It didn’t take long for a pair of Bucs rookie tight ends to make an impact.
For bruising sixth-round pick Ko Kieft, it came in the season opener at Dallas. Playing at fullback, dude was just mauling Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch on the second level.
Cade Otton is slowly and seemingly surely working his way up the depth chart. Joe predicted in training camp that Otton, a fourth-round pick, would be your Bucs starting tight end in 2023, and could start before the end of the year.
What’s been a bit surprising is that rookie tight ends rarely do much. Sure, your superior tight ends will, but that is more exception than rule.
For the Bucs to have two tight ends helping the Bucs win games has Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich impressed.
“Ko [Kieft] and Cade [Otton] – man, that’s a tough position – tight end,” Leftwich began. “Rookies, I don’t care where they [were] drafted or what round, they normally don’t come in and play as much as these two [are] playing.
“But you can trust [them] – you can trust them early in the year. I trust those guys that they’re going to go out there and do the right thing.
“That says more than anything from a production standpoint, from that standpoint. I trust that they can be in the huddle and do the right thing.”
Joe loves how Kieft — super nice guy off the field — is downright ornery on the field and seems to always be looking for a scrap. That type of tough mentality rubs off on teammates.
Otton is showing signs of being the versatile player he was advertised before the draft.
Joe is eager to see what a full offseason in an NFL weight room does for these guys.
This content was originally published here.