1,543

Raiders training camp roster breakdown: Tight ends

Share
Clive Walford is the key to the Raiders' tight ends group. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Clive Walford is the key to the Raiders’ tight ends group. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It’s time for tight ends in part seven of this 10-part series breaking down the Raiders roster before training camp.

The strength of this group will be defined largely by the success of one man: Clive Walford.

The Raiders the second-year tight end’s potential and he’s flashed his ability several times. If he takes off and becomes a consistent and effective weapon for Derek Carr, the Raiders’ offense adds a new dynamic.

Some of the momentum in that regard stalled though this offseason when Walford was involved in an ATV accident. He injured his knee enough that it required surgery, but the expectation has always been that he’ll be back for training camp.

That’s the key. Walford needs as much time during training camp with Carr as possible. Walford caught 28 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns last season. The numbers probably could’ve been better if Walford hadn’t missed the bulk of training camp with a pair of injuries. That missed time together came after Carr was out for OTAs with an injury.

Now that Walford sat out this offseason program following his knee injury, the pair have missed quite a large bulk of time they could’ve spent building on their rapport. Sure, they had the whole regular season last year. But when game planning gets involved, it’s a little tougher to get in that individual work.

Walford obviously made a bad decision by hopping in an ATV and getting himself hurt. But if he can bounce back from the injury and quickly make up the lost ground, the Raiders will forget about it.

Here’s a look at the entire tight ends group:

Lee Smith

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Smith is the Raiders’ listed starter and he started all 15 games in which he played last year. But it’s important to distinguish his role. Smith is the team’s blocking tight end and that’s his primary job for the offense. He’s much more offensive line than he is receiver. He caught 12 passes last year — a career-high — for 70 yards and the fourth touchdown of his five-year career. If you’re looking for a fantasy option, he’s not the guy. But he does what the Raiders ask him to do and does it pretty well.

Mychal Rivera

The Raiders listed Rivera as their No. 2 tight end all last season and he’s numbers were fairly comparable to Walford (32 catches, 280 yards, one touchdown). He wasn’t featured nearly as much as in 2014, when he had 58 catches for 534 yards and four scores and rumors of the Raiders possibly trading him came up during the offseason. Those disappeared after Walford’s injury created some uncertainty and for now he’s a nice luxury item until/unless Walford emerges.

Clive Walford

As mentioned above, Walford is the key to this group. Who knows how many pass attempts exist after throwing a good chunk to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree? But a good tight end can create tough matchups and the 6-5, 258-pound Walford can do that. Will he have any lingering effects from the knee injury? Can he further develop the connection with Carr? Can he become an every down tight end who can block effectively?  These are the questions the Raiders hope to have answered about Walford very soon.

The depth

The Raiders had four tight ends active on the roster to end last season after promoting Gabe Holmes, a former UDFA they weren’t ready to see get signed away. He didn’t see any game action though. He was promoted because another team had interest and the Raiders could have trouble trying to stash him on the practice squad again this season.

 

They added Colton Underwood to the practice squad late last season. He came into the league as a linebacker and spent time on the Eagles and Chargers practice squad previously. He and rookie undrafted free agent Ryan O’Malley will obviously have a lot of work ahead to move up in this group.

 

Share

Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • RaiderCODE

    race baiting – pure and simple…

  • kuhlest

    I like your list…..so we have to go 5-1 in division, and 5-5 out of division….sweeping the Broncos is a tall order

  • BigTed707

    It makes a big difference – turning good runs into great runs.

  • RaiderCODE

    gonna have to go 4-2 in the division…

  • FriskiesR8R

    Donald press conference, geez, wtf, huh???

  • kuhlest

    well you have us nNEEDING to sweep the Chargers and Broncos while splitting with the Chiefs….5-1

  • Fill us in…

  • Ken SnakeLer

    Not until it’s legalized in all 50, more than likely.

  • MuthaFknZeus

    They’ll stop testing when their sponsors make it an issue. They’re too afraid of change effecting their profit.

  • idahoraiderfan33

    It’s clear to any thinking person that dude sold out to Russia..

  • RaiderCODE

    yes – 4-2 at *least* to have any chance – 5-1 is prob required.. cant get to 10 wins going 3-3 in the division

  • Teabag McKenz

    * week 3 @ Titans : they are better

    [head explodes]

    Say what?

  • He has major business interests/partnerships with Russians. Clear conflict of interest, and you know he will always choose his wallet over America.

  • idahoraiderfan33

    The press hammering him on Russia, and he’s loving Putin..

  • FriskiesR8R

    Babbling mess

  • RaiderCODE

    better than last year … I change to ‘improved’

  • RaiderCODE
  • Teabag McKenz

    My bad, I completely read that wrong.

  • idahoraiderfan33

    It’s alot deeper than that..

  • RaiderCODE

    lol- yeah not better than us 🙂

  • FriskiesR8R

    Getting more liberal by the minute

  • Teabag McKenz

    If the team is having trouble executing the simplest of plays then they surely cannot be depended on to get cute and creative.

  • Teabag McKenz

    This is not accurate, unless PFF uses different standards for measuring drops than other sites, which in that case I would love to see their reasoning as the difference in drops from other sites is quite marginal.

    I provided links to 4 different sites recently showing Copper tied for 2nd with 10 drops, Mike Evans being the leader with 11 (Thomas coming in behind Cooper with 9).

    http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/drops/2015/

  • R8erEduc8er

    Code for “those were happy slaves”.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Carr’s gonna have a lot of liberty this year, per Muskrat.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Damn near all those picks were poor, ill-advised QB throws. But I guess he gets credit for being in the right place at the right times.

  • Teabag McKenz

    Don’t click! Redirects to some weird foreign site and my virus blocker flagged it.

  • MuthaFknZeus

    When you continue to call screen passes every 2 or 3 plays mixed with 1 yard dive runs, the opposition tends to catch on making it hard to execute.

  • Ken SnakeLer

    I think we sweep the chumps this year. They won’t be better anywhere and that D is getting old aside from Peters

  • R8erEduc8er

    Easy fix 🙂

  • inonewordraider

    Why people dislike hillary
    1. Media-4 died on her watch in benghazi
    Fact embassies/consulates attacked and people killed under every president
    2. Media- she lied and said benghazi was due to protest gone wrong
    Fact- although she didnt believe it to be due to protest obama gave that explanation and she backed it
    3. Media- she used her personal server for classified material
    Fact-of 30000+ emails on her personal server 3 were labeled classified and every secretary of state used personal server
    4. Media-she gets funded by special interest
    Fact-every president in history had special interest backing to get elected
    5. Media-clintons has foster killed, hillary threatened womens lives over bills transgressions
    Fact-proven false, u read too much enquirer

  • Raiders21

    meaning they are better than they were last year? Not better than us

  • MuthaFknZeus

    Who needs financial advisors with great ideas like these?

  • FriskiesR8R

    I feel myself slowly slipping to your side, gaaa

  • Teabag McKenz

    Was covered only 1 and 2 posts down, but your input is still highly valued regardless of it’s irrelevancy.

  • R8der4evr

    Aldon-
    Carr is going to light it up

  • FriskiesR8R

    New post, Dakota wake the hell up, wide receivers

  • inonewordraider

    2016, smdh

  • Teabag McKenz

    http://insidethepylon.com/nfl/teams-nfl/afc-west/oakland-raiders/2015/12/14/oakland-raiders-expand-spread-concetp/

    Good break down of Musgrave’s creativity late in the season, despite fans stating he was stale and called “screen passes every 2 or 3 plays mixed with 1 yard dive runs

  • Raiders21

    scheisse

  • Teabag McKenz

    I know you weren’t attempting to attack me and I’m sorry that was a bit harsh but it’s just a pet peeve of mine when someone responds before reading the entirety of a dialogue.

  • Raiders21

    All good, typed it, got distracted with something else then came back to it and posted it. Late to the party

  • 2romes

    1.) Most people don’t know about Benghazi. People die under every Pres. Watch.
    2.) your # 2 reverts back to my # 1
    3.) Fine her. Yoga and plans for breakfast hogged of most of the data for all I know if the Feds dismissed it.
    4.) If you already admitted every Pres. did, there was no need to post the comment.
    5.) your last statement makes no sense, moreover, you sound like Trump.