Raiders meet with South Carolina TE Justice Cunningham

Streeter Lecka

The Raiders met with the former SEC tight end. Could he be a late-round target for Oakland?

The Raiders recently met with former University of South Carolina TE Justice Cunningham. He is projected as a late-round selection but given the Raiders' lack of quality depth at tight end it's no surprise they are looking to bolster the TE position in the draft.

Cunningham was used mostly as a blocker in college. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, his quarterbacks were awful. Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw have debacled the SEC for many years now, besmirching coach Steve Spurrier's sterling record of developing quality passers. Neither of those guys will be joining the Rex Grossman "Screw It I'm Going Deep" club anytime soon. Also, despite having bad quarterbacks the Gamecocks have had good receivers lately including Alshon Jeffery and most recently the electrifying Ace Sanders. Tight end is not so much a position of importance in the Fun 'n Gun.

Cunningham isn't particularly tall or fast, measuring 6'3" and running a 4.8 forty time. He is very strong and can break tackles but isn't athletic enough to be a premier pass catcher like Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham have become. His strength is blocking and he is one of the best blocking tight ends in the country. He had a role somewhat similar to Richard Gordon except he was in on nearly every play and not solely utilized as a blocker. He has Gordon's level of blocking skills but is a far better receiver. His lack of size will hurt him but in a power running attack his blocking ability will be most beneficial.

Gordon is probably a Rouud 7 pick at best so it's not like any team will be taking a huge risk on him. He will most likely be brought in somewhere as a camp body and asked to compete for a job. Wherever he ends up, he will immediately be working with a better QB than he's ever had in his life so he may surprise with his consistency. Teams won't be wowed with him as a physical specimen but they will be impressed with his effort and toughness.


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