University of Washington edge rusher Zion Tupuola-Fetui, possibly a first-rounder some day, postponed his NFL draft pursuits after he had a season-delaying Achilles rupture and season-ending concussion last fall.
Husky offensive tackle Jaxson Kirkland, likewise aiming for one of the top 32 selections when it’s his time, did the same after tearing up an ankle and having offseason surgery.
Their tight-end teammate Cade Otton injured an ankle last season that required surgery and he likewise had college eligibility remaining, but he pushed ahead with the draft and it likely cost him a lot of money.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Otton in late April with the very first pick of the fourth round– and league followers keep telling them they got a steal in the former Husky.
They mention that Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski who emerged from the same conference, from Arizona, turned out to be a far better player than his second-round selection by the New England Patriots indicated.
They maintain something similar will happen with Otton.
These experts cite the UW tight end’s less-than-ideal football circumstances rather than his compound injuries for costing him a round or two or even three of draft placement.
Or as team blogger JoeBucsFan.com, in concert with input from former Bucs tight end Anthony Becht, put it bluntly: “Otton’s numbers were way down because Washington’s quarterbacks were so awful.”
This was supported by Greg Cosell, the NFL Films analyst, who on a Tampa Bay podcast imparted the following wisdom regarding the UW player: “Cade Otton was a tight end who did not have big numbers. I really like Cade Otton.
The thing about Otton, the grandson of Washington state’s most highly successful high school football coach, is he never complained once about his UW situation that seemingly damaged his draft standing.
A year ago, he even expressed optimism for a John Donovan Husky offense that ultimately tanked so badly, helped and ruined a season cost people jobs.
Likewise, Otton recently was upbeat in sizing up the way the Bucs do things offensively behind quarterback legend Tom Brady when he spoke to reporters for the first time at Tampa Bays’ rookie minicamp.
“It’s super cool to see the way this offense treats their tight ends. It’s a great opportunity to be a big part of the team and contribute to the offense in a big way.”
While it’s unclear whether Gronkowski will return or retire, Otton, once he gets all healed up, should be a productive Buc in place of him or alongside him. And a draft steal.
This was supported by Greg Cosell, the NFL Films analyst, who on a Tampa Bay podcast imparted the following wisdom regarding the UW player: “Cade Otton was a tight end who did not have big numbers. I really like Cade Otton. “It’s super cool to see the way this offense treats their tight ends. It’s a great opportunity to be a big part of the team and contribute to the offense in a big way.”