Cade Otton-Ko Kieft Respect

July 10th, 2023

No. 1 Bucs tight end Cade Otton.

Much like it was for running backs, it appeared to be a helluva strong 2023 NFL Draft class for tight ends.

The Bucs passed on running back help but did choose a fifth-round tight end, Payne Durham.

Former Tampa Bay rock star general manager Mark Dominik is the SiriusXM NFL Radio draft guru and he was on the air Friday talking about how the Bucs waiting that long to pick a tight end, despite the offseason jettisoning of Cameron Brate and Kyle Rudolph, was a strong endorsement of 2022 rookie tight ends Cade Otton (Round 4) and Ko Kieft (Round 6).

Joe gets where Dominik was going, especially since beastly Georgia tight end Darnell Washington (6-7, 270 pounds) was on the board for the Bucs in Round 3.

Washington landed with the Steelers with the No. 93 overall pick; the Bucs took edge rusher YaYa Diaby at No. 82 overall. (Joe wept for a brief moment when the pick went down but quickly got composed, as Joe always embraces drafting a pass rusher.)

There is much love for Otton at One Buc Palace. He had a quite a rookie year for a fourth-round pick. Otton made 11 starts and had 42 catches, which tied for 19th-most by a tight end last season. Earning Tom Brady’s trust so quickly also said a lot.

Kieft looked like a capable third-string tight end and was solid on special teams. No shame there.

While Joe would have loved to see the Bucs draft Washington, Joe assumes general manager Jason Licht looked at Otton and didn’t see a better tight end than him on the board once Round 3 came along.

A similar case could be made for why the Bucs passed on a running back in Round 3 and beyond. Joe suspects. Licht probably looked at Tulane RB Tyjae Spears, Aubur’s Tank Bigsby and Texas A&M RB Devon Achane and said, ‘We’re good with Rachaad White and Ke’Shawn Vaughn.’

11 Responses to “Cade Otton-Ko Kieft Respect”

  1. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    I think the answer was – what was the greatest need? I think the fact that the Bucs drafted a TE at all after taking 2 last year does say there was a need there.

    Payne is exactly the guy the Bucs needed. A more well rounded TE that can both block and catch around the goal line.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs won’t know until at least halfway through this season if this 2023 draft class was sneaky good or miserably awful. In terms of WEAPONS, we grabbed a 5th Rnd (#171) TE and a 6th Rnd (#191) WR out of 8 guys drafted (plus we added a 2nd Rnd (#48) Guard. The rest of the class was defense. In all fairness though, we did add several (undrafted) TEs, WRs & RBs after the draft who MIGHT make the team & be able to help us.

    During a normal year, I wouldn’t expect much (beyond Special Teams play) out of 5th & 6th rounders. But this isn’t a normal year, especially in the TE & WR (and RB) position groups. Durham & Palmer both could get some decent offensive snaps because of their unique talents. Let’s hope so anyways.

  3. Buc4evr Says:

    Kieft missed blocks last year and Otton is more of a receiver. Believe the Bucs are not going to get much out of either of these tight ends this year if they expect them to run block. Hope I am wrong.

  4. Tim Says:

    Former Tampa Bay rock star general manager Mark Dominik is the SiriusXM NFL Radio draft guru…

    That should tell you all you need to know about SiriusXM NFL Radio.

  5. Brandon Says:

    Washington blew away the Combine. Too bad he never displayed anywhere near the athleticism in college than he did on the field.

  6. 80forBrady Says:

    Ko Kieft is a beast!

  7. Stanglassman Says:

    DR- Great points. This was a deep draft class. The Bucs cleaned up with their UFAs. In any other draft guys like Sean Tucker, even with his health issues would have been drafted. The same goes for TE Tanner Taula and WR Rakim Jarret. Small-school guys like Ronnie Brown would have gone in the later rounds too. Not to mention the 3 or 4 draftable defensive players they got. Training camp is going to be interesting this year.

  8. garro Says:

    “Former Tampa Bay rock star general manager Mark Dominik is the SiriusXM NFL Radio draft guru”

    His resume said that? Geez… Big lack of credibility from this Bucs fan. I think we used to have a ball boy at the Big Sombrero that would give a better take than Dominik.

    That said. I really like Kieft and think he can be used more. Love the addition of Durham. He brings size hands and RAC.

    Go Bucs!

  9. Joker's Paradigm Says:

    “Earning Tom Brady’s trust so quickly also said a lot.”

    Exactly. I like our TE room. They might be a little low on experience, but Otten and Kieft showed me enough to have some optimism. Given their draft positions, were they both supposed to be instant stars in their rookie seasons?

    “I think the fact that the Bucs drafted a TE at all after taking 2 last year does say there was a need there.” – Here’s a thought…we wanted to run 2 TE sets. I mean it is turning into TE focused league. 2 TE that are receiving threats is not such a bad thing.

    GO BUCS!

  10. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Being invited into the small trust circle of Tom Brady isn’t easy. Otton managed to do that in a short time. Brate was he trusted go to guy. Sometimes that wasn’t a good thing. I like Otton. He’s not a great in-line blocker and often got overpowered. I do place a little blame on Leftwich. He’s no Gronk. Otton had no business trying to block defensive ends. His poor blocking also affected the running game. One underrated aspect of Gronk’s game is his ability to block at a high level m

  11. Sly Pirate Says:

    I was a huge fan of Washington at Georgia. He would have helped in protection, run blocking, and 3/TD conversions.

    Ya Ya better pan out because Washington would have been a plug and play starter for 6-10 years.