Rookie Dan Vitale was drafted out of Northwestern by the Buccaneers with the intention of being a fullback and tight end hybrid. Tampa's young, budding offense needed another solid pass-catcher that was skilled in multiple different ways, and the Bucs may have gotten exactly what they were looking for with his selection 197th overall.
Vitale's size is a huge asset to the team, as he's 6'2 and 225 pounds. His blocking ability is something that is a great complement to the ball skills he already possesses, and the way he is able to shed tackles is an excellent recipe for yards after catch. Height and lots of solid muscle make for a difficult player to tackle, something he used to his advantage in college frequently.
The reflexes Vitale shows off of each snap allows him to get some good separation between himself and defenders, and from his tape he appears to be most lethal when running slant routes catching passes over the middle. There is a great deal of raw athleticism within Vitale that can be molded into professional talent with some good coaching from Dirk Koetter and Bucs tight end coach Jon Embree, mainly due to the innate versatility he has displayed thus far.
If he can get acclimated to the professional level and show the same level of explosiveness that he did in college, Dan Vitale could prove to be the sleeper pick of the Bucs' 2016 draft class. He makes an excellent addition to the Bucs' loaded tight end group, and also could be Mike Alstott-esque in the way he plays the fullback position as well.
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