Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

When and by who? Big week for Tucker Kraft

Dave Eggen

With the 49th pick in the 2018 National Football League draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Dallas Goedert, tight end, Britton, SD and South Dakota State University. This week, another tight end from the Mt. Rushmore state will also hear his name called – Tucker Kraft.

Kraft grew up in Timber Lake, which despite also being a northern town in South Dakota, is just shy of 200 miles away from Goedert’s hometown of Britton.

In high school, Kraft played offense, defense, and special teams for the Panthers football team. He ran for over 3,000 yards as a running back at Timber Lake with 50 touchdowns. On defense, he recorded eight sacks and over 140 tackles as a linebacker. Kraft was also the teams punter. He also was a stand out basketball player, earning second team all-state honors his senior year.

Tucker Kraft then went on to the collegiate level to play football at South Dakota State University. He redshirted his freshman year, then played a minimal role during the spring covid season. His sophomore season showed real promise, and then this past fall injuries derailed a chunk of his season. Even when he wasn’t catching passes, however, he was a problem for opposing defenses. His speed made it difficult for linebackers to keep up, and his 6-5, 255 lb size made it hard for defensive backs to challenge him. Just his presence on the field opened it up for other offensive players to find mismatches.

The big question, when will Tucker Kraft hear his name called? Goedert was a 2nd Round pick, and he’s had a nice NFL career to this point, growing into the starting tight end in Philadelphia. Most of the draft experts have Kraft as a day two projection as late Round 2 or Round 3. Analyst Lance Zierlein has Kraft as a 3rd Round pick.

“Combination tight end with the projectable skill set to handle pass-catching and run-blocking duties at the next level. Currently, he’s a more effective blocker in space than in-line, but that is correctable with better hand usage and proper angles of entry into his base blocks. Kraft provides formational versatility that will be appealing for teams that make heavy use of 12 personnel (two tight ends). He has the body control and catch toughness to be more than just a traditional Y tight end. Kraft has Day 2 talent and should see the field early with a chance to become a TE1.”

NFL NextGen Stats had Kraft as the fifth ranked tight end during the combine in February. Bleacher Report projects him as a 2nd round pick, while Sports Illustrated has him slated for round 3. Pro Football Network also puts him into the range of a mid to late day two pick, which means somewhere in the range of Round 2 or 3 on Friday night.

Cincinnati, Green Bay, Las Vegas, Los Angeles (Chargers), Miami, and Washington are all considered to be in the ‘priority market’ for a tight end this week.

This year’s NFL Draft will take place from Kansas City this week, April 27-29. Round 1 will take place Thursday, Rounds 2-3 on Friday, and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.