Are Calijah Kancey And YaYa Diaby Flying Under The Radar?

June 26th, 2024

Ready to pounce.

One reason why the Bucs internally are irked by the low expectations of #NFLMedia is a belief the forecasters are completely overlooking several elements.

Joe is confident so many ignore adding veteran safety Jordan Whitehead. They ask, “Who have the Bucs added?” Safety, other than Antoine Winfield, was an issue last year for the Bucs. With Whitehead returning, that issue is resolved.

On “The Insiders” last night, NFC South reporter Sara Walsh spoke on the Bucs’ dynamic rookie duo last year of Calijah Kancey and YaYa Diaby. She believes they can again be a nightmare for opposing offenses in their second seasons

“The reason they kind of went under the radar is they didn’t find their footing until halfway through the season,” Walsh said on the weeknight NFL Network show.

She’s right. Kancey was hobbled by a calf injury early in training camp that messed him up for weeks. When Kancey got rolling in Week 1, he was a force but injured his calf again.

Diaby also took a while to get uncorked. He first had to learn how to play the run. Once he got that down, he flashed what he could do.

Walsh pointed out that Kancey (second in tackles for loss for rookies with 10) and Diaby (12 tackles for loss) had 20 quarterback hits, 59 quarterback pressures and 11.5 sacks between them.

And to think much of the first half of the season was a wash for both guys.

Joe is a huge believer in Kancey. Joe saw some stats recently that compared his production to T.J. Watt and Calais Campbell. If Kancey doesn’t hit overdrive this year, Joe is very confident he will be a full-blown menace by 2025.

The only thing that spooks Joe about Diaby is his production fell off after he was named a starter. Did offensive coordinators gameplan against him? Did he hit the rookie wall? Or was it a little of both?

Joe is hopeful it was just a hiccup.

How bullish is Joe on Kancey? Don’t be shocked if the Bucs use Kancey or Vita Vea more rushing the passer off the edge.

Kancey is quick enough. The few times Vea has rushed from an edge, offensive tackles simply are not used to dealing with a dude strong as an ox.

34 Responses to “Are Calijah Kancey And YaYa Diaby Flying Under The Radar?”

  1. teacherman1983 Says:

    Diaby got hurt at the end of the season.

    Go watch the games again.

    He hurt his shoulder. But played though the pain.

    His production dropped off because he was dealing with a shoulder issue.

    Is a freaking miracle we found a legit beast at OLB like Diaby in round 3.

    Amazing luck. Amazing pick.

    And by the way. My best friend at Auburn was Senegalese.

    Senegalese people and culture is so special.

  2. Obvious Says:

    Well, I seriously doubt that all Senegalese people are nearly as gifted as Ya Ya though I don’t think that’s exactly what you’re getting at with your statement Teacherman. Then again there was that whole back and forth the other day. Right. Keep I’m mind that IT’S A SMALL WORLD after all and if claims that were made just a couple of days back held true, then it seems we’d all know about it by now. Kinda like the Samoan ARE NOT “all” as gifted as Vita Vea…

    Though I have no doubt that they ARE INDEED a very sweet people. I have met a few myself and they do generally have a great disposition and tend to smile more than most.

    Personally I see our continued lack of proof that we have all we need in rookies and 1st year guys, AS PROOF that it DEFINITELY couldn’t hurt us to have at least “1 Proven” guy on our edges as insurance while I speed ball hopeium in the possibilities.

    A greater need maybe than that? ….. LINEBACKER! It might be a GREAT IDEA to bring a PROVEN commodity in to that PAPER THIN position.

    We are just a slight misstep away from COMPLETELY FOLDING up the middle without our SHOULD BE hall of fame Lavonte David going down for more than ONE PLAY! WE REALLY NEED TO BRING IN BACK UP! Now THAT is CLEAR…..!!

  3. Hodad Says:

    These guys are flying under the radar, Watts isn’t even on anybody’s radar. Unless you’re a Buc fan the country doesn’t even know who Watts is yet he could win a starting job. Then there is Braswell, could also surprise. Whitehead is back, but I’m excited to see Tykee Smith who I expect to win the nickel job. Bucs have more then two players being over looked. This could become quite a good, flying under the radar defense.

  4. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Hodad, IMPO I don’t think Smith is going to beat out Izien, doesn’t anyone remember that Izien was doing the same things in the off season last year ? Although it is possible I personally don’t think so. I also believe that YaYa and Calijah will both take big steps this season.

  5. Beeej Says:

    Saw a Baldy thing yesterday with Kancey/YaYa highlights, was pretty cool

  6. Bucsfan Says:

    Need one more effective edge to complement Calijah and Yaya. It would be very nice to also add Suh to the roster for rotational purposes on the interior , Ndamakong can still play at a high level as he is a physical freak.

  7. SB~LV Says:

    Take a 2 week summer vacation Joes…
    Perhaps Joe already is in the midst of one, relaxing on a tropical island? –Joe

  8. Dude Says:

    To the national media maybe, but the film junkies are big on Kancey & Diaby respectively. Former Buc Beau Allen did a really good breakdown of Kancey for 33rd team and Saturday Morning inspection has like a 20 minute vid on Yaya.

  9. Hodad Says:

    Proudbucfan, Smith is a top pick from a great program. He’s going to easily beat out Izien, Smith is just a far superior player.

  10. ModHairKen Says:

    Obvious, your post is not.

  11. Lt. Dan Says:

    @ Obvious: Tevita Tuliʻakiʻono Tuipulotu Mosese Vaʻhae Fehoko Faletau Vea is Tongan – not Samoan.

  12. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    If Logan Hall and JTS can step up their game, we could have a scary pass rush this year.

  13. Bucsfan951 Says:

    These last two drafts could be huge for the Bucs and their future. Only time will tell, I guess.

  14. Billy Bob Bubba Bo Baggins Says:

    Jordan Whitehead’s addition is huge. Last year, I considered the Buc’s defense was playing with just 9 players on the field. Ryan Neal did not know how to take proper angles or just did not want to tackle. (business decisions) and Devin White was always out of the play. Devin White made K.J. Britt look like an all-star. So now we have 11 players on the field the Buccaneers will be much improved

  15. Ol' Boy Says:

    Whud up with geese? Missed something…

    No doubt in my mind that both these young bucks take that next step up this year. Zero concern. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

  16. Dave Pear Says:




  17. Boss Says:

    yes, yes they are

  18. infomeplease Says:

    If they both can improve this season and VV comes on strong. Who gets the double team. Probably VV. Things will be interesting come September.

  19. Cjaxx Says:

    Hey Joe, I know it’s the slow season so I thought I would point out to you NFL season preview on the Bucs. It’s damn near irresponsible content. Calls Cody Mauch one of the worst starting guards in the NFL, says Kancey had a horrible rookie year, and worst of all says that the team will miss their “key cog” Devin White most of all.

  20. BucEmUp Says:

    I think the bucs are going to exceed expectations in the pass rush, of the corners are not playing so far back you can’t even see them on the TV screen

  21. Ol' Boy Says:

    Devin White. A key cog? Anyone with half an eye on the Bucs would never type this up. We all know the story. And D White had a great year in 2020 because, imo, of SUH, VV, and JPP wrecking it up front but the only thing I missed from him last year is watching the proverbial door hitting him on the way out.

  22. BA’s Red Pen Says:


  23. SB~LV Says:

    I sure hope so Joe !
    Laptop and a Planters punch 👍

  24. BucsFan55 Says:

    Kancey is a monster

  25. Beeej Says:

    My annoying Eagles fan buddy thinks DW is the Second Coming, and we were stupid not to sign him for BIG bucks

  26. Fred McNeil Says:

    Beeej, i gotta check in with my ex son in law. Heis a huge Eagles fan.

  27. Fred McNeil Says:

    If the Eagles were really that sold they would have signed White long term.

  28. Stanglassman Says:

    Thx Dude I’ll check out those videos.

  29. Dude Says:


    Beau Allen did 2 breakdowns of him. One after the 2023 draft and one after the 2023 season, it’s really good stuff to hear a player who not only played the position, but in the same system. Also expresses his love for Bowles’ system and even gave Kacy Rodgers a shoutout after spending 1 season with them.

  30. catcard202 Says:

    YaYa needed to learn how to play some stand up OLB, after playing as a “hand in the dirt” DE in a 3-3-5 at UofL. It’s 100% understandable that it took a bit of time to transition.

    Kancey’s calf slowed his progress…Again, 100% understandable. But he showed some fight in him during the 2nd half.

    I fully expect to see a big jump forward from both in 2024.

    As for Vea on the edge…It’s a sign of weakness at the position group & a huge white flag moment for Licht after whiffing on both JTS & Hall…As those 2 were supposed to be the “next wave” of Bucs pass rushers.

    Hall being projected to do well as a 3-4 DE seemed like a solid projection, after he primarily played as a 6’6″ 283lb 4-2-5 DT that showed a ton of quickness accumulating 6 sacks/47 tackles as a SR at Houston…But he’s no longer playing against the likes of Grambling, Uconn, Rice, Navy, Temple, South Fla & Tulane…No offense intended to those Schools/Alumni, they are all fine educational institutions….But none were very good at FB in 2021 (going a combined 16-50) & the NFL is a HUGE step-up in competition.

    JTS…Don’t even get me started…Young, inexperienced & coming off a “opt-out” Covid year…He was a SERIOUS reach at #32…But I’m sure the FO was betting on the physical traits & Licht’s love of U-Dub players…But just cause he has a “1st off the bus” build & some athletic ability, don’t mean he ever had the Dog in him to put fear in any opponent. (JTS’s nickname should be Charmin…Cause that dude is billowy soft!)

  31. anyhony Says:

    If Hall and JTS have break out years I think most here would still run them off.

  32. catcard202 Says:

    If Hall & JTS breakout, it would be welcomed….Just don’t see it happening…There would have to be some long odds in Vegas on both under-achievers figuring it out in 2024.

  33. garro Says:

    100% Joe!
    Looking forward to seeing exactly what the kids have. I think Diaby will surprise the hell out of some folks and that he did indeed hit the wall last year. Kancey just scratched the surface. If they double our guys then Todd better be prepared with a plan to make them pay for that foolishness.

    Go Bucs!

  34. BigBucsFan Says:

    I agree I think they are under the radar for fans and media. Not too sure that’s going to be the case for a whole lot of offensive coordinators offensive line coaches and offensive linemen are going to feel the same way. Having to account for those two nose tackles hopefully Logan Hall will step up a bit this year, diaby ought to be a force, and I would like to see them ease braswell into it so he doesn’t hit the rookie wall by the time he finds his rhythm. And I’m a believer in bringing Suh back. Put him on a yearly contract, play by year basis, he has been staying in football shape, on a plus training with vita V this offseason. Vea, Kancy,and Suh to be able to rotate each other out that just sounds good to me. Let’s go Bucs ready to fire those cannons