One of the positions of competition at Oakland Raiders' training camp is tight end. The position is evolving in today's NFL and requires a serious blend of strength and athleticism. Rivera possesses both and has the potential to be a real threat in the passing game starting this season.
Questions have followed the Raiders' tight end all offseason because of their inexperience. The team used two of their 2013 NFL Draft choices on tight ends Nick Kasa and Rivera. Rivera comes to Oakland after playing his college ball at Tennessee where he finished his senior season as an All-SEC first team selection. His skill set lends him to be more of a pass catching tight end, who needs to work on the other aspects. However with the depth the Raiders have at the position they need a weapon like Rivera. He has emerged during training camp showing off his receiving skills, explosiveness, and hands, while making an effort to improve his blocking.
“Mychal Rivera is one guy who’s a rookie that came in and did a really nice job in the passing game, and one of the question marks of him coming in was how he was going to do as a blocker, and he’s done a nice job as far as that’s concerned,” Allen said.
Rivera is taking advantage of his opportunity to show the coaching staff what he can offer. David Ausberry is another tight end showing off his impressive skill set. The former wide receiver at USC has a tremendous blend of size, speed, and strength. The Raiders are looking to replace the 79 catches Brandon Myers produced in 2012. With both Ausberry and Rivera emerging it is a step in the right direction and a boost to the Raiders search for passing game play makers.
“David Ausberry is another guy I’ve been impressed with,” Allen said. “He’s really improved. He has a better understanding of what we’re trying to ask him to do, and we’re going to continue to put the pressure on him and press him to see who, at the end of the day, stands up and responds and catches the ball and wins the battle.”
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