2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Cade Ottonby Charlie Parent April 20, 2022 1 comment
The debate over the top tight end in this year’s draft class is far from settled, even with less than 10 days until the first pick is made. While Greg Dulcich, Trey McBride, and Isaiah Likely, among others, are more well-known names, Washington’s Cade Otton is right up in this discussion. Like most college tight ends, Otton was underutilized in Seattle. He wasn’t the biggest producer out there, though Otton proved he could go off at any time with three games over 80 yards in the past 1.5 seasons. The potential in the numbers seems to be there for Otton, but we now must check the film to see if he can reach said promise.
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Name: Cade Otton
Jersey: No. 87
Position: Tight End
Weight: 247 lbs
Games Watched: Michigan (2021), Montana (2021), Utah (2020)
Major Injury History: Ankle Surgery (2021)
On the first play of the first game watched, Otton stood up potential top pick Aidan Hutchinson. We saw nice hand placement on this rep, which continued throughout every game. Against those better rushers like Hutchinson, Otton can get his frame knocked back. However, he won’t get driven back too far, if at all. In fact, he even laid a nasty chip that sent Hutchinson flying in this one. While Otton doesn’t secure the title of best blocker in this tight end, he is a probable second place. Additionally, Otton is a very nice double-team candidate. The negatives, while low, are still there. He can miss assignments, and quicker guys at the second level can get around Otton, although he’s still pretty solid out in space.
Cade Otton flattens Aidan Hutchinson on a chip pic.twitter.com/Pz9S95LsLI
— Justin Penik (@JustinPenik) April 19, 2022
Route Running (11/15)
Otton isn’t the fastest route runner in the world, and this can hinder him as he tries to gain separation. He sort of sifts through the zone coverage whilst working over the middle of the field and has been successful doing so. Otton possesses choppy feet that can make up for some of the lack of speed. His route tree primarily consists of curls, crossers, and drags, but the Washington tight end has mixed in some slants, out routes, and double move seam routes, all of which have gotten him open at times.
This is Otton’s worst trait. He’s not very explosive out of the stance, either standing or on the line. There’s no real form of release from Otton, though he can get into the route relatively quickly. The next step in the development here would be for Otton to use those choppy feet he has in the route running into the release game a bit more. This would provide more unpredictability from Otton and better overall separation.
There isn’t much to really say on Otton’s tracking. He’s mostly had bullet line drives thrown in his vicinity instead of looping passes over the shoulder. Now, he did have some of those over-the-shoulder reps, and he’s come close to making the necessary adjustment but hasn’t done well enough to secure the catch and secure a better grade in this trait.
Run After the Catch (7.75/10)
Otton got a solid amount of opportunities in the RAC game. He got his fair share of screens and did well when doing so. The first thing you notice is that Otton drags guys with him every time he has the ball in his hands. The former Huskie never gets tackled and doesn’t at least gain an extra yard. The second thing you see is a lack of speed, while the third is a sneaky amount of contact balance, allowing Otton to create more in space.
Drop issues were nonexistent for Otton. He makes all the simple and easy catches while making the off-frame ones as well. Not only does Otton have good hands, but he is also smart when catching the football. Against Montana, Otton made a clutch catch in space on a critical fourth down. Against Utah, Otton was able to haul in a sideline grab and realize how much time he had left to get out of bounds quick with a second to play in the half.
Contested Catch (8.25/10)
You can’t really describe Otton as that “go up and get it” type tight end, but he does well enough in the contested catch area. There was a touchdown grab against Utah where Otton high-pointed the ball over a defender, though he mostly makes his money in this area through traffic. Otton can haul in most balls with defenders coming right at him. There were some drops, but contested catches are certainly a plus for Otton.
Otton primarily lines up on the line but is seen as a true Y-tight end at the next level. He bounces all over the place, and whether that is in the slot or on the boundary, Otton’s role in this scenario varies on a game-to-game basis. His success on the boundary has varied, but he’s done a very nice job in the slot. It’s also these games in the slot where Otton has put up those bigger numbers that we mentioned in the intro.
Due to an ankle injury, Otton was unable to test in the pre-draft process. Thus, we must base everything on the film and not the calculated raw athletic score. The tape shows Otton to be a tad bit of an above-average athlete. He’s not very fast, especially out in space, but Otton has shown nice functional strength in his outstanding blocking.
To answer our opening question, Otton is not the top tight end in this class. While he is a very solid football player, the lack of quickness and explosion hinders his ability to rise in the ranks. This also shows that Otton does not have some of the better receiving traits than the best tight ends. When looking at Otton’s draft stock, it’s unknown where he’ll go. If Otton is selected as the third-to-fifth tight end taken off the board on either Day 2 or Day 3, that is very acceptable in accordance with the value that Otton will give an NFL program.
Rookie Projection: Depth Blocking Tight End
Third-Year Projection: Solid Backup Tight End
Player Grade (77.5/100): Late Third-Round Pick
Pro Comparison: Cameron Brate
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images