Debunking myth about Buccaneers tight end strategy in 2022

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Buccaneers were not taking a shot in the dark with their sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Tight end Ko Kieft is a legitimate roster guy.

The discourse around the Buccaneers and their tight ends for 2022 has been….interesting.

This is a subject that gets a lot of people hot rather quickly. The mere notion that Rob Gronkowski may not be back is enough to send some into a profanity-laced tirade on social media. One must think that Gronk has to be back, but the Bucs are showing with their recent moves that they don’t see Gronk coming back as an absolute need to an offense that doesn’t rely on the position.

Drafting two tight ends is not a move that a team makes when they know for a fact that their top guy is coming back. The Bucs may still see Gronk returning as a likely scenario, but don’t think for a second that they wouldn’t be ready to roll with Cameron Brate, Cade Otton, and Ko Kieft if the worst comes to pass.

Brate and Otton are obvious locks to make the roster in the minds of most people. The area of disconnect appears to be Kieft. Kieft is not a shot in the dark that absolutely goes to the practice squad if Gronk returns. The Bucs drafted Kieft in the sixth round (not the seventh as most seem to believe) because he can have a legitimate role in 2022.

Whether the Buccaneers want to run with three tight ends or four, Kieft has has a spot on this roster as a pure blocker. The Bucs saw this most recently with Antony Auclair, and a player like this is an obvious fit on a roster that apparently wants to run the ball at a higher rate.

Kieft fits that role and then some and could even see more snaps than Otton in year one due to the difficult that most hybrid tight ends face as they get used to the speed of the league.

Late Day Three picks have a history of contributing on this roster. Guys like Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson were called upon plenty to step up early in their careers. Kieft could see the same whether Gronk returns or not.

Buccaneers fans need to recognize this move for what it is; a great insurance piece in case Gronk decides to return to wrestling or something bizarre like that, or an excellent blocking fourth option for a team that needs someone to do the dirty work.

One way or another, Ko Kieft is not the long shot that most think he will be.

Buccaneers UDFA gives intriguing option at important position. light. Trending

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