TE Cade Otton Pre-NFL Draft Sample Scouting Report: Matt Waldman’s RSP

Matt Waldman’s RSP shares his sample scouting report of Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ TE Cade Otton, one of Matt’s favorite tight ends from the 2022 NFL Draft Class. 

Cade Otton’s Pre-NFL Draft Scouting Report

The report below is the draft profile from the 2022 Rookie Scouting Portfolio, the most comprehensive NFL Draft and Fantasy-Dynasty publication of its kind available for rookie prospects at the skill positions. Entering its 18th year of publication, Matt Waldman’s RSP is one of the most purchased cross-checking resources for NFL scouts, according to college recruiting directors like SMU’s Alex Brown, who meets with scouts weekly.

For more samples from past publications, here’s a page with a list of links

To learn more about Matt Waldman’s RSP and how to purchase it, here’s the pill that will take you down the rabbit hole.

RSP Ranking: TE3

Height: 6-5 Weight: 247 School: Washington

Player Comparison Spectrum: Dalton Schultz-X-Durham Smythe

Depth of Talent Score: 80.1 = Rotational Starter: Executes at a starter level in a role playing to their strengths. Otton is on the lower end of the tier and on the cusp of the Contributor Tier: Starter execution in a limited role, diminishing returns beyond that scope.

Games Tracked:

The Elevator Pitch for Otton: An excellent blocker and reliable pass catcher, Otton can function underneath and against intermediate zones as a starting receiver. He’s a skilled pass catcher against contact with a feel for the sticks and the toughness to earn yards after contact in tight quarters. He is not an elite athlete for a Move-TE but he is capable enough of becoming a high-volume producer in an offense with speedy receivers and a mobile quarterback who needs a reliable outlet who can transition fast from blocker to receiver.

Where is the player inconsistent? Otton’s weight drop into hard breaks isn’t as deep as it should be to generate sudden stops. If he can prove he has the mobility to do so and develops the technique to execute consistently, he could become an even more dangerous receiver, especially against man coverage.

What is the best scheme fit? Otton is a versatile weapon due to his blocking. He could function well in Arthur Smith’s offense as a second tight end who spends most of his time in line while Kyle Pitts effectively functions as a wide receiver. The Giants could use Otton’s services. Although not the athlete that Engram was for them, Otton is a more reliable receiver against contact and a superior blocker. He could also replace Noah Fant in Denver as the second option who gives the Broncos more freedom to use Albert Okwuegbunam in a variety of ways.

What is his ceiling scenario? If Otton proves more explosive than he appeared on tape, he could deliver top-12 production as a receiving tight end. It’s more likely that blocking and athletic ability limit him to only a few peak years at the bottom end of that statistical range and more often in the bottom half of the top 15 or top 20.

What is his floor scenario? Otton spends his career as the second tight end anchored to the line and rarely a productive receiving option.

Physical: Otton has the frame to add another 10-15 pounds and becomes a stalwart “sixth man” of the offensive line.

Technical: Otton understands the value of attacking the ball early, which means he usually catches targets with an overhand position even with targets where an underhand position is often used.

Conceptual: Otton is a self-aware athlete who knows his best shot of yardage is getting downhill and using his size as much as possible.

Intuitive: Otton has great timing as a blocker, gauging when the defender has worked himself into a position that Otten can exploit. He’s patient in this respect and often exploits the mistakes of his opponents.

Build: Slightly below-average weight as an in-line blocker at this point.

Releases: Otton releases from a three-point stance with his pads over his knees and pumps his arms with his head up to sell the potential of a vertical route. When using a two-point stance, Otton has a staggered position with 80/20 weight distribution and his hands uncrossed at his front leg. He rolls off the front foot without wasted motion.

Otton has a stick to attack the leverage of a defender and he’ll counter the defender’s hands with a double swat. He also has a productive stick-and-wipe combination. When a defender delivers his hands from off-coverage, Otton can counter with a shed. He has a double-up that he uses to set up breaks but can also be used for release work.

Separation: He’s quick enough to beat linebackers on intermediate routes breaking inside or outside. He’ll need to face zone coverage to earn space in the vertical game.

Route Stems: Whether Otton begins from a three-point stance or detached in a two-point stance, he’ll widen stems to set up off-coverage or zone defenders as well as run straight at them until he’s a step away and practically on their toes.

Route Setups: Otton runs effective double moves such as the corner-post where he can sell the corner with a turn of his chest and eyes outside, take two steps in that direction and snap his turn back to the inside. Otten’s double-up is quick enough and at the top of his stems to set up off-coverage to the inside before breaking outside.

Route Breaks: Otton has an effective speed break with a quick break step and sharp drive step that gets him flat. He punches the boundary arm into his turn but can do so a little more. He finishes with a target-friendly position.

He can drop his weight into a jerk route but not as deep as it needs to be a sudden movement—at least not yet—for more than college-level separation against tight coverage.

He works with the quarterback to open space when routes don’t break open immediately.

Zone Routes: Otton identifies the second-level defenders, works to depth over or under them, and either settles into the zone based on the route or breaks across the zones and only shows his eyes when he’s identified an open area where he’s ready for the ball.

Route Boundary: Most of Otten’s work as a receiver came in the middle of the field or in the flats.

Pass Tracking: Otton tracks the ball over his shoulder in stride on intermediate and vertical targets.

Hands/Catch Radius: He uses an overhand position with chest-high targets. He also extends well for the target—even against contact. When targets are at his numbers, he will extend with overhand technique to catch the ball at the earliest point of arrival.

Otton rarely uses underhand technique but when the target arrives below his waist, he’ll use it. He can dig out a throw below his knees and leave his feet to do so.

Position: I didn’t see Otton in a contested catch/rebound scenario in two years of tape.

Focus Otton can take contact to his back in a tight zone as he makes the catch or while tracking a vertical route over his shoulder. He’ll also take a hard shot to the front of his legs and hips and hang onto a slant or post after getting flipped with the hit.

Extending for the ball in tight traffic with multiple defenders around him—high and low or with a hand in his face or chest—does not faze him.

Transitions: Otton understands the value of transitioning north-south after catching a target facing the quarterback. So much so, he’ll back his way for the necessary yardage when catching in high-traffic area to guarantee that he has earned the conversion on a third-and-short. This is a display of savvy awareness of the game situation and his surroundings.

Elusiveness: Dips, ducks, and spins off contact are the main tools in his box—nothing dynamic.

Vision: Otton is a self-aware athlete who knows his best shot of yardage is getting downhill and using his size as much as possible.

Power: Otton is strong enough to carry linebackers or safeties on his back or wrapped at his torso for 3-4 yards. Just as he’s good at moving his feet as a blocker, he’s just as good at moving his feet while wrapped as a runner. He’ll drop his pads into oncoming contact when he sees it approaching.

Direct Contact Balance: He can spin off direct shots from defensive backs in the open field. He’ll also bounce off a direct hit from a linebacker if not wrapped.

Indirect Contact Balance: Glancing shots from safeties and off-ball linebackers alone won’t knock Otton to the ground.

Ball Security: Otton covers up with both hands as he works in traffic, holding the ball high to his chest. He uses the appropriate boundary-side arm.

Blocking: Otton is patient off the line against slanting defensive ends so he can earn his hands into the body with an uppercut and drive the opponent off-balance with his legs. Although a defensive end will generate a push on Otton, his effort to stay locked into position with his hands and continue moving his feet helps him earn angles that counter the push and generate leverage that will earn him a push as the play unfolds.

Otton knows when to peel off one defender to attack another further downhill.

He’s consistent at getting his hands into the frame of his opponent with an uppercut strike. He’ll take the opponent where the opponent wants to lean and then turn into the side of the opponent to wall-off the opponent’s path to the ball and then deposit the defender on the ground. He excels at this form of baiting the defender as a cut-off blocker.

He’s a relentless blocker who works to the whistle both in-line and a stalk blocker in space.

He has enough range to work across the line and deliver a shot to the chest with at least a double jab that rocks the edge defender off-path. He can get lower when working inside as a lead blocker pulling into the crease so he can dig out a smaller defender and sustain the contact rather than deliver a hard hit that doesn’t sustain.

When stalk blocking, Otton understands when to deliver a hard punch and when to square and lock up. He’ll punch in scenarios where he knows his angle may not be ideal for latching on. When the defender redirects off the hit, Otton pivots and seals the opponent away from the ballcarrier, latching on at that point. When he gets low enough and uppercuts with his hands, he sustains contact and generates a push and turn.

Otton maintains a wide base and shuffles his feet well to remain square with edge pressure in pass protection but NFL-caliber athletes on the edge can generate leverage and a push that forces Otton into the pocket or the quarterback. He’s not skilled at handling redirects from a defender with refined hand counters. He’s at his best working in tandem with a tackle, back, or second tight end.

Durability: Ankle surgery in late 2022 that he’s still rehabbing. Also missed time with COVID and an undisclosed injury in 2021. The only injury requiring surgery was the ankle.

Pre-NFL Draft Fantasy Advice: Otton is the second of the two-safest options to draft due to the potential for playing time. He’s not as physical or athletic as McBride at the catch point or as a ballcarrier and he’s not as versatile of a route runner as Kolar. Still, he’s the best blocker of the three and a more reliable pass catcher against contact than Kolar.

If reading this as a draftnik and not a fantasy manager, Otton is likely the most complete tight end in this class and would have been the No.1 option if I gave more weight to blocking. As for fantasy managers, Otton will likely get overrated in fantasy leagues based on non-fantasy rankings—at least before the NFL Draft.

After the NFL Draft, Otton’s value could rise based on fit. Until then, consider him a pick in the early fourth round, at the earliest. You’ll probably see him go earlier, but he’s not a dynamic yards-getter as a route runner or ballcarrier. You’re hoping for volume, at best.

Boiler/Film Room Material (Links to plays):

And of course, if you want to know about the rookies from this draft class, you will find the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), with the 2023 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95.

There’s an early-bird discount period running from December 1-22 to pre-order it for $19.95 

Matt’s new RSP Dynasty Rankings and Two-Year Projections Package is available for $24.95

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2022 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2022 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

Best yet, proceeds from sales are set aside for a year-end donation to Darkness to Light to combat the sexual abuse of children. 

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