Ko Kieft might be easy to relate to and plays the game of football in a way that fans love, but that doesn’t mean he is a lock to make the Buccaneers.
Make no mistake about it; late-round draft picks are going to have to fight for their lives to make a Super Bowl contender like the Buccaneers.
Anyone after the fourth or fifth round is going to face an uphill battle to make any team, and that stays true to an even higher level on the best teams.
The Bucs are fortunately in a position like this with their new standing created by Tom Brady, which is why it’s strange that some people already have Ko Kieft penciled in for a roster spot.
Kieft came to the Buccaneers from Minnesota in the sixth-round of the 2022 NFL Draft. This was already a long shot by the Bucs, a fact that only becomes more apparent when looking at need and skillset.
The Bucs rely on tight ends less than most people would think. Yeah, having Rob Gronkowski to pair with Brady was nice, but the team is far more dependent on the wide receivers than the tight ends in their current offense.
This means that the team should look at rostering three guys at this position, similar to last season.
Cameron Brate and Cade Otton obviously makes the cut, which leaves Kieft and several practice squad guys competing for the third role.
Unfortunately for Kieft, beating out those guys is already not a guaranteed action, and it also stands to reason that the Buccaneers would be absolutely insane to not sign a veteran free agent tight end and make the whole competition a moot point.
Kieft’s skillset is as a blocker. Don’t let any Twitter video of a circus catch during minicamp tell you otherwise. If the Bucs ran the ball more out of heavy sets, this might look like a fit, but this guy isn’t going to be an x-factor for Tom Brady through the air.
The Bucs are a pass-first team and move the ball the best when the offense is far more spread out. A guy that doesn’t work to that end is a tough sell to keep on the roster when there are plenty of other positions that need that allocation.
Kieft makes great sense as a practice squad guy that could look like Antony Auclair down the road, but he doesn’t bring enough to the table in this offense to justify being a lock for the team just yet.
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