Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Bucs add another Tight End in the 2022 NFL Draft


Bucs bring in a blocking specialist to help pave the way for the team's skill position players.


APR 30, 2022


The Buccaneers have selected their second tight end in this year's draft, by moving up to select Ko Kieft, a player who spent his collegiate career playing for the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota.

Don't make assumptions based on his position label, because the Bucs' latest draft pick, tight end, Ko Kieft, isn't here to make plays with the football in his hands. His primary role will be to pave the way for other players on the roster who can. 

Jason Licht obviously views Kieft's specific skill-set (a blocking tight end) as a priority for his current roster. This is supported by the fact he made the decision to trade picks 235 and 261 in order to move up to 218 to select Kieft.

At 6'4" and 259 pounds, Ko Kieft certainly has the size required to be on an NFL football field. He has 33" arms, and clearly has the necessary strength, as indicated by his 21 reps on the bench press. Let's be clear, Kieft is big enough, and strong enough, but he is not an athletic player. He ran a very modest 4.59 40-time, while jumping 30" in the vertical testing. 

Kieft has been described as a player who has an excellent motor, and an aggressive demeanor while demonstrating exceptional strength and power as a blocking specialist. He knows what he is, and he clearly embraces that role. 

Kieft isn't a jack of all trades, he's a master of one. 

He embraces his ability to block, which obviously paid off for him in terms of his effectiveness as a football player for Minnesota. He was considered by some evaluators to be one of, if not the best blocking tight end in the nation last year. He excels so much as a blocker, that he was often used in various different roles and alignments within the Golden Gophers' offense, but it was always with the same purpose—to put him in a position to create alleys for Minnesota ball carriers to run through. 

Kieft had minimal production as a receiver at the college level, where he only managed to produce 12 catches, and 166 yards receiving over the course of his collegiate career. Again, this isn't an issue. This is a player who was selected 100% for his blocking ability, not for what he can't do as a pass-catcher. You could go as far as to consider him as another, more agile version of an offensive lineman. 

Ko Kieft will join Tyler Johnson and Antoine Winfield Jr. as the third Golden Gopher alumni to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the NFL Draft.

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