It’s possible new Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Ko Kieft pulled off a first, hosting his draft watch party in a garage.
Either way, the reaction at his garage party to his sixth-round selection went viral. Kieft, who played for Minnesota, received the call from the Bucs as his friends and family jumped out of their lawn chairs.
Most draft parties that surface on social media take place in living rooms of homes instead of garages. For Kieft, partying in a garage fits his playing style.
Kieft, 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, doesn’t do pretty things on the football field — he mainly blocks. He only had 12 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns in four seasons with the Golden Gophers. Bucs vice president John Spytek referred to Kieft as “a mauler” during his April 30 press conference.
“Any kind of run blocking, pass [protection], I’m your man. I’ll get down and dirty with the worst of them,” Kieft told the media on April 30, sporting a t-shirt, baseball cap, and red beard. “That’s my role.”
“That’s what I love to do, but when I am given the opportunity to run routes, catch a football, I’m proficient and can help the team in that way,” Kieft said.
Spytek added that Kieft could be used as a fullback, a position Kieft once played. The rookie notably has a bigger frame than former Bucs fullback Mike Alstott, but it will take big years of production by Kieft to get compared to the three-time All-Pro.
Ko is is the real first name of the Sioux Center, Iowa, native. He told the media that he’s named for his grandfather, who had the nickname “Ko”.
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Kieft Learned by Watching Rob Gronkowski
Kieft looks forward to possibly playing with Rob Gronkowski, who hasn’t decided on returning for the 2022 season. Gronkowski played a blocking role with the Bucs and caught his share of passes.
“It’s indescribable, just growing up watching Gronk,” Kieft said. “Just to have the chance to be drafted is immense, and I’m just going to come in and work my tail off and do everything I can to help this organization win football games.”
Kieft, who started playing tight end at Minnesota, said he learned from watching Gronkowski on film.
Kieft Once Played With Two Bucs
Kieft also played with Bucs wide receiver Tyler Johnson and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. in college. They helped the Gophers produce the program’s most successful season in half a century in 2019 with an 11-2 record, “College Gameday” appearance, and an Outback Bowl win over Auburn. Both Johnson and Winfield followed that up by playing for the Bucs’ 2020 Super Bowl championship team.
“[I] Actually came into college at the same time as them,” Kieft said of Johnson and Winfield. “Those two are two great players [and] two great friends that I’ve known for the last six years, so it’ll be a big help for me. I’m just looking forward to seeing those guys again.”
Kieft excelled off the field at Minnesota, too, with five years of academic All-Big Ten honors. He completed both his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and master’s degree in sports and exercise science while playing football.