In their third trade up of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bucs surrendered picks 235 and 261 in the seventh round to move up into the end of the sixth round. Tampa Bay made the trade with the conference rival Los Angeles Rams. With the 218th selection, GM Jason Licht picked Minnesota TE Ko Kieft.

Kieft is one of the nastiest blockers in the entire class at 6-4, 259 pounds. Kieft is essentially an extra offensive lineman, running a 4.95 40-yard dash at his pro day. That’s not a big deal, considering Kieft caught just 12 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns in his five years at Minnesota. Kieft is a monster blocker, capable of driving defenders off the ball and pancaking them well down the field. His blocking highlights are jaw-dropping.

Kieft is able to contribute right away as a blocker, but will probably never be more than that. He’s very comparable to Lee Smith, who had a great career as a No. 3 blocking tight end. Four picks from the seventh round, it’s awesome to find a potential 2022 contributor. Most sixth/seventh round picks have their work cut out for them to make the roster.

Licht’s addition of Washington TE Cade Otton and Kieft fortifies the Bucs tight end group. The two rookies will join Cam Brate to form a capable trio for the time being. Of course, Rob Gronkowski’s potential return to the roster, if he staves off retirement for another year, could re-shape the tight end room.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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drdneast
drdneast
23 days ago

Can you say Luke Stocker although I hope he’s even better.

Theerealdiehl
Theerealdiehl
23 days ago

This pick makes no sense to me whatsoever. No one has ever heard of him. He had 100 yards this year. IMO there’s no way that he wouldn’t have been available in the 7th or as a UDFA

Kimba
Kimba
Reply to  Theerealdiehl
23 days ago

have you even read anything about this guy?

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Theerealdiehl
22 days ago

You and most of us never heard of him, but that sure doesn’t mean he was an unknown to people who actually do this for a living. Nor do we have any clue how the other 31 teams viewed this or any other prospect. When we fans speculate that a player would be there later on really have no idea.

surferdudes
Reply to  scubog
22 days ago

This kid was brought in with Cam Jordan in mind. He’s going to hit Cam over, and over again. Ko looks like Jensen’s little brother, more important has the same nasty attitude. Ko will line up as a fullback where he can unload on the Cam Jordans of the NFL near the goal line with big Lenny right behind him. We just got a lot tougher on offense, doesn’t matter if he catches a pass Love this pick.

Theerealdiehl
Theerealdiehl
23 days ago

Bucs fans: Let’s draft a WR, OLB, ILB, safety and return specialist to compete for roster spots

Theerealdiehl
Theerealdiehl
Reply to  Theerealdiehl
23 days ago

Licht: Best I can do is a trade up for a TE who ran a 4.9 and will compete for 4th string lol

michael
michael
Reply to  Theerealdiehl
23 days ago

Correct. Fans vs professionals. hall probably competes to start. Goedeke same. White upgrade over Vaughn at least. Otton provides an all around solid TE at a position of desperate need. A punter who will likely stay for years to come. A CB who has outrageous physical tools in the 5th. And then who really cares.

Kimba
Kimba
Reply to  michael
23 days ago

I care and I think the Bucs scouts and jason Licht did fantastic job, getting that corner, Zyon Mccollum was awesome and Goedeke, Ko Kieft, Rashaad White, decent punter, decent tight end very optimistic

Dman
Dman
23 days ago

Love this player, typical PJ Fleck smash mouth guy. Just don’t understand why we had to trade up for him. Could have signed him Sunday morning.

Kimba
Kimba
Reply to  Dman
23 days ago

using 2 7th rounders is hardly trading up Dude is going to fun as hell to watch Play him versus an unsuspecting team use him in the run game options

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0
23 days ago

Very good selection. Long overdue to have a dedicated TE blocker for goal line and short yardage situations.

RW
RW
23 days ago

Just maybe the reason for taking 2 tight ends that are known for their blocking was to take some of those “tough snaps” away from Gronk. Just maybe Gronk has said he will return only if he can have a reduced workload in the trenches. Watch him sign now.

SenileSenior
SenileSenior
Reply to  RW
23 days ago

Good thought!

bensez
bensez
23 days ago

Maybe Crazy, but I can see the Bucs converting Kieft to an Offensive Linemen. Just has to reshape his body. The guy is Tough as Nails

Kimba
Kimba
23 days ago

I cannot fricking wait to watch this dude play football! He should be an important piece in the run game, what an absolutely awesome pickup! Well done Bucs scouts!!!