The Oakland Raiders are going to have serious competition at the tight end position throughout training camp and into the preseason. Tight end David Ausberry may be the most intriguing because of his physical attributes. He possesses a combination of size, speed, and power that has the makings of an impact players. However, a serious shoulder injury robbed him of his 2013 season and has brought about questions heading into 2014.
Despite all the physical tools, Ausberry has not really seen the field for Oakland. Since coming into the league in 2011, Ausberry has totaled nice catches. In 2013, he suffered a chipped bone and torn ligaments in his shoulder which required surgery and kept him off the field for an entire season. He is recovered and participating in OTAs, but that injury setback was crucial to his development.
Raiders' head coach Dennis Allen has called for all the team's tight ends to step up. The team has some nice potential at the position in Mychal Rivera, David Ausberry and Nick Kasa. All three were draft picks, but lack some experience and polish. Rivera was a nice piece in the offense a season ago recording 38 receptions and four touchdowns. Despite the talent, Allen needs to see more.
“That’s a position right there where, again, like I said, there are a lot of young players and nobody is 100 percent established in that room,” Allen said of the tight ends. “We’re looking for some of those guys to step up. I think they’ve done a nice job throughout this offseason program of trying to get better. We’ll continue to work with them on through training camp and we’ll see where we’re at.”
Ausberry has the ability to become that player to step up. In the limited action, Ausberry has shown flashes of highlight reel plays. In 2012, Ausberry threw a Miami Dolphins defender off him on a big gain. It was a remarkable play and showed what he is capable of. Now, Ausberry will have to show that consistency in the offseason to improve. His development through the offseason is crucial to the Raiders.
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