The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected former Northwestern fullback Dan Vitale with the 197th overall pick in the 6th round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Vitale was the second fullback off the board, ahead of Kansas State's Glenn Gronkowski and Wisconsin's Derek Watt, but behind Nebraska's Andy Janovich, who went with the first pick of the 6th round.
The Buccaneers, who have a first-year NFL head coach in former offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, currently do not have a fullback on their roster.
Vitale could play a hybrid role on the Buccaneers, according to Koetter.
Dirk Koetter says the Bucs see Dan Vitale being used as part-fullback, part-tight end.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) April 30, 2016
Vitale was a four-year contributor for the Wildcats in the "superback" role, Northwestern's unique h-back/fullback/tight end hybrid. In his senior year, he led Northwestern in receiving yards, receptions, and receiving touchdowns, and was one of few standouts on Northwestern's otherwise weak offense.
Vitale earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors at tight end in 2015 after earning Honorable Mention status the year prior. His highlight reel displays his soft hands and polished route running ability, though he'll be asked to do a lot more blocking as an NFL fullback.
While Vitale doesn't have as much experience playing fullback as some of his contemporaries in the draft, he packs an athletic punch. In every combine category, Vitale was near the top of all running back/fullback performers. He put up 30 reps on the bench press, a nearly 40-inch vertical, and a very respectable 4.60 40-yard dash time.
Interestingly, the Buccaneers have a history with Northwestern superbacks. They drafted Drake Dunsmore in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
He might not play a position built for game-breaking athletes, but make no mistake, the Buccaneers have themselves a playmaker in Dan Vitale. Here's our scouting report on Vitale.