The NFL draft is a crap shoot. Always has been. Probably always will be.
There’s a roughly 60 percent chance a first-round draft pick makes it with his initial team. The percentages plummet as each round transpires.
For all the tens (hundreds?) of millions that NFL teams spend collectively on player research and the countless hours #DraftMedia invests every year, it still boils down to little more than a coin flip.
So yeah, draft analysts, both professional and wannabe, get analysis wrong.
Take Bucs rookie draft pick Ko Kieft. The Bucs’ sixth-round pick out of Minnesota, if you read his many draft bios, is mostly labeled a one-trick pony: He’s a nasty blocker who has a Ryan Jensen-like ornery streak, but don’t ask him to be part of a passing offense.
Joe watched eight Bucs underwear football practices this spring. That included two rookie minicamps, three OTA practices and all three minicamp practices. Every underwear football practice that was open to the Fourth Estate, Joe was there.
And Joe didn’t see a klutz wearing No. 41 trying to catch the ball.
Joe is not saying Kieft, the pride of Sioux Center, Iowa, is the next Tony Gonzalez. Joe’s not even saying he’s the next Cam Brate. But Kieft comes across as a competent catcher of the football. The only pass Joe can recall seeing Kieft botch was one way high for him during rookie minicamp thrown by someone currently repairing his local school district’s PCs.
Joe was reminded of this Kieft-is-not-a-passing-target narrative watching a video from Thursday’s final minicamp practice. Kieft skied for a pass from Blaine Gabbert to the right side of the end zone. Kieft just got a hand on it enough to allow him a chance of hauling the ball in, which he did as he was falling to the turf of the Glazer Shed.
Incredible concentration. You can see the clip below. That’s not the work of a guy with stone hands.
Since we are in limbo waiting on foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski to decide whether he will return or not. And with fellow rookie, fourth-round pick Cade Otton still not fully 100 percent from rehabbing his surgically-repaired ankle, Kieft right now is the Bucs’ No. 2 tight end and certainly the team’s best blocking tight end.
Joe even saw Kieft getting snaps last week with the No. 1 offense. Yeah, with Tom Brady at quarterback.
And oh yeah, Kieft is able to catch, too.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) June 9, 2022