Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders UDFA Spotlight: BYU TE Matt Bushman

The Las Vegas Raiders didn’t add a single skill position player in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, they made sure they locked up tight end Matt Bushman as an undrafted free agent. While he was an undrafted player for a reason, the BYU product offers the Silver and Black an intriguing option for their third tight end spot.

Unfortunately for Bushman, a torn Achilles derailed his senior season at BYU. If not for this untimely injury, he likely would have been selected on day three of the draft. The Raiders will hope this puts a chip on his shoulder as he competes for a spot on the roster.

The Las Vegas Raiders added a multi-dimensional threat

By far the most exciting part of Bushman’s game is his hands. He almost never drops the football and in 2019 he was the only player with 50 catches to not have a drop. These natural hands make him a favorite target of every quarterback he plays with. Combined with his 6’5″ height and a 78-inch wingspan, he provides a welcome security blanket for any team. His size makes him a load to bring down in the open field.

In addition to his receiving prowess, Bushman is also a willing blocker. Jon Gruden is sure to love his three-down ability and it should give him a leg up as he competes for a roster spot. As the third tight end behind Darren Waller and Foster Moreau, this ability will be valuable on special teams.

Bushman comes with some worrisome athletic deficiencies

Simply, Bushman is not a great athlete. When playing the type of competition he saw at BYU, he had to stand out and simply did not. Also, he lacks high-end speed and does not move well around the field, often looking laborious in nature. His 2020 Achilles tear is likely to sap some of this ability as well.

His age is also a concern as he will be turning 26 in his rookie year. Not a long-term project due to this, Bushman will need to make his impact early in his career.

This is a tough projection

A 26-year-old rookie who is coming off of an Achilles tear is nearly impossible to predict. Likely, Bushman will enter training camp in a battle with veteran Derek Carrier for the third tight end spot. Even though Carrier will likely win this battle, Bushman could very well earn himself a spot on the practice squad if he shows well in his return from injury. Thus, the preseason will be crucial to determining if he is able to secure a roster spot.

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Top Photo: Nate Edwards/BYU

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