During the Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason debut, we got a glimpse of what Ko Kieft’s role in the Buccaneers’ offense could potentially be going forward.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did the wise thing this offseason and prepared for life without Rob Gronkowski in their tight end room. It paid off because, as we now know, Gronk has decided to hang up the cleats (again).
As a result, the Buccaneers signed Kyle Rudolph right before training camp, after they had already drafted Cade Otton and Ko Kieft in the fourth and sixth rounds respectively in this year’s NFL Draft. Otton is seen as an all-around tight end when it comes to his receiving and blocking ability, while Kieft is known primarily as a blocking specialist. That being the case, it was a bit of a mystery of how Kieft would fit into this offense should he make the team.
Fortunately, the Buccaneers gave us a glimpse of what may be to come for Ko Kieft.
The Bucs used Kieft as a blocker on short-yardage and goal line situations while lined up at tight end, which obviously makes sense given the fact that his blocking is the biggest strength in the rookie’s game. However, the Buccaneers also used Kieft in another way.
When Ke’Shawn Vaughn plunged in for the Buccaneers’ second touchdown of the game, Kieft was lined up at fullback and was the lead blocker on the touchdown. His bowling ball (Kowling ball?) frame cleared up enough space for Vaughn to leap into the end zone for six.
So it appears that the Bucs see Kieft as more of an H-Back, capable of playing a hybrid of tight end and fullback. Honestly, it makes sense considering that Todd Bowles and company have expressed their desire to run the ball more. If that’s the case, then a player of Kieft’s talents makes perfect sense. This specific role being carved out for Kieft would also help the rookie make the team in a crowded tight end room, on a roster that is certainly not thin on talent. This turn of events is certainly nothing to sleep on.
At the end of the day, during the preseason teams will show only a sliver of what they plan on bringing to the table for the regular season if anything at all. Red herrings are always in abundance. However, in the case of Ko Kieft and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this potential role makes perfect sense for all parties involved, and could certainly pay off in dividends.