Just like a lot of Raider fans, I was disappointed by seeing Zach Miller join Tom Cable in Seattle. I am happy that the Raiders did not pony up the money that the Seahawks gave him, but all of that is beside the point I'm trying to get at. The point I want to make is that I am starting to think that David Ausberry is a real possibility at tight end.
I've spent the last few hours researching Ausberry. Three things seem to be clear: he is very big, he is very athletic and he has very good hands. He played WR at USC, and some USC fans seem to think that he was not used in the right fashion. In his college career, he had 64 receptions for 700 yards and 7 TDs. That's very mediocre, but if he was truly not used correctly, then that explains a lot. If you look at some tape, he was pretty impressive when he did get his hands on the ball:
What a bruiser! He's so much larger than the opposing CBs, it makes me wonder why the USC coaching staff didn't slide him over to TE. If he was that successful while being guarded by CBs, imagine how he would fare when LBs tried to cover him. As I continued to dig, I started to think that the Raiders coaching staff shared my opinion.
After the draft, Hue Jackson had some very nice things to say about Ausberry, "He’s a really unique athlete. He has room for growth,” said Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson. “He could get up to 255, 260 and be an unbelievable tight end.”. Even Ausberry's college coach, Pete Carroll, had nice things to say, "David is a monster out there. He is so physical. He is hard to cover and hard to tackle and has big plays in him.”. Hell, he certainly looks like a tight end! Also, I read a report posted yesterday that said, "Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry has turned heads during the early going of training camp, flashing some playmaking ability... Ausberry could be a deep sleeper at TE if Zach Miller leaves for Seattle and he continues to build momentum in camp and the preseason. He has the natural receiving ability to be a big target for Jason Campbell right away.".
The only thing that worries me about Ausberry is his blocking ability. I couldn't find too much information about that aspect of his game. Other than that, I was very excited by what I saw from our seventh round pick.
So what do you think, Nation? Is Ausberry a legit possibility at tight end? If so, is it this season?