“He’s A Mauler”

May 10th, 2022

Rookie Bucs TE Ko Kieft

Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich sure sounds like a guy who expects sixth-round pick tight end Ko Kieft to do more than just make the team.

“He blocks everybody. You see him. He’s a mauler,” Leftwich said today at One Buc Palace. “He gets connected.”

Leftwich went on to talk about how Kieft stays on blocks and isn’t shed.

Kieft was a blocking tight end at the University of Minnesota. That’s who he is, so it’s not like the Bucs will be asking him to do more.

Leftwich added, “I expect rookies to know nothing.” So it will be Square 1 for Kieft and the rest of the fresh crop on offense.

O.J. Howard wasn’t much of a blocking tight end, and neither is Cam Brate, but they have been out there for a ton of snaps blocking. Is Kieft a better blocker than versatile rookie Bucs fourth-round pick Cade Otton? That likely will be an overlooked battle in training camp.

18 Responses to ““He’s A Mauler””

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    If he’s a blocker and not a receiver, the D also knows and will adjust accordingly.

    Same with RoJo in the backfield.

  2. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Perfect for short yardage, and even better for goal line. He seems to have decent hands and could be used effectively with a TD pass at the goal line. Same with Otton. Of course, there is a beast called Gronk too (hopefully).

  3. Allbuccedup Says:

    Rojo was a terrible blocker as well as a receiver. This guy can block and catch the ball if needed.

  4. geno711 Says:

    If it saves some wear and tear on Gronk’s body great.

    How many years has Luke Stocker been in the league?
    A guy that can play 20% to 50% of your offensive snaps based upon game plan and 50 to 80% of your ST snaps.

    He might not be exciting, but he might fill a need.

  5. Mike Says:

    And he can lead block as an H-Back type out of the backfield (think Fullback).

  6. sasquatch Says:

    Cobraboy Says:
    May 10th, 2022 at 10:44 am

    If he’s a blocker and not a receiver, the D also knows and will adjust accordingly.

    Same with RoJo in the backfield.

    The difference is that it doesn’t necessarily tip off running play vs. passing play the way Rojo did.

    Kieft can pass block or run block… His presence merely means the defense is unlikely to worry about covering him… That’s not necessarily a big deal, and may actually present opportunities for the occasional sneaky goal line toss. He’s basically an extra O-lineman.

  7. Beeej Says:

    Because he doesn’t catch passes does not mean he CAN’T catch passes. They just chose not to use him in that manner

  8. Brandon Says:

    Sure… geniuses. When Rojo was in the game EVERYONE must have known he was running, especially in 2020 when he averaged over FIVE yards a carry. It was so obvious that he was going to run that the Bucs also were the best team in the league while executing a pass from play-action.

    As far as Kieft is concerned… 12 lifetime catches at Minnesota yet some of you dumkoffs have stated that he is a better receiver than Rojo was coming out of school despite Jones have 3x the amount in one less season. We’ve got an idiotic fan base and they don’t mind proving it.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Probably good on ST also…..we need these types…….will probably automatically be more effective than OJ….

    And…..I wouldn’t rule out this guy being trained to catch a pass now & then.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    Auclair and Stocker caught an occasional pass, too, but they were not receiving TE’s.

    One less guy to worry about covering = advantage D.

    Nothing wrong with a blocking TE, just understand he’s really an OL who is eligible. That changes how a team’s D plays you.

  11. sasquatch Says:

    Yeah, it does change how a D plays you… it would be a concern if he were a starter… it’s unlikely he’ll ever be the only TE on the field except in goal line and short yardage situations. I thought he was an interesting 6th round pick with an excellent chance to carve out a role (or several) in the league. That’s good vale for a 6th round pick.

  12. Biff Barker Says:

    Time to start the “throw to Ko'” chant.

  13. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    Guys like Ko are occasionally ignored in pass coverage.

  14. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    I just took a quick look. It seems Stocker has eleven years so far.

  15. BT Says:


  16. Rod Munch Says:

    OJ was not a bad blocker for a pass catching TE. He’s not Gronk, but to put him in the same sentence as Brate is silly.

    With that said, keep in mind that Brady changed this offense so the TE’s catch the ball. Before Brady, Arians and Leftwich didn’t use their TE’s for hardly anything but blocking. I mean go back to 2019 and the articles on this site asking why the Bucs aren’t doing anything with the TE’s except for blocking, when they’re receiving weapons.

    So the Bucs, by drafting two block-first TEs, are basically making sure that post-Brady, they can go back to the offense that Leftwich wants to run, where the TEs are just extra tackles.

  17. Buczilla Says:

    I’m excited to watch this dude mow people over.

  18. Hahahaha Says:

    Can you say long snapper?