How Good Is Cade Otton?

December 1st, 2023

Todd Bowles spoke this week about how Cade Otton is underrated and largely underappreciated in all phases of his game.

That made Joe think Otton needs a better agent or Bowles might need a mental exam.

So how good is Otton?

Well, the facts say his 3 touchdowns this season rank 10th in the NFL among tight ends. Otton has 38 receptions, which ties him for 15th-most among tight ends. Those are very solid numbers for a guy who is the fourth passing option in the Bucs offense behind Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rachaad White.

Otton was the first draft pick of Round 4 last season, so he’s faring extremely well for his draft status.

Bowles and other Bucs types swear Otton is an underrated blocker. Joe can’t say that, but perhaps Otton is. Regardless, the Bucs found a solid tight end, a 24-year-old that seems to be improving, though his hands aren’t special.

As for Sunday against the lowly Panthers, Joe sees that Carolina only has allowed two big days to tight ends this season, and those were in Weeks 3 and 5. So Otton shouldn’t expect an easy ride against the NFL’s worst team.

Joe is holding out hope that Otton is on the rise like most quality players are in the second half of their second season.

Otton is on pace for 58 catches, 533 yards and 5 TDs this season. The Bucs haven’t seen a pre-Gronk year like that from a tight end since the 2018 edition of O.J. Howard, when he still had promise as a first-round pick.

54 Responses to “How Good Is Cade Otton?”

  1. Max Says:

    I wonder what the missing piece is for Otton. Does he need a bit more size? Does he need better understanding of blocking techniques? Route running? Maybe a combination of all the above.

    We’ve have a number of tight ends come through Tampa and they have all been “almost there” but never really panned out. What’s the secret sauce?

  2. G Buc Says:

    The guy is a swinging door in the run game. No shame in being one-dimensional but not sure what TB is seeing. I see a lot of blown-up blocks by Otton.

  3. zzbuc Says:

    I like Otton, he improved (not much) Blocking, and drop a couple of passes, nothing that other TE don’t do.
    Overall he is good, noting special, but I keep him. Humble and hard worker…..

  4. SB~LV Says:

    Average at this point for a #1 TE , nothing really special.

  5. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Does anyone actually believe anything that Todd Bowles says? He also said the Bucs have been playing as hard as they can. Does he realize we have eyes and a brains, we see Devin White dogging it week in and week out. Please, Otton is average to below average in every football-related category.

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    *And brains

  7. Buccos Says:

    He has shown marked improvement from his rookie season. As long as he continues to progress he should be just fiine with the potential to become a top 10 TE in the league

  8. SB~LV Says:

    OBP smoke for the draft
    Why would we draft Brock Bowers when we have CO …

  9. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Buccos: What does Otton do that’s above average?

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    I think he’s turning out to be an average TE, which is great value for a 4th round pick. Plus he still has some upside, in particular if post-Bowles the team returns to an offense that actually values scoring points.

  11. A Bucs Fan Says:

    He’s a great #2 TE and average #1 at this point. No idea what the team will look like next year with a new staff and system. There are holes everywhere on the roster but a blue chip OG/C , TE, WR next year would help whoever is at QB.

  12. chark Says:

    One: stop trying to compare him to gronk, kelce, etc. He will never be that but he is a damn good solid all around tight end. He is effective enuff as a blocker and pass reciever. Has good hands runs nice routes. Not sure what some unrealisctic measures you expect, but i bet you 32 nfl gms will tell you he is a damn good smart player who does everything well. I am glad we have him he is an asset for sure.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    You can’t have super stars at every position, and having an average starter literally means they’re somewhere between 12-20th at the position. If you got a player like that, for a 4th rounder, playing on a cheap deal – that’s a huge home run. Have you guys seen what starting TE money is like now? If Otton was on the open market next year he’d probably get like $7-million a year – as an average starter. But, because he’s still only in his second year, and still has upside, he might even get more.

    This was another great pick by Licht. He got a starter at an expensive position, where guys take a long time to develop, for a 4th rounder, and doesn’t have to pay him for another 2-years after this season.

  14. Another J Says:

    I think Payne Durham is better. Otton is an okay #2

  15. EEK Says:

    not getting worse

    he’s not getting many opportunities but he has had some noticeable big drops

    if those drops didn’t happen, no doubt he we could be pretty fired up about his production and trajectory

  16. Not Bodd Towles Says:

    My eight year old daughter also speaks nonsense to see if it will stick.

  17. Buccos Says:

    I have noticed that at least Kieft hasn’t been getting any more targets. That’s a huge plus. I remember in the first game I believe they threw him 2 passes in a row that he dropped. That experiment was over. Joe: I said that Otton was an average starter right now with potential to possibly be in the top 10. I guess he runs good routes because when they look for him he is usually wide open. And Durham scored a TD on that play he made at the goal line. If Bowles would have challenged that call it would have been a score

  18. Buc4evr Says:

    Think Cade is a good receiving TE. He could play slot in a WC offense. Blocking he would also be OK if the rest of the Offensive line wasn’t so bad. Overall he would be a great #2 if we had a legit number #1 TE.

  19. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Buccos: He’d have to do something above average to be a top 10 TE. I agree with those who say he’s okay, an okay 4th Rounder, but I think he is who he is, a TE that a team wants as a backup.

  20. Dave Pear Says:

    Todd Bowles. His expertise his losing. Anything he says contributes to his legacy of losing, and turns his players into losers, accepting losses as their mission.

  21. SlyPirate Says:

    The Bucs have a lot of average-good skill players. They don’t have a single dominant game-changer. Evans is consistent. He doesn’t take over games. They need a player that convert any third down or score in the red zone. Think, Tony Gonzalez and Gronk. TEs are often that guy.

    All the best teams in the league have a game-changing TE. Kelce, Kittles, Andrews, Goedert. The Bucs having a “good” TE is meaningless. The primary reason I want the Bucs to test Trask is because I’d rather draft Bowers than a QB. The dude is a game wrecker.

  22. HC Grover Says:

    Plan 9 and Howard. Great picks.

  23. Allbuccedup Says:

    In 2016 Brate had 57 receptions for 660 yards.

  24. adam from ny Says:

    he needs a little more nasty to his game…a little more gronk or kittle attitude…he’s a little soft…no disrespect to him…i’m just saying he needs a little more nastiness…and since he’s such a big dude, he should try to run people over a little more often…and in the blocking game too

  25. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    He’s only in his second year. The ceiling is much higher than this if he wants it to be.

  26. Beeej Says:

    As stated previously, he’s steadily improving, has not peaked yet. If he stayed right here he would be a passable tight end for a while

  27. PC Says:

    Is this a rhetorical question? What other team would he start for?…None

  28. geno711 Says:

    To get a capable starting TE for a 4th round pick is a hit for Licht and his drafting ability. Not everyone on the team is going to be a difference maker but this again was a good pick for the Bucs.

    Not sure why guys are acting like he is below average. He is an average starter at a position that the Bucs did not spend money on.

    Noah Fant for Seattle is making 6.8 million this year. Gerald Everett 5.5 million this year. Cade is making less than 1 million.

    In 2016 Brate was in his 3rd year with the Bucs was 1 year older than Otton. Brate was also the 2nd option in 2016 not the 4th option.

  29. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I like Otton. He’s average. I’ve seen the best of the best drop some balls too. Y’all get to worked up over it. CG14 in the post season of 20 the year we won it all he dropped several passes in each play off game. ME13 2nd season dude dropped so many passes. I’ve watched gronk drop a few and Brate too. It happens. Otton doesn’t drop it all the time so it’s nothing to bellyache over

  30. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Otton’s Catch % has gotten better over last year but then his Yards Before Catch is only 4 Yards. I think he will be OK. He had a nice one against the Colts on the first drive. 3rd and 1 and defense was betting run. 24 yards and moved the chains.

    Receiver Drops so far. Trey Palmer is 2nd Most with 3.

    Evans 54 REC 91 TAR 7 DROPS 7.7 DROP%
    Godwin 53 82 2 2.4
    Otton 38 50 2 4.0

    Now R. White looks good @ 43 of 46 with No Drops. Three misses must be part of the 14.7% of passes that are bad throws. Seems like it would be hard to miss a guy who’s Yards Before Catch is -1.5 to qualify as Bad.

    As far as Team drops there are currently 17 Drops or 4.6% of the 380 passes thrown.
    As far as the Passes go there have been 55 Bad Throws or 14.7% of the 380 (382 if you count 1 for Godwin and Trask).

    Suppose if someone is going to throw 5 bad passes a game we should appreciate it is 3 bad passes and 2 picks.

  31. Onetrickpony Says:

    Sly pirate: Bowers ? I wished

  32. Rod Munch Says:

    I say this with all due respect, and I truly hope people won’t read anything into this that I don’t intend, but it’s truly remarkable how stupid most of the takes are here in the comments. Really low IQ stuff, these dummies literally have no idea what they’re talking about. These grade A idiots think if you’re not Gronk, you’re a bust and should be benched. It’s remarkable how little insight these mongoloids put into their thoughts, yet want everyone to hear their opinions.

    Again, just an respectful observation, not meant to criticize any particular person or point of view.

  33. Bucs Guy Says:

    Otton is a #2 TE. Bucs need a #1 TE.

  34. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    He’s pretty average. Serviceable. Not a game changer by any means and his decent numbers are mostly a result of the play calling and Baker dumping off.

  35. Hogg Wild Says:

    He’s our worst starter on both sides of the ball and a must upgrade next year. I swear opposing DEs and LBs have us circled on the calendar because they know they’re going to be able to ragdoll 88 in the run game and put some tfls on the board. It’s astounding that he gets the snap share that he does and it’s astounding that we’re calling plays where he’s the primary end zone target with Godwin running clear out/ influence posts. You can not convince me that the he doesn’t have compromising information on Licht & Canales.

  36. bob in valrico Says:

    I don’t think Its fair to Otten to give him average or worse rating. I can recall at least one drop where he was separated from the ball with a vicious hit from his
    blind side just after he brought the pass in. He has also extended short passes
    in to first downs with some determined running after the catch.
    As for Ko Keif you have to wonder about Canales. I saw Keif running at least a fifteen yard route on the first play of the 49 er game. The kid loves to block , I think he should be given some reps at H back to supplement the running and
    passing attack.

  37. stpetebucfan Says:

    He’s a good player for the value as Geno points out.

    I’m not sure he doesn’t still have some more upside left in him, he’s already a competent TE.

  38. Big Papi Rojo Says:

    Rooting for the kid. The lack of vitriol in his direction for his play compared to some of the other players… He’d be lucky to make the team with some organizations imo.

    Gronkowski retiring / not-returning with Brady last year was a big setback for us. Especially in the run game. Otton’s an okay receiver. Average at best imo. Plenty of room for improvement, so if he keeps grinding, can have a healthy career in this league even if he isn’t lighting it up.

    But if we’re being honest, in totality, he isn’t that much better (or worse) on offense than Devin White is on defense.

  39. Voice of Truth Says:

    Just a solid TE2, very low end TE1

    Nothing special just pretty good at routes and receiver- below average blocker in-line, but ok at the edge and second level

    We need a real TE1 and Cade would look even better as a complement going against dime safeties and LB’s

  40. Confido75 Says:

    I’m going with Todd “Meathead” Bowles needs a mental exam!

  41. Dlavid Says:

    For a losing team Bowles sure seems to find a lot of bright spots !

  42. matthew a veal Says:

    Licht at or near his best. great value.

    we may need an upgrade or at least someone to share the load

  43. Jeff Says:

    On a scale of 1-10 he’s a solid 3.5. Only 3 Bucs worth keeping. Wirfs, Winfield and Luke G. All the rest are replaceable.

  44. Jeff Meyer Says:

    No Ira podcast again?

  45. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    So, here’s the thing. See all those people above saying he’s not that good?

    Those are the ‘feed me now!’ fans who do not grasp player development.

    Three years.

    That’s the time it takes for the majority of players to prove they are worth keeping. Should all players get that 3 years? Of course not. Not enough roster spots on a team.

    So how do you know which ones to keep and which ones not to keep?

    Most players have rough first years. They come into the league full of swagger…and most of them face the reality that they need to earn that swagger. Their weaknesses are exposed.

    It’s in their second off season that coaches see what the players are made of. How do the players respond to their experiences of their rookie year?

    In Cade Otton’s case, he was determined. He has steadily improved. If he continues to do so, then he is more than worth keeping.

    And he can become a high quality TE1. If he continues to improve.

    He doesn’t have to be a Gronk (only one of him), but he can be a quality starter. Maybe. He is trending that way, regardless of the opinions some have shared on him.

  46. BigBoiBuc Says:

    We’ve got a TE waiting in the wings with Durham. He and Otton would make a perfect pairing. We don’t need All Pro players at every position. These 2 would be a very good TE 1&2. Not sure which order.

  47. Mickman Says:

    Joe look again Otten was not drafted last year.

  48. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Jeff you better make sure your pig penis a room is cleaned up today little pig

  49. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Pen pen pen pen

  50. Wild Bill Says:

    I think Otton has been a bit of a surprise this season. The Bucs tight end group has been primarily the “blocking” type since Gronk departed. My opinion is that Otton has been a pleasant surprise this season. Decent hands, big and strong. Not Gronk, but not many in the NFL are anywhere near Gronk. So ya, I think he is a very decent pass receiver with good hands and strong against hard hits.

  51. Ed McSherry Says:

    It kinda tells ya something about how good the receiving-offense is when a handful of drops stand-out as memorable, but Otton has made many more catches that were so difficult you have to wait a second to see if the ball pops up in view to see whether it was caught. Otton catches “those” passes.

    The clutch receptions between this year and last year far outweigh the drops.

    Agreed, you can’t compare Baker to Otton to Brady to Gronk or even Brady to Brate in 2020 in rating Otton as just “average.” Only in his second year, and seems to be the type of player who improves is on plus-side, also.

  52. orlbucfan Says:

    Well, I come on here and it’s the usual negative BS. I read stuff like U-Haul Bowles, etc. Cade Otton is a very good receiving TE. If Canales can finally get his head on straight with his offense, Bucs will win. He’s got ME13, Godzilla14, White and Otton all playing tomorrow. I don’t care what NC’s record is. They are a pro team and a division rival. It’s Canales who bugs me. He’s had plenty of time to shake off some of the rookie coach rust.

  53. garro Says:

    Ok, Is there a stat for whiff blocks and being pushed into your own running back?

    Come on Joe!

    Go Bucs!

  54. Fred Says:

    Keep working with Otton and give him the opportunities and he will be great.