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Buccaneers 2023 Player Spotlight: Cade Otton

What should Tampa Bay fans expect from Cade Otton in his sophomore season. 

NFL: JAN 08 Buccaneers at Falcons Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cade Otton was a fairly strong candidate for Buccaneers rookie of the year during his debut season. Most would have probably given the fictitious award to running back Rachaad White, however Otton would have a credible claim.

2022 was a down year for Tampa Bay’s offense, it was also a down for rookies across the board. The Bucs received minimal impact out of their first two picks (Logan Hall and Luke Goedeke) it wasn’t until later on in the draft fans got to see some signs of life.

Cade Otton was a fourth round pick out of Washington. The 106th overall pick wasn’t necessarily slated to be in a starting role, but as a rookie he played in all 16 games and amassed just shy 400 yards receiving. With 42 catches, Otton posted nearly 10 yards per reception, along with two touchdowns.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The signature play of his rookie season is undoubtedly Otton’s game winning touchdown catch against the Los Angeles Rams. The Buccaneers lined up with first and goal, one yard from a game-winner, 13 seconds on the clock. Tom Brady faked a subtle handoff to Leonard Fournette rolled right and hit his rookie tight end at the goaline. Bucs win, 16-13.

Otton’s rookie season wouldn't be described as sensational but it was strong. Heading into year two, what can we expect to see—

More opportunities.

The Bucs turned to the NFL Draft to grab a tight end for the second consecutive year. With any luck, Payne Durham will have success comparable Otton’s last year. Still, 2023 will be Otton’s moment. He is the clear starter, with a starter’s expectations. There is no long-tenured veteran in Cameron Brate, there is also no looming rumors plotting the pending return of future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski. Cade Otton should step into the role of TE1 and be given a chance to fully show his worth.

Cincinnati Bengals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

A role change.

Of course Cade Otton’s role will change on the depth chart, it will also change inside of the offensive scheme. The Buccaneers will have a new play caller on the sidelines in 2023. Byron Leftwich’s strategy has gone the way of the dodo. How new offensive coordinator Dave Canales plans to use the weapons at his disposal this season will be a fun storyline to monitor.

Last season, there were three tight ends in the Seattle Seahawks offense who were responsible for heavy contributions. Colby Parkinson, Will Dissly, and Noah Fant pulled in well over 1,000 yards receiving. The tight end group, as a whole, snagged 10 scores. Canales wasn’t calling plays last year for Seattle but the expectation is that he will bring a similar style of offense, setting the stage for a potential uptick in production for Cade Otton in his second season.

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