The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added a high-profile fan amid the undrafted free agent signing of Kansas State wide receiver Kade Warner after the NFL Draft.
“Let’s go Buccaneers,” Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, Kade’s father, exclaimed on Twitter about the signing. “The next chapter begins… can’t wait to watch!”
The elder Warner produced a surprising Hall of Fame career with the then-St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals primarily after going undrafted. Warner led the Rams to a Super Bowl win in 2000 followed by a loss to former Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in 2001. Warner also took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2011, but the Cardinals fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which had former Bucs receiver Antonio Brown as a rookie.
“I always tell people, I wish I was a little bit older, because when he had his last game — he retired after that [third] Super Bowl — in those last few years of his career, I was about 10 or 11 years old around,” Kade Warner told SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron. “I always wish I was a little bit older to really take full grasp of what I was doing, when he was [having the most] success, because I think it would have benefited me so much more.”
Kade Warner Faces Long Shot With Bucs
Kade Warner will look to make the most of the undrafted route to the NFL as his father did. The younger Warner’s future remains wide open ahead of him, but cracking the Bucs’ 53-man roster will pose a massive challenge.
Tampa Bay took Nebraska receiver Trey Palmer in the sixth round of the draft on April 29, which gave the Bucs a sixth wideout. The Bucs selected Palmer for his speed, a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Palmer caught 71 passes for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns for a losing Nebraska team in 2022 after three quiet seasons with LSU.
The Bucs have depth at receiver well ahead of Palmer. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage are locks for the first three spots, and Deven Thompkins and Kaylon Geiger secured playing time as rookies in 2022.
Warner doesn’t have the speed, 4.72 in the 40, and he didn’t produce big numbers at Kansas State the past two years or at Nebraska before that. However, Warner led a winning Wildcats squad in touchdown receptions, five, last season amid 46 receptions for 456 yards.
“Throughout my years, I’ve learned a lot about leadership, throughout my years as a captain, and in my years in college, and I think it all just comes down to that trust between the players- or the guys you are leading- and the leaders,” Warner told Windy City Gridiron.
“I think, as a leader, that you got to trust that your team will back you up and be right behind you as you go into battle,” Warner added.
Kade Warner Says He Learned WR Effectively From His Father
Warner said his game grew the most when his father coached him after retiring from the NFL. The younger Warner noted that his father’s insights as a quarterback improve his receiving ability.
“I think that’s where most of the stuff I’ve learned from route running has actually been: from my dad,” Kade Warner told Wind City Gridiron. “Just knowing what he looks for in a receiver on a certain play, where they should be at why they should be there and why that works against this play…I think that’s the first thing I ever knew about receiver, was basically how to get in the right spot for the quarterback.”