This is pretty awesome. Thought to be a long shot to get drafted by most experts, Minnesota TE Ko Kieft was a surprise trade-up selection by the Bucs in the sixth round. The stalwart run blocker took the call from Tampa Bay while watching the draft with family and friends on Saturday. Their reaction says everything.
Kieft is one of the nastiest blockers in the entire class at 6-4, 259 pounds. The redshirt senior 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. The Bucs aren’t drafting him to catch the football much. But 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.
After he was selected, Kieft assessed his own game while speaking with Tampa Bay media.
“That’s definitely fair to say (that he’s primarily an in-line blocker,” Kieft said. “Any kind of run blocking, pass pro – I’m your man. I’ll get down and dirty with the worst of them. That’s my role. That’s what I love to do. But when I am given the opportunity to run routes, catch the football – I’m proficient and can help the team out in that way.”
Now the Bucs have Cam Brate, fourth round pick Cade Otton and Kieft on their roster. There is still a distinct possibility that Rob Gronkowski returns for his 12th season. The future Hall of Famer turns 33 in a few weeks. But even if Gronkowski returns, Kieft is likely to make the roster or at least the practice squad as the team’s No. 4 tight end.