Ever since Tom Brady took his talents to Tampa, the team has found itself in the headlines. After Brady retired and unretired this past offseason, he will enter his 23rd NFL season without his all-time favorite red-zone target — Rob Gronkowski.
With Gronk gone (for now) and Chris Godwin likely beginning the season on the PUP list, it will be the Mike Evans and Russell Gage show in Tampa. However, the Bucs added two sneaky stellar pass-catchers in the draft, led by third-round running back Rachaad White and fourth-round tight end Cade Otton. With a massive target share now up for grabs, Otton could make deep fantasy sleeper noise as a rookie on a bare tight end cupboard.
The 6-foot-5, 245 lb tight end will battle veteran Cameron Brate and fellow rookie sixth-rounder Ko Kief for tight end depth chart supremacy. Brate hasn’t done much with Brady under center, so there’s a legitimate chance for the rookie to win over Brady’s trust in an offense that fits his skill-set like a glove.
“I think it’s a great fit,” Otton said during rookie minicamp. “It’s super cool to see the way this offense treats their tight ends. We can basically line up in any spot on the field and run all of the same routes as wide receivers do. It’s a great opportunity to be a big part of the team and contribute to the offense in a big way.”
The Washington Huskies weren’t breaking any scoreboards over the past few seasons with the team playing musical chairs at quarterback. As a result, Otton’s 91 receptions, 1,026 yards, and nine touchdowns over four seasons won’t jump off the screen for anyone. But, in relation to his abysmal team, he was their go-to guy and possesses slick route-running and consistent hands that should put him in TB12’s good graces.
Otton is currently rehabbing from offseason ankle surgery, but he should be ready to go for training camp. In the meantime, he’s getting acclimated to the Bucs’ playbook to get himself mentally ready.
“He’s already considered an above-average and very willing blocker, so there is the potential for him to be the one tight end the Buccaneers keep on the field most often,” wrote Scott Smith of Bucs.com. “I guess that makes him the best answer for the first question above, as to who would be the Bucs’ ‘number one’ tight end in 2022, if in fact there is one solid option for that question.”
Even with Godwin likely out for at least six games and Gronk no longer on the team, one could argue that Otton may be so low on the target totem pole, that it won’t even matter if he is the TE1. Still, there is some touchdown upside there for a player who’s going off the board at TE32 (214 ADP) in Underdog Fantasy Best Ball leagues.
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