The Las Vegas Raiders eagerly anticipate repeating last year’s success with OTAs getting underway. With so much depth at almost every position on the team, it causes numerous camp battles, and as we enter the early weeks of camp, here is how the tight end group shapes up.
What does the tight end position look like this year for the Raiders?
No. 1 Raiders TE – Darren Waller
While it should come as no surprise, Darren Waller is obviously the best tight end on the Raiders roster. He is going to gain a lot of targets as expected and be one of the key figures on the field. The fact is that Waller is a matchup problem for defenses, and this will continue; he should not be concerned about losing his starting spot because his sole worry is staying healthy. The Raiders have a top-three tight end on their roster, and he’s becoming more dangerous with each snap.
Expect him to improve on his two touchdowns and 665 receiving yards from last season. There is little doubt about who the best tight end on the team is, and his number is 83.
No. 2 Raiders TE – Foster Moreau
While Waller is certainly the top tight end on the depth chart, his teammate is clearly the second best. When Waller went down with an injury, Foster Moreau was thrust into the starting lineup. While he didn’t always perform to his full potential, he made an effort. Despite no touchdowns, he was targeted 23 times for 16 receptions during his absence. This performance demonstrated that there is still potential for growth and that there is no shame in being the next man up.
Moreau finished his season with 373 receiving yards and three touchdowns. There’s a good probability he’ll develop as a result of this, because playing with incredible talent makes you a better player over time. Not to mention that he will get his fair share of targets while most of his teammates are heavily covered.
No. 3 Raiders TE – Jacob Hollister
One of the newest additions to the Silver and Black over the offseason was Jacob Hollister, who last played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2021, he totaled nine receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown with the Jaguars. While he enters camp as the third tight end on the depth chart, he could see action in certain packages. It just depends on the role he’s been assigned; on prior teams, he was a pass blocker. Depending on the package, he could be blocking or running out to catch a ball. Oh, and he brings a championship pedigree as a member of the New England Patriots squad that won Super Bowl LIII with Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator.
No. 4 Raiders TE – Nick Bowers
Bowers spent most of last season as a blocker and on special teams. While he only appeared in five games last season, he played 40 snaps on offense and 39 on special teams. It’s likely he’ll repeat the same role this season until the coaching staff feels he’s ready to move into the passing game.
No. 5 Raiders TE – Travis Koontz
Another newcomer to the already packed tight end room, On Monday, Travis Koontz joined the team. Last season, the former Texas Tech Red Raider finished with 306 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He could be viewed mostly as a camp body or practice squad player who develops over time.
Honorable Mention – Cole Fotheringham
One of numerous UDFAs selected in the unofficial eighth round of the 2022 NFL draft. Cole Fotheringham, from Utah, is a massive, physical specimen. He was mostly deployed as a blocker. He could see himself filling that position once camp starts. Otherwise, he’ll be just another camp body on the practice squad.
*Top Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images