In 2013 the Oakland Raiders will have plenty of open position competitions. Few could be as compelling as the race for the starting tight end spot. The Raiders added two tight ends in the 2013 NFL Draft in Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera. They join leftovers Richard Gordon and David Ausberry.
When Brandon Myers left via free agency for the New York Giants, a large void was left at tight end. Myers led the Raiders in receptions, yards, and first down catches a season ago. Now a new target will have to emerge especially with the Raiders inexperience at the quarterback position to provide a safety valve for the young quarterbacks as well as occupy the middle of the field to free up the outside receivers.
Kasa and Rivera will not be at too much of a disadvantage once the Raiders begin their offseason workouts because Ausberry and Gordon have limited experience. Ausberry played in all 16 games last season, but mostly on special teams. The converted wideout from USC has a terrific combination of size, power, and speed. Many thought he would breakout last season because of his attributes, but he only caught seven passes for 92 yards. He has the ability to stretch the defense, but needs become a more compete player.
Gordon missed three games last year with a groin injury. He started the second game of the season in Miami, but had minimal impact then and on the season with only two catches for nine yards and one touchdown. He excels as a blocker and that's where his value lies. Kasa and Rivera could improve a position that needs to replace significant production. They are getting their first taste of the NFL this weekend at rookie mini-camp. No matter how it plays out, the Raiders will be searching for the right combination at tight end to help their 2013 offense.
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