One thing we can count on is that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden loves his tight ends. To nobody’s surprise, the team added another one this offseason in BYU’s Matt Bushman.
So far in his tenure, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has had questionable first-round selections. Whether he’s ultimately responsible for those picks or if they fall on Gruden’s shoulders is another debate. One thing that Mayock’s certainly excelled at, is finding and picking up undrafted players. His most recent addition could prove to be a doozy in Bushman. The Raiders already have a star at tight end in Darren Waller and will look to feature Foster Moreau more in 2021. Nevertheless, it appears that Las Vegas might have landed themselves a starting-caliber tight end.
Raiders could be three deep at tight end
Recently, Thor Nystrom of NBC Sports took a closer look at Bushman’s prospects with the Silver and Black. Nystrom pointed out that despite having him ranked as a fourth-round selection, Bushman had too many red flags. These flags eventually led to him going undrafted last month. In particular, Bushman’s age (25) and injury concerns stemming from a ruptured Achilles stood out the most. Pro Football Focus also highlighted that Bushman’s decision to opt out of last season ultimately cost him. This was, in part, due to Zack Wilson’s play at BYU last year which would’ve helped Bushman’s stock.
Nevertheless, Bushman’s reliability as a pass-catcher was excellent during his collegiate career. In fact, Nystrom stated that in Bushman’s last two active years, 2018-2019, he dropped only two balls on 117 targets. He has the second-best ball skills of any tight end in this class behind Kyle Pitts. Earlier this month, our own Jason Willis also highlighted Bushman’s receiving abilities.
“These [Bushman’s] 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.”
No one expects Bushman to replace Waller or anything of that nature, however, if healthy, he’ll battle for a spot in camp. If anyone can make use of a talented tight end, it’s Gruden. This time next year we could be looking back at this as the biggest UDFA pickup by the Raiders.
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*Top Photo: Rick Bowmer/Associated Press