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NFL Rookie Storylines: Latest News and Headlines Surrounding the 2022 Class.

While it is officially the "vacation" period of the NFL, there are still stories brewing amongst the rookie class. Read them below.

Expect Cade Otton to see Increased Role in Tampa Bay

Cade Otton Tampa

Following the abrupt but foreshadowed retirement of legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski, Otton suddenly finds himself in a role that may contain valuable snaps in 2022. As Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports wrote, "Suddenly, Otton is the defacto No. 2 tight end in Tampa Bay without any major threat of Rob Gronkowski returning, at least for the first few months of the season. Cameron Brate is still hanging around, and while he's flashed, the Harvard product hasn't reached 50 catches in a regular season since 2016, and he'll be 31 in July." The departure of OJ Howard in the offseason combined with rumors of Gronk's retirement made the Bucs decide to draft Otton in the fourth round. While he didn't produce gaudy numbers during his tenure at the University of Washington, Otton played for four years and will bring maturity and mental acuity to the tight end room. Those are highly valued intangibles when your quarterback is Tom Brady, leading to the potential for viable production out of the rookie. 

Nakobe Dean has Impressed the Eagles Coaching Staff 

Naboke Dean Eagles

After falling to the third round in the 2022 NFL Draft, Dean is immediately in contention as the biggest steal of the past draft cycle. A litany of injury concerns, particularly ones found late in the evaluation process, caused Dean's spiral. Drafted far from his predicted first-round selection, the Eagles may be Dean's perfect spot. They selected his former teammate, Jordan Davis, earlier in the draft and are in need of an instinctual, fast-flowing linebacker. As Reuben Frank of NBC Sports reported, "Dean is learning two positions (Mike and Will), and has dazzled the Eagles' coaches with his intelligence and is a candidate to wear the green dot. The dot signifies the player with the headset in their helmet to communicate with the coaches." It may take a while before Dean is healthy enough to compete, but he may be a force to reckon with when the time comes.  

Braxton Jones In Line to Start Despite Day 3 Draft Position

Braxton-Jones Bears

While Jones wasn't selected until the fifth round, his early achievements have him in favor of the Bears coaching staff. Per Courtney Cronin of ESPN, Jones has been taking first-team reps at left tackle. There are countless examples of late-round or even undrafted players that have made tenured NFL careers. While it is too early to determine if Jones will be next, it is a promising start for the rookie out of Southern Utah. 

Dameon Pierce Could Surpass Career Production at Florida as a Rookie

Dameon-Pierce-Texans

One of the question marks surrounding Pierce was his utility at Florida, with concerns around a lack of production. That may soon change in the NFL. Many have pointed to his physical skill set and lack of "tread" as reasons why Pierce will start in Houston. With no lead back or at least none with true experience as a primary ball carrier, the door is wide open for Pierce. Chad Reuter of NFL media wrote about Pierce's projection, stating, "Pierce has an excellent opportunity to earn a lot of carries for the Texans this year if veteran Marlon Mack doesn't grab the reins. Pierce's tough running and underappreciated short-area quickness allow him to move the chains and excel in short-yardage/goal-line situations." 

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