If you didn’t think it was surprising enough that Baker Mayfield ended the 2022 season as the starting quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams, then maybe you’ll finally be stunned when you realize who one of Mayfield’s top targets has been at Buccaneers training camp: The son of a Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Rams to the 1999 Super Bowl championship.
Baker Mayfield-to-Kade Warner has been one of the top storylines at Tampa Bay’s training camp so far, and Kurt Warner’s son has a legitimate chance at making the Bucs final roster.
QB Baker Mayfield connects with WR Kade Warner about 20 yards deep down the right sideline. Warner dove to make a great play on the ball.— PewterReport ☠️ (@PewterReport) July 31, 2023
Undrafted out of Nebraska and Kansas State in 2023, Warner signed with the Bucs after posting a career-high 46 catches for 456 yards in 2022. At 6’1, 203 lbs, with a 35” vertical, Warner has some of the athleticism and size you’d want at the position. However, his 4.72 40-yard dash may have held him back from being drafted. He’s now standing out at Bucs training camp and getting praise from head coach Todd Bowles.
Bucs' head coach Todd Bowles with high praise for K-State product Kade Warner.— Glenn Kinley (@glenn_kinley) July 31, 2023
"He's a technician... He's a hard worker. He understand the games very well."@KadeWarner @KStateFB pic.twitter.com/wZ3leu26ku
Go back far enough and you’ll find a young Kade celebrating with dad Kurt, long before he had his own football career. He’s just 16 months old in this post-99 celebration photo:
In a potential rebuild year, the Bucs are holding a competition between Mayfield and Kyle Trask that has hardly been won yet by the former number one overall pick. Trask has drawn praise from coaches at certain times in camp and hasn’t given up a fight that many expected to be handed to Mayfield. The third option in line is former Rams quarterback John Wolford.
At receiver, Warner won’t beat out Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, or Russell Gage, but it’s wide open for the last two or three spots at receiver. Besides Warner, there’s sixth round pick Trey Palmer, undrafted rookies Rakim Jarrett, Taye Barber, and Ryan Miller, plus Deven Thompkins, David Moore, and Kaylon Geiger.
Jarrett has drawn some praise in camp also.
Slept on in HS. Got a chance. Succeeded.— Cole Ashby (@CoachAshby2) August 1, 2023
Slept on at Nebraska. Got a chance. Succeeded.
Transfers to K State. Becomes a top target immediately.
Slept on in NFL draft. Wonder what’s gonna happen…
There’s a reason @KadeWarner keeps defying odds. Can’t hide work! ❤️ https://t.co/apYwsvaCX8
But Kade Warner has a realistic shot at sneaking onto the 53-man roster. If they let him hit waivers, he might clear and make it to the practice squad. That wouldn’t be that surprising. But of all the teams that may be interesting in giving him a home should he be available, I can think of one that has a pretty strong connection.