“Meticulous Cade Otton”

January 25th, 2024

Bucs fans know what an explosive tight end looks like. O.J. Howard averaged a whopping 16.6 yards per catch through his first two Bucs seasons (2017 & 2018).

Consider that no full-time tight end in the NFL has put up that kind of per-catch yardage since.


Bucs workhorse tight end Cade Otton had a strong 2023 season, his second year in the NFL. And he’s been a heck of a fourth-round draft pick (Howard was a first-round pick). Otton improved this regular season, hauling in 47 passes for 455 yards and 4 touchdowns, catching 70.1 percent of his targets.

Otton was even better in the playoffs and caught a big touchdown Sunday in Detroit.

What does Todd Bowles see in Otton’s future?

“Even more catches. I think he can spread out. He can do a lot more things,” Bowles told the Buccaneers Radio Network. “He’s a better route runner than everybody thinks. He’s not a speedster but he’s very elusive and he’s very meticulous in his route running. He has a good catch radius. He’s precise of where he needs to be and he’s always going to be reliable when you throw the ball to him. So I just see him being better and better.”

Joe has harped on Otton’s drops because they started in training camp and persisted, but he certainly wasn’t a liability.

Joe doesn’t see Otton as a “spread out” tight end like Bowles does, but perhaps that could be explored. Joe maintains that Otton might show more speed if he wasn’t playing every snap.

Regardless, the Bucs have a legitimate No. 1 tight end, homegrown and developed.

Yeah, every fan wants a David Njoku or George Kittle tight end, but that doesn’t diminish Otton becoming a guy who could start for several other teams.

20 Responses to ““Meticulous Cade Otton””

  1. Boomer10 Says:

    Think his biggest fault is his blocking ability- or lack thereof.
    Got to do better on the edges.

    I remember it took Alstott several years to be effective at picking up blitzes. Maybe the 3rd year will be the charm with Otton too.

  2. 1#bucsfan Says:

    He’s deff not a blocking TE but he’s a cam Brate type. Brate was super underrated in the red zone. Like what we got in Otton hopefully Payne can develop he’s also not a speedster but I bet he could be a better blocker then Otton and could be sneaky in the passing game

  3. Easy The Great Says:

    Don’t even mention him in the same breath as OJ Howard lol. Most of his catches were from blown coverages

  4. Craig Says:

    I saw his number splash into the line to add some heft to R Whites early, productive runs. That means his blocking is better, though still weak on the edges.

    His hands, though, are doing well, He isn’t athletic enough to get big YAC, but he gets open and catches the ball. That is as good as we have had, except for the Gronk years.

  5. Steven007 Says:

    100% Otton. He’s played well for us, especially considering his draft status. Would be nice to see him bulk up just a tad so he can be better in line blocking. Also nice if he could be a bit more reliable with his hands, but in general he’s a good receiver. Durham showed up a bit the second half of this year as well. Brock Bowers won’t drop to us but if he did I wouldn’t pass on him. That would create the best tight end room in the NFL.

  6. John Sinclear Says:

    Like this kid. Hope they pick up some OL beef to play next to him. Maybe keep Mayfield vertical.

  7. Bucs Guy Says:

    Everyone talks about QBs, but look at the 4 remaining TEs. Top talent: Marc Andrew’s Ravens, Kelce Chiefs, Kittle 49ers and Sam LaPorta for Lions.

    Bucs need a #1 TE. Everyone says Bowers, but there is no chance to draft him. I like Ja’Tavion Sanders (TX) if they can get him in the 2nd or Jaheim Blue (FSU) in the 3rd or 4th.

  8. TomBucsFan Says:

    He should bulk up to get a tad bit better at blocking.

  9. adam from ny Says:

    at this point…post playoffs, i’m not really sure if cade otton is a #2 or #1 tight end…

    he seemed to be making the jump to potentially a #1 as the season wore on – and he and baker got on the same page…

    if baker comes back, will that continuity with otton continue and define him a a guy who grew into a number one tight end…?

    a new qb might have otton take a step back and make him once again, seemingly a number 2…

    right now he is a #1.5 tight end 🙂

    he’s like right in the middle and can go either way next season…

    depending on baker or who’s throwing him the ball…

    he certainly has shown flashes of being a number 1 down the stretch…

    things he has to work on:


    and after the catch, he needs to hit would be tacklers harder in the attempt to run them over more for yac

  10. adam from ny Says:

    durham makes some great gronk type catches, so maybe he will grow a bit more next year too..

    if so, we might actually have 1, 2, and 3 all on the roster right now with ko as the designated blocker…

    and they’re all young and probably improving and haven’t peaked yet…

    don’t be surprised if there is no upgrade at te, and we add a receiver in the draft…

    there’s a lot that needs to be done on this team in many areas, but maybe licht and the gang are content with tight end for next season – especially if baker is the qb

  11. Dave Pear Says:

    Otton isn’t the only one who drops balls. Mikey reverted to his pre-Todd Monken form, Chris had some key drops (more than in the past), and then there’s the entire defense. None of the DBs could catch a cold if you put them in a room full of sneezing people. It’s obvious that a Toad Bowels coached team doesn’t value practicing the skill of catching a football, or the regression wouldn’t be happening as visibly as it is.

    If Tepper hires Dave Canales, Jason should get on the phone with Monken and talk him into coming back to Tampa as head coach. Then he could tell Blowezo that we’ve decided not to prolong the obvious, and give him a head start on his master brewing career.

  12. Steven007 Says:

    Dave, I understand your frustration, but with each post and threads not about the coach, you’re barking up the tree about a coach that will almost certainly be here next year. I mean, I get it, a lot of us thought he would be gone based on team performance in the middle of the year, but that ship has sailed. Also hard to b!tch about a receiver who had one of his best years. He has dropped balls occasionally since year one. Guess what? Next year if he’s back he’ll drop a few. All receivers do. Since we concentrate on this team we see our guys drop them. But it happens on every team.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Need to draft another TE

  14. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Buc Guy- maybe you hadn’t noticed but Mark Andrews is out for the season again for Baltimore and while yes he is a stud for the 3-4 games he plays for them each year. It has been small college guy Isaiah Likely making the plays for the ravens this year, and last

  15. Lol Says:

    Joe. Would love to vote in some polls and see what the fans think. The vocal minority in the comment sections are wild.

    Would love to see a Bowles confidence poll. And would love to see polls based on who the Bucs should resign and not. Also how much the fans think the Bucs should pay Baker or let him walk.

    I cant stop laughing at some of the trolls in the comment sections and their wild theories or fandom for certain players.

    I want to see some statistics of what the fans are thinking too!

  16. Jeremy Goins Says:

    Dave Pear you are a pessimistic P.O.S.
    Otton has done well and hopefully he continues to progress. That’s all we can ask. Like somebody else mentioned he is not the only one dropping footballs. Dand DBs lose em all the time. ME13 really drops em, which really burns my ass till he catches 1 for 30 yards shortly after. It doesn’t sound like we are getting rid of TBowles so let’s hope he practices clock management and using man coverage this off season. Go BUCS

  17. Jeremy Goins Says:

    Let’s hope coach TB practices clock management and using man coverage this off season

  18. MerryPlankster777 Says:

    Talkin’ some O.J. Howard here! lol
    Whats next, digging deep into the absurd pottery skills of Michael Clayton?!

  19. garro Says:

    If Otton could only block somebody! Hoping Durham can start to block like Gronk. He has the size and can make circus catches.

    The occasional drop I can forgive but when you get your QB and or RB blown up a couple of times a game or we have to telegraph run plays (see Skule snaps at TE) because you can’t block and the other team knows it? No thanks. That is football 101 Joe.

    Your memory of The Bama TE is way different than mine Joe. Stats be damned. That kid could have been perennial All Pro! He just wasn’t.
    Howard had the same problem. Despite the athleticism and size he just didn’t ever learn to block! Then the unfortunate Achilles injury.

    Go Bucs!

  20. OLDE pfart Says:

    I was high on Orton over a year ago and stated that he would be a great future asset as he developed WITH PROPER COACHING into one of the best Bucs on the team……he improved this year…..but give him good coaching and watch him blossom into a real threat…….