Room For Another Tight End

April 21st, 2023

Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer.

Joe understands the Bucs are really high on tight end Cade Otton. But did he show enough to give the Bucs the luxury of ignoring a deep tight end draft class next week?

First, remember that rarely do rookie tight ends make an impact. And Otton showed flashes he really could be something on routes down the seam.

As far as a blocker, well, let’s say Otton has room to grow.

The only other tight end the Bucs have with any decent experience is second-year man Ko Kieft. Joe loves everything about him. But let’s be real: While Kieft destroys linebackers, he struggles against defensive ends.

(Yes, Joe can actually hear someone hollering now about how tight ends should never have to block a pass rusher. Duly noted.)

The gang at Sharp Football Analysis did a deep statistical breakdown of Bucs tight ends. They too think the Bucs may dip into the draft’s tight end talent pool.

Tampa Bay tight ends combined to catch 72 passes (18th) for 673 yards (24th) and four touchdowns (22nd) in 2022.

The team found a potential contributor in rookie Cade Otton, who caught 42-of-65 targets for 391 yards and two touchdowns in his first season.

His 9.3 yards per catch were 48th among tight ends while his 4.1 yards after the catch per reception sat 49th. There may not be much dynamism here, but Otton is going to get a larger role in 2023 with the release of veteran Cameron Brate.

Again, factoring in that rookie tight ends rarely do much, do those numbers make you lean back in your chair with a cold Big Storm Brewing beer and exhale, content with the Bucs’ tight end roster?

Joe really likes Notre Dame tight end Mike Mayer but thinks he is a tad overrated. He’s good but Joe doesn’t believe he’s the next foot-rubbing Rob Gronkowski.

For example, Dane Brugler of The Athletic in his draft guide “The Beast” rates Mayer as his top tight end. That’s a bit much.

Joe doesn’t get the impression Mayer can stretch the field well, especially if NFL outside linebackers and safeties are covering him. He sure seems like an excellent short-yardage, over-the-middle kind of receiver.

But make no mistake, that SOB can block. The way the Bucs want to run the ball more, wouldn’t you want someone who can catch and be a lights-out blocker at tight end to go along with Otton?

If somehow Mayer slid in the draft, this is a guy Joe would have in the crosshairs for a trade-up into the late first round — if there is a run on tight ends — or a trade-up in the second round.

Shoot, Joe would be OK if Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht traded down from No. 19 to select him.

This draft is full of tight ends with top-shelf potential. Why not get a guy who can muscle up on defensive ends?

35 Responses to “Room For Another Tight End”

  1. Bucfan Says:

    Just look back to last season when the Bucs were weak at TE. Could use another stud to block and keep drives alive. Never find another Gronk but worth trying.

  2. SB~LV Says:

    Nope, not that he wouldn’t be a great pick if the Bucs were not Rebuilding and rudderless

  3. robert Says:

    I thought our 2 new TE’s played well last year and show a lot of promise.

  4. Show Me the TDs Says:

    With so many other holes to fill TE would be a dumb pick.

  5. JN Says:

    So many holes on this roster which is why this is a rebuild. TE is one of them. At some pt in draft they need to get someone who can block, especially if the Bucs plan to run the ball alot. And as I have said before, an inline TE would compliment what we already have in Otton and KK. I want DW from UGa.

  6. Bobby Says:

    I hope we draft him, I have the same last name as him and want to get the jersey.

  7. Dooley Says:

    Bigger fan of Schoonmaker and spending at the earliest, a day 2 pick on a TE. We’ve only got 3 picks in the top 100 as it stands, looking at our roster we’ve got no business spending any of those (w/o a trade scenario) on a TE. OLB/DE, CB, WR(Parker Washington :D), & OL spots have a higher concertation(and amount) of talent at the top of the draft.

  8. robert Says:

    “I always here “we need a blocking TE”

    we had one for a while, forget the name….and it was an obvious run play when he was on the field.

    Is blocking not teachable?

    Otton looked like he could be the next Gronk. just teach him how to block better.

    I hate the idea of a blocking TE if thats all he is good for.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Many forget that a blocking TE is an integral part of the Oline…….I would be very surprised if we didn’t pick a TE in the first 3 rounds this year.
    If I had to guess….we go OT, TE, S. in 1-3.

  10. Canabuc Says:

    We often use an extra lineman as a blocking tight end.

    That said, Seahawks system uses multiple tight end.
    I am pretty confident that come draft Day we might invest a5th on another 1

    I think it more likely we pick up a veteran cap casualty who can be serviceable. Maybe even one of the many on the Seahawks who knows the system…..

  11. Gbobucsfan Says:

    O lineman please

  12. MadMax Says:

    Go back and watch the TE combine. D Washington OWNED that sled when it was his turn to push it…all of the other TE’s struggled and face planted into it. He ran a 4.64 40, can catch the ball one handed after he jumps up for it….just go watch it at the end of the combine…has a HUGE catch radius at almost 6″7….his stats arent high because the other UGA TE got a lot more targets (due to Washington’s blocking maybe? i dont know).

    A Gronk type was def missed last year and he just might be the closest thing to it…this isnt oj howard!!!

  13. MadMax Says:

    I like Mayer, but if we miss on one of the two, I like Tucker Kraft later on….late 3rd or 4th (that we’ll have to get in a trade)

  14. Goatfarmer Says:

    Licht will draft a TE in the first round right after Kay Adams comes over to my house to watch the draft.

  15. Bucfan1988 Says:

    Yeah I really like that TE Washington from Alabama.

    Dude is a MONSTER!!!
    Definitely not OJ Howard….

    Blocking machine, massive hands, good speed, & great catch radius…

    If he falls, Licht needs to snag him!!

  16. Geno711 Says:

    Personally, I think getting a TE in the 1st round is always a mistake. They never contribute at a high level compared to other positions that 1st year.

  17. Geno711 Says:

    I think the TE that is going to grow the most and outperform his draft position might be Luke Schoonmaker.

    He is already a plus in line blocker at his position but think that his length and solid speed may make his a plus receiver as well in a couple of years.

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Resign Brate on the cheap. Save a pick.

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    If it’s a deep TE class, the Bucs should be able to get a decent one on the 3rd day, IMHO. I wouldn’t take a TE over an OT, edge, ILB, or even a slot DB. I’m one of the minority that thinks Cade Otton could be good.

  20. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    April 21st, 2023 at 10:19 am
    Resign Brate on the cheap. Save a pick.
    Brate is done, like Kyle Rudolph done. I love the guy, but let’s be real.

  21. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    I am not a fan of drafting a tight end in the 1st round, but do think we need to draft a tight end at some point, and preferably no later than Day 2. If we’re going to have an offense that is more focused on the run, a very good tight end who can block (and catch) is essential.

  22. Mr. Editor Says:

    Yes, trading down for a TE when there are a lot of good players at that position is the right thing to do. I tend to think that certain positions should be targeted in the first round, such as QB, WR, OL, DE, or CB. There are other positions that can wait until later rounds to fill, such as TE, S, K. There are exceptional players that you can’t pass up. Then, there are players that are selected at critical positions in later rounds that turn out to be the greatest of all time. Sometimes, Bucs’ GMs have a history of getting cute unnecessarily to prove that they are geniuses when we all know that the two championships were built on a combination of good (lucky?) drafts and free agent signings.

  23. HC Grover Says:

    4th round or more for TE. Need beef in all positions.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs have 2 TEs right now worth keeping (Otton & Kieft) but need to keep a total of 4 on the roster. I’d prefer that we draft 1 and sign an experienced FA as the other. Sure would be nice if both additions knew how to block AND catch.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … ‘If I had to guess….we go OT, TE, S. in 1-3.’

    If Bucs don’t add a DT/DE/OLB in the first couple rounds to pressure opposing QBs, our offense better be scoring 30-plus in every game.

  26. Bucs Guy Says:

    I love Mayer, but the Bucs have greater needs. Stick with OT and DE with the first 2 picks.
    Tradeback a few slots in the 1st and trade D White for 2 extra picks.

    TE in the 3rd or later.

  27. Kramden Says:

    On tape, doesn’t appear any slower than Gronk. Hands look solid.

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    The issue I’d have with taking a TE is the lack of depth at other positions, and the fact you got, in my opinion, a solid #1 at TE, as I expect Otton to take a step up still. You need lineman, you need pass rushers, you need LBs, you need a third corner, you need safeties, and you need a QB.

    By my count, the position the team needs least is RB, and that is followed by TE.

    At the same time, you still need three TEs, so you have to get them somewhere. But I certainly wouldn’t be taking one anywhere near the top of the draft.

  29. Pickgrin Says:

    With our needs up front on both sides of the ball? Hells to the NO.

    OLine, DLine/pass rushers and QB.

    Thats what you spend 1st round picks on.

    Not RBs or TEs or Safeties

    I hope Licht learned that lesson well 6 years ago when he listened to Dirk’s demands to draft a TE at #19……

  30. teacherman777 Says:

    Never ever draft a TE in the 1st round.

    Unless your a Super Bowl contender with a solid offensive and defensive line.

    Sefarian Jenkins and OJ Howard?

    TE’s are found in rounds 3-5.

  31. MadMax Says:

    I hear you Rod, we hear you. But a great blocking TE who can also run routes and catch, with his 6’7 size and 4.6 speed…thats not Otton. And he will help the O line which is very needed with what Canales wants to design (from what I gather). Im not trying to get anyone to agree with me…just stating where I am and have been for a while now…its all according to where he goes and where we pick if we trade back.

    Ive been pretty good before when suggesting picks….they know when they listen to me and when they dont….but ultimately, I hope whoever they pick turns out to be the best at their position.

  32. garro Says:

    Just wondering after reading about Mayer, what Gronk’s rookie numbers and blocker rating were.

    Getting a guy who could catch and block would be fantastic and go along way to helping in our run game.

  33. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    OT has to be the top pick. TE somewhere, but not in the first round.

  34. garro Says:

    A huge problem for all NFL teams is telegraphing what the play is.
    When we put a “blocking only” tight end or O lineman in the game it does not go unnoticed. And most teams will simply stack the box.

    That is one of the things that made Gronk so valuable.

  35. Bigz Says:

    Mayer is a player. Everytime I watched ND he stood out. Not sold on Otton, seems ok, but as we know big, athletic, good hands and above average speed TEs are game changers. I see that in 87. Great value at 19 and a player I see being an impact for any team years to come. I really like him.