Will Short Arms Present Long Hurdle For Calijah Kancey?

April 28th, 2023

Bucs DT Calijah Kancey.

So what should fans make of new Bucs defensive tackle Calijah Kancey from Pitt? Joe went to one of the best sources.

Few research on players with deep detail like Dane Brugler of The Athletic. So Joe decided to post Brugler’s full profile of Kancey right here.

It seems Brugler is spooked by Kancey’s short arms and believes as a result, he may get pushed around by NFL blockers.

STRENGTHS: Wins at the snap with elite lateral quickness to slice gaps … explosive wax-on, wax-off hands … his move-to-move transitions are simultaneously well-timed and violent … displays the body flexibility and joint twitch to establish leverage or slither around blockers … disruptive in the stunt game … able to drive blockers backward when he attacks with proper leverage … hard player for blockers to engulf because of his urgent athleticism … plays on his feet with above-average
contact balance … physical run blocker and showed improved gap integrity in 2022 … has the play range to chase down ball carriers outside the numbers … highly productive with 27.5 tackles for loss over 25 games the last two seasons.

WEAKNESSES: Short, stubby build and lacks desired height/weight/length … will be the first defensive tackle with a sub-74-inch wingspan to be drafted over the last 10 years … his arms were the second-shortest of all defensive tackles at the combine over the last 10 years … extremely quick in space, but can be slowed by contact or bullied off his rush path … faulty anchor and can be moved from his spot in the run game … struggles to stay square and often overmatched by double teams or near the goal line … his hands are quick, but his swipes last power … aggressive nature leads to breakdown issues, especially in the pocket (his missed tackle rate increased each of the last three seasons) … missed final two games of his junior season because of a left shoulder injury (November 2022).

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Pittsburgh, Kancey was a 3-technique tackle in head coach Pat Narduzzi’s 4-3 base scheme, lining up everywhere from nose to the edge. After putting his name on the NFL radar in 2021, he led all FBS defensive tackles in tackles for loss (14.5) in 2022 and became the school’s first unanimous All-American since Aaron Donald. With his initial quickness and ability to maneuver his hips in the hole, Kancey wins at the snap to slant, stunt and cross the face of blockers and affect the backfield rhythm (46.8 percent of his tackles in 2022 came in enemy territory). He uses his balance and natural leverage to get underneath the pads of blockers, but can be displaced in the run game and will struggle to power through contact. Kancey’s undersized frame and average strength will be more pronounced versus NFL blockers, especially in the run game, but his get off, agility and quick hands allow him to leverage gaps and disrupt the backfield. Although not quite on Donald’s level as a pro prospect, the parallels are encouraging and he projects as a starting NFL 3-technique.

Well, one thing that may be as important if not more important than arm-length for a lineman is his hands. And per Brugler, Kancey’s hands are explosive and elite.

Joe is a big believer in speed kills. And Kancey is mighty fast. How many folks this offseason said the Bucs needed to add speed to the roster? Well, they did with Kancey.

68 Responses to “Will Short Arms Present Long Hurdle For Calijah Kancey?”

  1. Mike Says:

    Play the run on the way to the quarterback… This guy is going to be a nightmare for the opposing team.

  2. Tim Says:

    Gonna call him T-Rex lol

  3. Buc Unto Death Says:

    His stats are interesting. Wonder how they will evolve when paired up next to Vita.

  4. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    I love it. Especially next to Vea.

  5. Bojim Says:

    He plays inside. Dont think he needs long arms. Speed will offset it I would think.

  6. Steven007 Says:

    Tim, maybe C-Rex?!

  7. Lt. Dan Says:

    Short arms an issue. Child please. Just look at the tape.

  8. Goatfarmer Says:

    I love these guys who find something to nitpick.

    “He has a mole on his upper left thigh that causes him to favor attacking to the right.”

    “Has twitchy upper respiratory glands but offsets that with solid gruntothermia.”

  9. John Sinclear Says:

    Goatfarmer – Add

    “He has incontinence and passes gas a lot. Detrimental to close in plays.”

  10. Scott Says:

    Just hope this is not another miss by licht on D line.

  11. Kobe Faker Says:

    “LOL! The Teflon Jason Gump gets exposed without GM Tom Brady!

    Going to get ugly for the next 10 years!!”

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Fastest 40 in 20 years for DT

  13. Lt. Dan Says:

    @TBBF: How often does a DT run 40 yards in a game. The more important number is his ten yard burst and cone drill numbers.

  14. DingleBerry Says:

    His arms are 3/4th’s of an inch shorter than Aaron Donald’s arms.

    It’s a non issue. This guy is a cannon ball covered in knives.

  15. DingleBerry Says:

    Wow, the return of Kobe Faker.

    Jason Licht built the roster that attracted Brady in the first place. He built a Super Bowl caliber roster once, and I’m confident he’ll do it again.

    But we’ll still suck this year

  16. stpetebucfan Says:

    “Fastest 40 in 20 years for DT”

    As usual I’m with TBBF on this one. Speed kills! It can’t be taught and it’s hard to overcome. He’s also very quick at the line. OL are going to struggle to engage him and get their hands on him despite his “short” arms.

    I love some of these arcane statistics like a QB’s hand size.

    Show me the video. Do the short arms or small hands on QB effect their play that’s one thing, but if they can PLAY they can PLAY regardless of obscure measurements.

  17. Infomeplease Says:

    Speed kills!! I hope he is able to use it effectively at the NFL level!!!

  18. Buddha Says:

    The bucs have flaws! Dah! What team doesn’t? Buccaneers addressed a major weakness with this pic k. We had really nobody to play next to Vea last year. Ask defensive guru Tony dungeon about speed. Speed kills. Bowles diagnosis of the defense is exactly correct. I anticipated every selection this year will be contingent on speed.

  19. Kgh4life Says:

    Bowles typically goes for big d-linemen that can occupy blockers and allow for the lbs run free. This move points to the fact Bowles has to adjust his defense to maximize the talent of Kancey.

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    He’s a medium ugly.

  21. Tim Says:

    Steven007-I could see C-Rex lol. Seriously, I really do like this pick, and all the stuff about arm length is much ado about nothing. For his position, quick is better than fast, but he’s both so we’re good.

  22. Dooley Says:

    “He’s a medium ugly.”

    nice lol

  23. garro Says:

    I don’t think that the Kancey pick is all on Licht.

    I can see Bowles fingerprint all over this pick.

    If he can play like they hope Bowles should be able to run some trick stunts and games from everywhere. If so we won’t have to rely on D White for his schemed sacks…Hope he won’t be too bored…

  24. unbelievable Says:

    His arm length was my first and immediate concern…

    will be the first defensive tackle with a sub-74-inch wingspan to be drafted over the last 10 years … his arms were the second-shortest of all defensive tackles at the combine over the last 10 years

    Seems like a bit of a reach at 19 TBH but hopefully he pans out. But he’s a tweener, just like Logan Hall… that’s not inspiring a lot of confidence. Way too early to tell of course.

  25. Smashsquatch Says:

    “aggressive nature leads to breakdown issues, especially in the pocket (his missed tackle rate increased each of the last three seasons)” this sounds a lot like JTS. We’ve spent a lot of draft capitol on the D line, it has to be a strength or Bowles will be toast.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    If the goal was younger and faster, he’s a good pick. Time will tell. I’m OK with it.

    Fact is, this draft seems thin.

  27. Jay Molina Says:

    While he is physically comparable to Donald, he did not have the production of Donald in his college career. Why get this guy when you just signed a player at that position from the Rams and Hall is expected to make a jump in his second year. Isn’t edge rusher a bigger need?

  28. lambchop Says:

    Somewhere Mark Dumbinic is wondering, “But, would he return his plate of food? That’s the telling sign of a great draft pick!”

  29. SlyPirate Says:


    He watched tape. Barber, Lynch, Sapp, and even Brooks were all lacking ideal measurables. Dungy took them because they knew how to play football.

    Watch CK’s tape. OMG! He’s the tasmanian devil.

  30. Geno711 Says:

    Ugh Kobe Faker is back.

    * The lover of Jameis Winston.
    * Hater of BA.
    * Hater of Mike Evans.
    * Said Adam Gase was going to be head coach.
    * Proclaimed Cappa would not work out.
    * Wanted to trade down in year of Wirfs when Wirfs was on the board.

    I hope he crawls back to the dark hole that he was in these last two years and leaves the analysis to the grownups.

  31. Hodad Says:


  32. Letsbucinggo Says:

    How many reps in the weight room he bypassed that at the combine hopefully hes not a 280 lb weakling like Hall or he will get bulldozed in the NFL.

  33. Dom N. Nick Says:

    Short Arms Kancey can go against short arms Luke Goedeke in practice.

    Underweight Kancey can join me underweight Hall and underweight JTS being pushed around and mauled by teams with a big offensive line. The box strength and conditioning coach whoever that might be needs to play a big hand in getting these 3 linemen up in strength and also Vita to shed 30 lbs so he can become more than a part-time player.

  34. Dom N. Nick Says:

    Better sign JPP, Nassib to play edge as this pick almost certainly means the next 4 picks need to be OT, LB, S and CB. Oops I forgot about TE. In any event, no chance for an edge rusher unless 7th rounder or UDFA.

  35. BucU Says:

    Guess we’re on our way back to the SB now.

  36. Geno711 Says:

    @Dom N. Nick

    Other underweight DT include Aaron Donald, Warren Sapp, John Randle, etc.

    If Kancey was not underweight with his athletic skills would have been a top 10 pick and as sure as thing as this draft has seen.

    He might bust because of his small size.
    He also has one of the highest ceilings of any defensive player in this draft because of his skill set at penetrating offensive lines.

  37. Goatfarmer Says:

    Dingle – love the “cannon ball covered in knives” metaphor! I love this pick.

    No excuses, Toad.

  38. Goatfarmer Says:

    unbelievable – I’m LOLing at your comment, paraphrasing —

    “His short arms are a concern, a bit of a reach…”

    I don’t know, that strikes me funny!

  39. Bucsfanman Says:

    Sly- As they say, “the tape don’t lie!”

    I like the pick but I’m hesitant to get too excited because of the last two DL picks we had.

  40. Brandon Says:

    Short arms are of very little relevance inside where players go pad to pad and don’t long arm each other like they do in space.

  41. Buc4evr Says:

    I don’t see this guy playing like a typical NT, so no worries about arm length or weight, more like a rotational player that’s going to play all along the line. He has the quickness and moves to play DE. I would have drafted an OT but looks like the Bucs think he is special.

  42. View from 132 Says:

    I think lining up next to Vita Vea immediately makes this a better pick than it would be on some other teams.

  43. Jeff Says:

    If he’s 3/4 of Donald it was worth it. Bucs could generate a big push up the middle and that’s critical to cripple qb’s in today’s NFL. He’ll probably tear an ACL in camp. Bucs Luck.

  44. Rod Munch Says:

    Has Warren Sapp said anything about Kancey yet? I’ll be interested in hearing what he has to say, if he sees someone special in Kancey or just a guy.

  45. Zoocomics Says:

    This kid wasn’t a top 30 visit, Licht points out on the phone they met in Indy, not to mention Kancey was surprised Bucs took him.

    Tells me they were hoping for something else at 19 and this is how the board fell to them where they ended up taking best available and/or value… Kancey was too good to pass up on.

  46. SB~LV Says:

    Havoc coming for opposing centers and guards from the Bucs rotation of interior DLmen

  47. JonBucFan Says:

    He’s a magnet to the ball! I’ve seen him in triple coverage and he still gets to the ball! His raw athleticism will make up for any so called “short arms”. Great pic up Bucs!

  48. RottenAmiigo94 Says:

    What the man lacks in length he makes up for with attitude. Watching his film he is a nasty d lineman. I love hard nose players he seems like a badass in the making. I will say the Aaron Donald comparison is a bit much. I still love this pick. I chose to not look at mock drafts this year and just be excited with whoever fell to us. I’m much happier for it and the next rounds will be no different. Go Bucs and go Jason

  49. Oneilbuc Says:

    To be honest I had to go look at his tape I like his get off and with his height and speed he will be able to get to the quarterback because the low man wins on the D line. So I like the pick but my only concern is the 3 4 defense we run but I think he will be good once we run the nickel defense. So I’m cool with the pick .

  50. Destinjohnny Says:

    He played at 260 in college
    That’s his natural weight
    It’s physics 325 vs 270
    How’d our last 2 lineman do we drafted high?

  51. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    Most he plays with Vea is 50% of the time LOL

  52. Fred McNeil Says:

    He isn’t who I would have picked, but let’s see what happens. I could sho nuff use a pleasant surprise.

  53. mark2001 Says:

    Sky.. Dungy didn’t pick Sapp and Brooks…he wasn’t even the HC. It was good old Sam Wyche.

  54. mark2001 Says:

    Honestly O’Neill. What I saw of the highlight tape at the draft looked like he had quickness against college lineman…but I didn’t see a lot of power. Of course, I don’t know those highlights were a fair representation.

  55. Crickett Baker Says:

    I thought I saw that he also played Edge in college…

  56. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    6 feet and 280?

    He’s going to get rag dolled in the NFL

    ANother BUST by Licht.

    Busts by Licht! SMDH.

    Awful. Yeah…he’s midget and gonna play DT in the NFL.

    He’ll get eaten alive. Thanks for another project Licht.

  57. firethecannons Says:

    ok so I am a 62 year old real woman. this sht brings me to tears damn he is a Buc for life now and his life just changed in a second awesome! love the draft love to watch this stuff, the holiest of all NFL days like Joe says.

  58. SteveK Says:


    Great user name for all
    The shade.

    Kancey is going to be a menace and you’re going or be eating goat when he’s crushing teams w Vita.

  59. Buc4evr Says:

    Joe, can you get Sapp’s thoughts about Kancey? It would be interesting to hear Warren’s comments as Kancey is similar in size.

  60. Joe Says:

    Joe, can you get Sapp’s thoughts about Kancey?

    If he ever has something to say about Kancey on social media, sure.

  61. unbelievable Says:

    haha goatfarmer yes!

  62. Miller5252 Says:

    Seems like a good guy and speaks well in his interview. Hope he can bring what the Bucs up front. Let’s hope at worst, he’s 70% the player Donald is and if he is, it’ll be a great pick!

    One last thing…. Keep the rookie away from Wirfs and Jensen the first few days of camp. Don’t need him deja vu like last years rookie. 🤞😂

  63. Bob Buc Says:

    Short arms are relative. Kancey was drafted for his explosive start and that has a major bearing on the effect of arm length. On tape, Kancey is so quick off the ball that he blows past the perimeter established by OL’s hands. At that point, it doesn’t matter much who’s arm is longer as the OL effectively has no arms, rather a big dude in his earhole with arms that are much longer than his.

    And honest to god, are church-mice 6’1.5″ and 381 lbs? It sounds that way reading the reviews on size. Poor widdle baby getting his wunch money took by the big bad boys – yeah, them…the other All ACC, All Americans.

    Thanks to Aaron Donald for showing these ideas are not SciFi.

  64. DJB Says:

    Has Sapp weighed in on this pick?

  65. Joe Says:

    Has Sapp weighed in on this pick?

    Not yet (checked a few minutes ago).

  66. ABucAway Says:

    Him and Goedeke can land some solid high fives

  67. DJB Says:

    thanks, Joe – looking forward to his take.

  68. DJB Says:

    ABuc – that is funny!