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Position group analysis: Tight ends

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 11:39 am in Oakland Raiders.

Fourth in a series analyzing Raiders position groups with a contingent of scouts and coaches in Indianapolis at the scouting combine:

Starter: Zach Miller. Backups: Tony Stewart, Brandon Myers.

Review: Once upon a time the Raiders being laughed at behind the scenes when they signed Miller, their second round draft pick in 2007. It wasn’t that they’d taken Miller so much as they ended up paying him about a million dollars more than necessary when looking at the way contracts were slotted before and after him.

Turns out it was money well spent.

Miller is proof the Raiders don’t always go for the biggest, fastest and most imposing physical specimen. On this occasion, the Raiders instead went with moderately-sized player who wasn’t a basketball or track star and whose best attribute was finding open areas and catching a football. He’s the anti-Rickey Dudley.

Over the past three seasons, Miller’s receptions have gone from 44 as a rookie to 56 and 66. His yardage has escalated from 444 to 778 to 805. While not a blazer, Miller had a 63-yard touchdown reception in 2008 and an 86-yard catch in 2009. He’s pretty much the only receiver who developed any kind of chemistry with JaMarcus Russell.

If there’s a criticism of Miller it’s that he doesn’t get into the end zone often enough _ seven touchdown receptions among his 166 catches.

Miller’s backup, Tony Stewart is a core special teams player who caught 10 passes for 78 yards and is a physical blocker. Brandon Myers had an excellent training camp and caught four passes for 19 yards. His forced fumble and strip on a kickoff return against Cincinnati set-up a game-winning field goal.

Contract status: All tight ends are under contract.

What’s next: Miller had two concussions last season and missed a game because of his second one. With the NFL paying much closer attention to concussions, the Raiders will be looking hard at young tight ends. Myers also missed time due to a concussion last year.

It may not be someone who plays tight end at the moment _ Al Davis is fond of tinkering with athletes at the position. If Miller can keep his head clear, the Raiders can comfortably experiment with the tight end position in hopes of finding someone unique while at the same time knowing they’ve got a classic, sure-handed tight end on the roster for the next several years.

Contract status:

What’s next:

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  • 24

    Rex declines to talk about Asomugha

    Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on February 27, 2010 12:34 PM ET
    Perhaps having learned a thing about how not to tamper, Rex Ryan declined to comment Saturday when asked about Nmandi Asomugha’s desire to play for the Jets.

    And Ryan had some fun with me for bringing the topic up.

    “Ah, there we go. I get myself in enough trouble,” Ryan said with a big smile on his face to laughter in the crowd. “I don’t really need your help to get me in trouble.”

    Ryan did later say he’s open to adding a stronger second cornerback, but didn’t want to overreact based just on the AFC Championship.

    As usual, the Jets coach filled up the tape recorder with good stuff, including the offseason work he’s doing on his abs. We’ll have more from him later.

  • jhill

    I get your point on the coaching SnB …

    I don’t think he’s the equivalent of DHB at OT. Technique IS something that can be improved. Everything else seems to be there.

    He’s definitely a top 10 pick man, cmon.

  • Thec07

    He is a project that needs a lot of work…

  • 24

    Campbell is destined to be a Raider.

    Bruce Campbell is this year’s workout warrior

    Posted by Michael David Smith on February 27, 2010 10:33 AM ET
    The scouting combine workouts have begun, and the most impressive performance in shorts and a T-shirt so far belongs to Maryland offensive tackle Bruce Campbell.

    We already noted that Campbell put up 34 reps in the bench press, but that was nothing compared to what Campbell did in the 40-yard dash, where he finished in a sensational 4.78 seconds, an absolutely amazing time for a 314-pounder.

    Agent Drew Rosenhaus says it’s the fastest 40 ever for an offensive lineman. The average 40-yard dash for an offensive tackle at last year’s combine was 5.3 seconds.

    Campbell is generally regarded as a first-round pick, and his combine has obviously helped his draft status. But NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock did pour a little bit of cold water on Campbell, saying that when viewed on film, Campbell doesn’t look as impressive as he does in the weight room and on the track.

    “If there’s a star so far in the combine, it’s him,” Mayock said of Campbell. “What he’s going to have to overcome is the tape.”

    UPDATE: Campbell’s official time was 4.85 seconds. In the past, fast 40 times haven’t meant much for offensive linemen.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Sorry Guys. I lost my connection.

    Thec: I think he is a RT. ( T Williams)

    S&B: B Campbell it is!!! lol

  • http://atm Raider O

    Players Al is interested in :
    - Campbell, Austen Lane, Spoon, and Jacoby Ford.

  • jhill

    My bad …

    I was thinking this guy was the kid from Rutgers. I doubt Al takes Campbell over Okung, Davis, or Bulaga. Gallery and Grove weren’t HWS guys, so I don’t think that will factor in to the interior. If the need pick was Corner or WR, then yeah.

  • jhill

    Where is the history of Al drafting a 40 time guy for the Oline?

  • http://atm Raider O

    I would rather have Okung or A Davis over B Campbell, but I rather have him over T Williams and Bugala.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I like McClain, but I notice an issue with him. He is a solid Tackler, but not a hitter.

    I want a hitter! Spikes is a Hitter.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Jhill,

    Al cares about K’s 40 times! 40 times are the best way to scout football talent! Did you play HS football? Do you attend games?

    Word!

  • jhill

    I think a big indicator will be if we tender Howard and/or Morrison.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    If the Raiders draft an MLB in the 2nd round, they better have some more help up the middle because Warren, in particular does little against the run

  • http://atm Raider O

    We MUST draft an ILB this year, and has to be:
    1- McClain
    2- Spikes
    3- Micah Johnson
    4- Boris Lee

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    NFLN Interview with Bruce Campbell:

    Mayock: Why did you decide to come out after your junior year?

    Campbell: My body felt right and my coaches thought it was a good time…..

    We know that’s not the real answer…. the real answer is:

    Campbell: Because Al Davis traded his 2011 first round pick. Therefore, this year is my best opportunity, through the combine, to get 1st round money.

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell
  • http://atm Raider O

    S&B:

    It’s a good draft for DTs. The strongest position in this draft IMO.
    We have 8 picks, and we should draft:

    2 DL
    2 OL
    1 MLB
    1 CB
    1 OLB
    1 KR/ FB

  • jhill

    because Warren, in particular does little against the run

    ——————————————————

    Let’s go to the film. Show me where Warren is the problem …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8xL2XT8te8

  • jhill

    Campbell: Because Al Davis traded his 2011 first round pick. Therefore, this year is my best opportunity, through the combine, to get 1st round money.

    ——————————————————-

    Still waiting on an example of Al using the HWS thing on an Olineman!

  • Plunketthead

    Great college game.
    Kentucky has some unreal ballplayers
    Calipari = coach of the year

  • jhill

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPEDeY06WPo

    ——————————————————

    Show me Warren being a problem man …

  • http://atm Raider O

    What about the fact that Warren, TK, TH, and Kirk have been the starters in the front 7 for the last 2 years, we can’t stop the run, and ranked in the bottom 4 against the run?!

  • http://atm Raider O

    TK, Warren, and Kirk started all 32 games the last 2 seasons, and TH started 31.
    we ranked in the bottom 4 of the NFL against the the run the last 2 years.

    Those are the FACTS!

  • jhill

    O,

    What about the tape? There is footage of the big runs right there for you. Take away all those big plays, our #s are much better. Now lets look at the big plays in question and tell me how Warren and Kelly are the problem?

    The coaches acknowledged Howard as a problem. He lost his starting spot and the question begs if he or Brown will start next year. And Morrison ‘s job was basically handed to Ricky Brown last offseason, but Brown wasn’t up for it.

    LBs are the issue!

  • jhill

    Those are the FACTS!

    ——————————————————

    LOL!

    And the video evidence is what?

    It should be pretty easy for you to point on the problems you say exist.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Some will say that’s due to a poor offense that doest score and TO the ball.
    Others said it was due to bad Coaching. Robo!

    I say, look at your starters for the last 2 years, and that’s our problem.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Look Jhill, I’m not arguing with you. I agree that LBs are the problem, but I’m adding that you can’t ignore those bug runs up the middle too and that on the DTs!

  • jhill

    So will Weis bring his boy Clausen to KC?

    Or does Shanny snatch him at 4?

  • http://atm Raider O

    Big runs*

  • jhill

    I’m adding that you can’t ignore those bug runs up the middle too and that on the DTs!

    ——————————————————

    Could you please show me where that happens? You ARE arguing that the DTs are a problem. I could be totally wrong. The footage is there for you to show me.

  • jhill

    Mayock just said that Campbell was the best looking OT prospect he’s ever seen. Said he looked good in all the drills. Good knee bend, good mirror skills, and all. Zero negatives. Great work ethic.

  • http://atm Raider O

    You can always show video and stats to show both sides of an argument, but I look at the FACTS!

  • http://atm Raider O

    You Want Video? OK!

    Look at the one you posted at 24 & 35 sec, and tell me who the DTs were? The runs were up the middle!!

  • stabler

    Mike Lombardi has Campbell going to the Raiders after seeing his combine workout, he also nailed the DHB pick last year.

  • NoMoreFargas

    Calapari= Cheater of the year give it 5yrs and he will have UK on probation

  • RaiderDebo

    Raider O Says:
    February 27th, 2010 at 10:43 am
    We MUST draft an ILB this year, and has to be:
    1- McClain
    2- Spikes
    3- Micah Johnson
    4- Boris Lee
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Who is Boris Lee?

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