With NFL Training Camp quickly approaching, a position group that’s intriguing for the Las Vegas Raiders is tight end. A fascinating camp battle that will feature a potential star, a potential NFL Hall of Famer, and some blue-chip prospects.
As the Silver and Black enter their inaugural season in Las Vegas, they have much to look forward to. In particular, their offense has a lot of potential after a busy offseason this year in addition to careful planning dating back to 2018. The assembling of talent at tight end with general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden at the helm is phenomenal.
Beginning with the signing of Darren Waller off the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad in 2018, the Raiders reformed the tight end position. A fourth-round selection, Foster Moreau became an instant contributor. Derek Carrier, a 2012 practice squad player, will be in the mix again.
The Future Is Bright For Raiders Tight Ends
Waller was the offensive revelation of 2019 for the Raiders, becoming quarterback Derek Carr’s go-to option. Carr targeted him a total of 117 times while coming down with an splendid 90 receptions for 1,145 yard. Despite only three touchdowns, that number will go up in a retooled offense. The addition of Henry Ruggs III will lead to a more spread-out attack that will stretch defenses. In turn, Waller will find himself in a position to take advantage and score more often. Waller’s status as a starter coming out of camp is unquestionable barring injury or anything extreme.
Moreau turned out to be a welcomed surprise in 2019, totaling five touchdowns in his 13 games played. Once the LSU product bounces back from injury, he will definitely contribute in 2020. Judging from his sample-sized contribution, he’ll be a reliable option moving forward. Out of 25 targets, Moreau came down with 21 while recording 14 first downs and recording four broken tackles. Carrier’s a veteran that had some moments in the 2019 campaign, he did find the endzone once despite only 19 targets. In addition, he’s proven to be a healthy fixture, having played in all 32 games these past two years. Used in run-blocking situations as well, Carrier will still find himself vying for snaps this season.
Enter The Future NFL Hall of Famer
A free-agent addition that initially caused a stir within Raider Nation was future Hall of Famer, Jason Witten. Looking back, it’s probable it was more of an emotional reaction by fans due to Witten’s history as a Dallas Cowboy. Let’s face it, only good can come from adding Witten, both on and off the field as he’s already shown. That aside, Witten could still contribute in 2020, especially if Gruden puts him in the right positions. He can still be a threat in the red zone and move the chains for first downs as he showed in 2019.
It’s possible Gruden rolls with all four tight ends in 2020 though this might not be necessary. The team also drafted Lynn Bowden Jr, who might not be a tight end but his role could make it necessary to just keep three tight ends. Bowden while listed as a running back will be used all over the field, perhaps it would be smart to carry three running backs in addition to Bowden. We’ll have to wait and see how camp develops, let us know your thoughts in the comment section, Raider Nation.
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