Bucs Could Have Tight Ends For Foreseeable Future

August 16th, 2022

Bucs TE Cade Otton.

So yesterday was the second-last day of training camp in Tampa, if you want to call it training camp.

Since the Bucs don’t go offsite for training camp any longer and there are no more two-a-days, outside of fans at practices, it’s like a normal practice for the team. The local pen and mic club was allowed to watch yesterday but not allowed to report on practice happenings any longer, aside from the 30-minute viewing window to begin practice. This will not be the case for practices Wednesday and Thursday in Tennessee.

(Next week the Bucs will begin their normal regular season schedule when media has but a 30-minute viewing window, which is almost always warmups and maybe 1-on-1 drills before being shooed away until practice ends.)

But Joe figures it’s fine to type the following based on watching yesterday’s practice without getting in hot water: Rookie tight ends Cade Otton and Ko Kieft possibly have the Bucs set at tight end for years to come.

This is if Kieft makes the team. He may get caught in a numbers game. Yes, the Bucs are that deep at tight end and receiver.

Joe has watched every Bucs practice in training camp and each day, Otton gets better and better. Joe will go ahead and state the following: Barring injury, Otton will be your Bucs’ starting tight end next season. And it wouldn’t shock Joe if Otton starts at some point this season. He can catch, can stretch the field and he is a capable if not a good blocker.

What a nice find by Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht.

Kieft? The draftniks claimed Kieft, coming out of Minnesota, was just a one-trick blocking pony. He is much more.

Like Otton, Kieft has gotten better and better each practice and Joe thinks Kieft is actually a weapon in the passing game. Now he may not be able to stretch the field like Otton but darn if he doesn’t always find a way to get open and his hands are pretty good.

Kieft is far from the blocking slug the draftniks thought he was. If he makes the team, he’s a helluva find for a sixth-round pick. Kieft is an excellent blocker. And Joe loves how he always seems to have his shoulders square to the line. It’s an old-school football fundamental you don’t see often.

Kieft’s play reminds Joe of those old Penn State linebackers like Lavar Arrington, Paul Posluszny, Sean Lee and Dan Connor. Former Penn State defensive coordinator Scrap Bradley always coached those guys up to keep their shoulders square. Kieft plays like that, too, only he’s on offense.

On top of that, Kieft seems to eagerly seek contact. Gotta love that in a tight end.

“Ko can play on the ball and he can play off the ball – that’s the beauty of it,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said yesterday. “We’re going to try to use him all over. He’s a good blocker – we understand that. That’s why we got him. It’s not necessarily just the fullback position, but he allows us to get in different formations and do different things.”

If Kieft can survive roster cuts — it helps he is versatile — the Bucs will be just fine at tight end for the coming years.

42 Responses to “Bucs Could Have Tight Ends For Foreseeable Future”

  1. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Holy smokes! That was a fantastic catch. I hope this guy makes the team!

  2. VATom Says:

    I’ve enjoyed the reporting on Kieft. Definitely an emotional favorite. As long as he continues to olay well it would be great to see him stick. Good luck to them all and go Bucs.

  3. allen Lofton Says:

    Good scouting by Jason and crew great organization from top to bottom

  4. Kody Says:

    Isn’t Ko a kickass fullback, too? Would love to see him power in a few goalline TDs this year.

  5. Bucschamp Says:

    We can catch teams off guard with kieft. They know all he do is block

  6. Dooley Says:

    Uh, O’Doyle rules?

  7. SB~LV Says:

    Last time we thought that it was a curse!

  8. Beeej Says:

    I hadn’t even considered the possibility he WON’T make the team, I’ll be severely bummed if he doesn’t, so will those dudes in the garage

  9. nick houllis Says:

    we haven’t REALLY drafted well at TE.. mostly TE success here over the last few decades has been free agency. Whether it was getting Ken Dilger & Ricky Dudley, K2, Dallas Clark, and of course Gronk… the only drafted TE who’s done anything since Ron Hall and Jimmy Giles; Cam Brate (Dave Moore was a serviceable all round TE but no ones star), maybe this changes the direction of the franchise!

  10. Bird Says:


    Its only cause of numbers. Teams normally cant carry 4 rbs/ 7 receivers / 4 tight ends.

  11. nick houllis Says:

    apologies to Jerry Bell!

  12. TDTB Says:

    Is Brate trade bait?

  13. Lt. Dan Says:

    I think that just based off of this statement by Bowles, Kieft makes the team, “but he allows us to get in different formations and do different things.”

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I doubt very seriously that they will try to stash Kieft on the PS…..he would either never clear waivers or be put on another team’s roster after they suffered an injury….
    We are better suited by putting multiple WRs there….and probably will.

  15. Hodad Says:

    Joe come on, you should know by now Ko Kieft is a Jason Licht player. He’s everything Licht looks for in a player. He made the team, count him on the 53. He was brought in to toughen up our running game. Did you see his pancake block on that Miami LB? Get ready to see a lot more this season. Now before people get to tackle Lenny, or White, they’ll get a grill full of Ko.

  16. Oddball Says:

    Hope Ko makes the team. Saw a fan t-shirt from the Gophers that said “Kieft’s House of Pancakes”. Apparently he was famous for his pancake blocks. Had a nice one against Miami.

  17. Beeej Says:

    Did we do as many “twelve” formations last year as the year prior? This guy is made for that

  18. Infomeplease Says:

    He sure can play smash mouth football!!!

  19. SKBucsFan Says:

    Bucs can make room for Ko if they only carry 3 RB’s. His versatility as a FB allows for that.

  20. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Kieft makes the team, we have, I’ll say some “nice guys” on that left side of the line, and it would be great if kieft lines up at full back when the saints bullrush our LG in to Brady. We need more nasty and toughness on offense.

  21. D-Rome Says:

    But Joe figures it’s fine to type the following based on watching yesterday’s practice without getting in hot water: Rookie tight ends Cade Otton and Ko Kieft possibly have the Bucs set at tight end for years to come.

    Strong words Joe. I hope you are right.

  22. Biff Barker Says:

    Ko makes the team. There is a lesser player on the team somewhere.

  23. TBChucky Says:

    Stoked about these two rookies. I think in three years time we’ll be talking about this draft class as another successful one by JL. You already see the potential in White, Otten, and Keft. Wait until Hall and Goedeke get up to speed!

  24. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    I am with SKBucsFan, Gio gets cut and we go with 3 RBs, 7 WRs, 4 TEs and Keift makes the final 53. If you look at the talent in those 3 groups, Gio is clearly odd man out.

  25. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    ^^^ I have to add, Vaughn is not impressing anyone either – he is right there with Gio. We only have 2 RBs who can really play. That is not a lot of depth

  26. sasquatch Says:

    He moves pretty well for a “blocking” TE.

    I don’t see any way they let Lil Ko Kieft outta the building. No way. They drafted him for a reason and he is meeting or exceeding expectations. There is a spot for him on this team. They’ll keep 4 TEs.

  27. Buczilla Says:

    Music to my ears and I think that Kieft makes the team. We need a tight end that can at least come remotely close to blocking as well as Gronk.

  28. Cobraboy Says:

    He will make the roster. He’s the “H-back” this team has needed for multiple situations. Additionally, he may easily replace Stuard on ST’s.

  29. #8 Says:

    Depending on Gio’s injury, would they keep him over Vaughn?

    I agree–3rb’s, 7 wr’s, 4 te’s. Extra te help’s offset potential o-line probz.


  30. Goatfarmer Says:

    Ko makes the team. Gotta keep 4 TEs. Rudolph, Brate, Otten, Kieft. Although the dude that caught Trask’s deep middle throw in scrub time looked good.

  31. Buc king Says:

    Put gio on injured reserve.. I’m sure there a few ways to carry a couple extra players.
    Lay down grab your knee and scream injury.
    Also due to covid you can protect a few scout players if that rule still exist.
    I imagine Grayson n the kicker who missed will be 2 of them.
    Perriman might get ir or released depending on if the wr room keels stepping up.
    Johnson plays like he did last game he makes the team.
    Miller was wide open a lot he did his job in getting open.
    One more game and jobs start getting locked up barring no injury.

  32. #8 Says:

    Yes we can ‘protect’ 2 players, but I’m pretty sure if another team wants to put any practice person on their active 53, they can poach them regardless if ‘protected’ or not- So not fool proof–I may be wrong.

    Tampa Tuberculosis comin!


  33. SOEbuc Says:

    I am praying Otton will ball out just so I can get one of those bad azz #88 jerseys.

  34. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    I suspect you are right. Both look good.

  35. Maniac Buc Says:

    Keift makes the team. The Bucs are only going to carry 6 WR. I think it’s pretty obvious at this point. The skill position roster will be

    Fournette, White, Vaughn, Bernard
    Rudolph, Brate, Otten, Keift
    Evans, Godwin, Gage, Jones, Johnson, Darden

    At this point, every else is competing for other teams or PS.

  36. matthew veal Says:

    I love enthusiasm. It’s fun. However

    At best we can reassess the odds on a lot of guys, good and bad
    For you new Yorkers, felix the fixer used to say, valuation is begging the question until you use or sell your asset.

    Time is a badass. Let’s see. That goes for everyone

  37. Brandon Says:

    Kieft reminds me a little of former Buc Erik Lorig… not sure Lorig ever got to really show his stuff. Otton is a lot like Luke Stocker… we’ll see if he develops better as a receiver but right now, that’s who he is. I really have been seeing the undrafted free agent from Harvard quite a bit… and hearing his name…

    Joe, what is your opinion of JJ Howland? He’s huge at 6’6 265 and seems a capable receiver. with decent athleticism.

  38. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    I think, the Bucs might have one of the better tight end groups, in the NFL.
    My honest, unbiased opinion.

    The average tight end; don’t block very good, ain’t fast, can’t catch a football very well.

    If I were to put on a few pounds of muscle, I’m an average tight end, lol

  39. steele Says:

    They would be stupid not to make Ko a priority given that he is, yes, showing that he is a complete TE with special blocking skills and versatility. A good offensive coordinator makes Kieft into a dangerous weapon. TE, fullback, special teams.
    As for Otton, he needs as much if not more work than Kieft.

    If not this season, then next, they can look at losing Rudolph and Brate.

  40. Randallt Says:

    Love the shout-out to Penn State linebackers, great analogy. How many times did I hear coach yelling SQUARE-UP !

  41. b4l Says:

    he didn’t take that hit well in the first pass thrown to him. that is all i know about him as far as NFL goes at this point. He looks like your run of the mill mediocre NFL TE.

  42. GOB Says:

    Don’t get too excited about a couple TEs in a bad TE draft. Brates maybe the best TE they have other than Rudolph. That shouldn’t impress anyone.