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Top Quotes From Bucs First Round Pick Calijah Kancey | Brianna's Blitz

Get to know the Bucs first round pick through some of his most notable quotes following draft night

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On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bolstered their defensive front with Pittsburgh's Calijah Kancey. The All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year was a three-technique for Pitt in their 4-3 scheme but was placed all over the line from nose tackle to edge. He accumulated 7.5 sacks in 2022 and led all FBS defensive tackles in tackles for loss with 14.5. Kancey has the potential to provide an imposing presence on the interior with pressure. Here are several of the top takeaways from Kancey's media availability on Thursday evening and Friday morning: 

Dream Comes to Fruition 

From a young age, Kancey dreamed of playing professional football. Every time Kancey puts on a jersey and steps on the gridiron, he reminisces on the former version of himself. He remembers the kid that longed to be where he is now, resulting in a manifestation of aspirations. 

"I want to say starting from four years old. Going out there, loving the game of football – every time I go out there, I think about when I was four years old and where I wanted to be. Going out there every day and just attacking the day and not forgetting that when I was four years old, I wanted to go to the NFL, I wanted to be that big-time player. Every time I put on that helmet and cleats, I think about that and that's what keeps me going."

Transition to the NFL 

After arriving in Tampa Bay, Kancey's focus is on the mental aspect of the game. During the acclimation process to the pro level, Kancey is ready to prioritize learning the playbook. A greater understanding of on-field responsibilities leads to faster play. Kancey is gearing up for the 2023 season with an emphasis on the preparation stage. 

"Something I hope to do when I get to the next level is I want to learn the playbook and I want to be able to play faster than [I do]. I think knowing the playbook and knowing what you have to do helps you play faster – that's something I'm going to put a lot of work into."

Run Defense 

With 14.5 sacks over the previous two seasons with Pitt, Kancey has become invariably linked to his pass rush prowess. However, he routinely affected the backfield rhythm of opponents, accumulating 14.5 tackles for loss in 2022 – leading FBS defensive tackles. He possesses the lateral agility to knife through gaps and has the range/closing burst to chase down ball carriers. 46.8 percent of Kancey's tackles in 2022 came in enemy territory. Although it may get overlooked, Kancey shed light on the pride he takes in stopping the run. 

"I bring that pop. I think guys kind of don't know how explosive I am. I think guys kind of fall asleep on my run game. As you see, I had a lot of 'TFLs' (tackles for loss) in the previous years. I actually love stopping the run. We're going to surprise a lot of people."

Versatility 

Kancey provides the Bucs with flexibility to play in either a four-man or three-man front. At Pitt, Kancey primarily lined up as the three-technique, but he played a variety of roles, disrupting the backfield. He plays with both power and speed, generating leverage on the opposition. When asked about a potential spot in the lineup with the Bucs, Kancey assessed his willingness to step in wherever to help the overall team objective. 

 "Just me being the type of player that I am – being able to go out there. If coach needs me to play defensive end, I can play defensive end. If he needs me to play defensive tackle, nose – whatever position the team needs me at – just going out there and being able to give my all and actually produce on the field and help my team out. That's what's helped me out a lot."

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