Raiders

Tight End Poised To Be Raiders Best Offensive Unit

The Las Vegas Raiders had one of the best tight end duos in the NFL in 2019. After adding Jason Witten in the offseason, the position looks stronger than it has in many years.

Veteran Darren Waller had a breakout year in 2019 and Foster Moreau proved he could be a reliable red-zone target. Last season, the pair became key cogs in the Raiders offense. Waller caught 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. In his end, Moreau had five receiving touchdowns.

Although Moreau may not be able to contribute right away in 2020, Witten could pick up the slack. The veteran showed last season that even though age is catching up to him, he can be a solid contributor. Last year, he had 63 receptions for 529 yards and four touchdowns, which is better than Moreau’s 2019 production. Worst case scenario, Moreau misses an extended period of time and Witten replaces him in the lineup. On the other hand, if the sophomore doesn’t miss much time, the Raiders could deploy three-tight end sets. This could spark an offense that has lacked creativity recently and take advantage of the depth at the position.

Related: Are Raiders Draft Additions Enough to Ignite the Offense?

The Best of the Bunch

Recently, Vincent Bonsignore graded the Raiders offense and gave their tight ends an A grade. Regarding the unit, Bonsignore had a simple explanation. “The Raiders used multiple tight ends in 373 of their 989 offensive plays last year, the fourth-most in the NFL. While the upgrades at wide receiver could alter that ratio, don’t expect them to abandon their heavy tight end-use, especially after Waller’s breakout year, the promise Moreau showed as a rookie and the addition of Witten. The Raiders were first in the NFL in three-tight end sets, and averaged a second-best 5.9 yards per play when they did. Carrier is a nice depth player and a valued special teams contributor.”

It’s possible the unit as a whole gets less passes thrown their way after the Raiders wide receiver additions in the draft. Nevertheless, the tight ends will still play a key in an important role in their offense. Whether they block on running situations or become escape valves on third downs, there is plenty of talent at the position to not use it.

The tight ends weren’t the only group that received a very good mark in Bosignore’s breakdown. However, they might be the Raiders strongest position in 2020. Waller and Moreau are barely entering their second year together and can become even better.

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Top Photo: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

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