  |  AP]
    After finally taking his first NFL snap on Sunday, Griffin was back out there Wednesday, quarterbacking the Bucs’ first-team offense, and not getting his hopes up.
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) warms up prior to an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken) [JASON BEHNKEN  |  AP]
    With 15.5 sacks, Barrett ties Simeon Rice’s 2002 total
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) celebrates getting the first down during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, December 8, 2019.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Bruce Arians to Bucs receivers: “Nobody’s going to be Mike. But just be yourself ... and catch the damn ball when it’s thrown to you."
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston had a cast on his injured thumb during the Famous Jameis Jamboree at Raymond James Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    While backup Ryan Griffin takes first-team snaps Wednesday, Bruce Arians shares what he expects for Winston Sunday in Detroit.
  8. Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre has the all-time NFL record for most interceptions thrown in a career. He led the league in interceptions three times. He said this year's interceptions leader, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, has "huge upside." [MATT LUDTKE  |  AP]
    The Pro Football Hall of Famer, and the NFL’s all-time interceptions leader, says Winston might be trying to do too much downfield. He knows from experience.
  9. The XFL isn't a developmental league, but it is a "league of opportunity," commissioner Oliver Luck said Tuesday. "Bust your butt, play hard, have a chance to get great game tape and you’ll get a shot in the NFL." [TED S. WARREN  |  Associated Press]
    In a wide-ranging interview, the commissioner discusses the state of the league. “Playing good football is our mandate,” he says. “We have to do that. We can’t be sloppy.”
  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston smiles while greeting kids and posing for pictures during the Famous Jameis Jamboree at Raymond James stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The quarterback hosts 2,500 kids Tuesday with bouncy houses and a chance to visit an NFL stadium.