By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, February 28th, 2011 at 3:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Barring some kind of deal to move up in the draft, Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan will be long gone by the time the Raiders pick in the NFL draft.
Jordan Cameron, however, will be there possibly into the draft’s final day, and he’s got the kind of pedigree which catches the eye of Al Davis.
He’s also the kind of athletic, versatile tight end Davis loves, and he also comes from USC _ one of his favorite schools (although there is that annoying Lane Kiffin thing to consider).
As it has been explained to me by a Raiders talent evaluator (and keep in mind that the entire coaching staff joins in with the personnel department in this process at the combine), one of the things they’re always on the lookout for is a varied athletic background. Did he play basketball in high school and college? Participate on the track team?
It’s not necessarily going to be a huge factor, but it could sway a decision one way or the other if two prospects are close. Someone who has played other sports may be quicker to adjust to a much faster game, it speaks to competitive spirit and could make for a more explosive athlete down the road.
The Raiders have only two tight ends at the moment who will be under contract when a collective bargaining agreement is reached, pending a deal with Zach Miller _ Brandon Myers and Kevin Brock.
Logic suggests the Raiders will keep Miller through a new contract or invoking a tender if that option exists under a new CBA. But only Al Davis knows for sure. Miller has a concussion history, had sports hernia surgery a year ago and a bad foot, and health is a major factor when doling out huge dollars.
Even if Miller is still on the roster as expected, he and Myers are similar players. What’s missing is more of an explosive, downfield type threat _ someone who can bring to the position what Marcel Reece has to fullback.
Nevada’s Virgil Green (6-3, 249) has generated a lot of buzz for his athletic ability, was third-best among tight ends at 4.64 in the 40-yard dash and hada 42.5 inch vertical leap. He may be taken earlier than the Raiders want to fill the tight end position. The fastest tight end Florida Atlantic’s Rob Houshler (6-5, 248) at 4.58, who like Green has the basketball-track background in high school.
Cameron is intriguing because he’s 6-5, 249 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.59 and followed it up with a 37.5 inch vertical leap. He’s a converted wide receiver and started his college career playing basketball at BYU before transferring to USC.