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Former South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft was an All-American for the Jackrabbits, playing from 2019 to 2022. The Green Bay Packers selected the Timber Lake, S.D., native in the third round of the 2023 draft.
April 29, 2023
Former South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft was picked in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers with the 78th overall pick on Friday, April, 28, 2023.
The former 9-man high school football standout received the call surrounded by friends, family and well-wishers at the AirKraft Spraying airfield and hangar in his hometown of Timber Lake, S.D.
In a draft that was considered to be loaded with quality tight ends, Kraft watched five of them come off the board in the second round but just when the 6-foot-5, 256-pound, 22-year-old seemed to be getting restless the phone rang and he got the call of a lifetime.
Kraft was the third Jackrabbit tight end to be taken in the first three rounds of the draft, joining Dallas Goedert (2018) and Steve Heiden (1999). At the time he was drafted, he was also the fourth Jackrabbit picked since 2018, joining Goedert, Jordan Brown (2019) and Pierre Strong and Chris Oladokun, who were both taken last year.
Kraft entered the draft despite still having a year of eligibility remaining, and despite missing much of his junior year due to a foot injury. But he still caught 27 passes for 348 yards in nine games in 2022, helping lead the Jackrabbits to their first FCS national championship.
That came after a 2021 that saw Kraft catch 65 balls for 773 yards. After that breakthrough season he had lucrative NIL offers from several major conference schools to transfer, but Kraft chose to stick with the Jacks and win a ring. Now he'll begin his pursuit of similar success at the next level.