Calijah Kancey on What He Brings to the Buccaneers, “I Bring That Pop”


The Buccaneers were on the clock, Calijah Kancey was on the couch with his family watching the NFL draft. The stage was set and general manager Jason Licht pulled the trigger and made “The Call“.

Kancey wasn’t on many experts radar, let alone their mock drafts. The athletic defenseman met with the Bucs at the NFL Combine, but wasn’t one of the prospects to visit Tampa for a top-30 pre-draft visit.

Those Tricky Buccaneers

Shortly after getting “The Call” Kancey jumped on a ZOOM meeting with local media.

“I had a great draft process, man. I want to thank the Buccaneers for drafting me but honestly throughout this process, talking to them, I didn’t have no clue that I would be the one that they called and I’m very grateful for this opportunity.”

Kancey credited several for helping him on his path to the draft.

“I talked to a lot of guys. Aaron Donald, a lot of my former teammates. Patrick Jones, Rashad Weaver, Kenny Pickett,” Kancey stated. “I talk to all my guys at Pitt, I talk to every one of those guys. They all just gave me some input on how to approach the game and what to look for and how they went through it.”

A Great Comparison 

Being able to talk with fellow alumni Aaron Donald is great, being compared to him is even better.

“Man, that’s a great comparison, honestly, but I’m Calijah Kancey at the end of the day. It’s great to be compared to a guy like that and that caliber but at the end of the day, I’m Calijah Kancey and that’s who I want to make a name for.”

Kancey touched on joining forces with Buccaneers’ defensive tackle Vita Vea.

“I can’t wait to be a sponge, man. Every day I want to just learn from him, I want to see how he approaches the game as a pro,” Kancey stated. “I want to see what things he can help me with and what things I might can help him with and then we just going to go out there and make plays.”

Miami Grown

A new team, a new system, little familiar faces. But Kancey does have a tie with on Buccaneer.

“Lavonte David, a blue-collar guy, a guy that keeps that chip on his shoulder, kind of reminds me of myself as well. Two Miami guys, going to Miami Northwestern, the powerhouse of Miami football and just staying on the course, staying to the course and not forgetting that we’ve got that chip on our shoulder. That’s something that stands out from him to me.”

A player of Kancey’s abilities with a chip on his shoulder can be a dangerous thing.

“I want to say being overlooked my whole life,” Kancey stated. “Not too many people believing in me, not passing the eyeball test for many guys but also just proving myself right and not trying to prove anyone else wrong.”

A Dream Come True 

Being drafted in the first-round was a dream of Kancey’s, but he knows there’s plenty of work left to be done.

“Something I hope to do when I get there at the next level, I want to learn the playbook and I want to be able to play faster than what I am. I think knowing the playbook and knowing what you got to do on the field helps you play faster so that’s something I’m going to put a lot of work into.”

Kancey elaborated on being consistent.

“I want to get better at being consistent. Being able to have that great footwork, great technique and just being in position to make those plays. That’s just something I’ve got to do every down and that’s what I’m going to be working on.”

Tons of TFLs

Don’t sleep on Kancey, he’s a force behind the line of scrimmage.

“I bring that pop. I think guys kind of don’t know how explosive I am and guys kind of I want to say fall asleep on my run game,” Kancey stated. “As you can see, I had a lot TFLs in the previous years and I actually love stopping the run so we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”

Don’t look for Kancey to get complacent after being drafted in the first-round.

“I just know every day I got to work on getting 3% better. I’m not where I want to be at and that’s where I can’t get stuck in my head. I’ve got to stay hungry and that’s something that I focus on a lot. I want to make sure that I never get complacent and I want to get better every day. I want to be the better version of myself every day.”

Kancey is excited to get busy, he’s looking forward to learning from head coach Todd Bowles.

“Me and coach Todd Bowles haven’t spoke much but we’re definitely looking forward to building a relationship,” Kancey stated. “I’m definitely going to give him the 100% that he deserves from me on the field, every down, every practice, every day.”

What does Kancey think he brings to the Pewter Pirates?

“Bucs Nation is getting a ball player. A guy who they can depend on, a guy who they don’t have to worry about off the field but on the field he’s going to make those plays. Just a great guy and a ball player, hard worker.”

Yes, Kancey wasn’t the sexy big name pick that moves the needle. But, he is the right pick for a team looking to build their trenches.

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