Arguably the most undecided position on this Raiders team has been the tight end position. The unofficial depth chart had Richard Gordon as the starter and has yet to change since it was initially released on August 7.
Through most of camp, the Raiders maintained a tight end had yet to distinguish himself as the number one guy. Today, Greg Olson revealed David Ausberry had won the job until he went down with a shoulder injury in the team's second preseason game last Friday. Now the choice for the job is undecided by becoming a bit more clear.
"Yeah, you know, we were starting to clear that up," said Olson. "We felt like David Ausberry certainly was having a good football camp and now... with Richard Gordon in there and Jeron Mastrud, they're in the battle for the number one spot. We like the emergence of our young tight ends. It was good to get Nick Kasa back but we like the young tight ends right now and how they've come along. But really we'll take a good hard look at Richard Gordon and Jeron Mastrud this week."
One of the more interesting things about this is it could mean Ausberry is out an extended period of time. He can't be placed on partial season IR or the PUP list so he would either be put on the shelf for the season or take up a roster spot while he recovers from his shoulder injury.
The more interesting thing about the battle between Gordon and Mastrud is the one who fails to secure the number one spot in Ausberry's absence may very well not make the team at all. The team is expected to keep three tight ends on the roster. If they keep both their drafted tight ends, that means either Gordon or Mastrud goes from potential starter to unemployed. Neither has a body of work to look back on which will tip the scales. Both have played two seasons. Gordon has three career catches and Mastrud has one career catch.
Mastrud and Gordon had both gotten time with the first team in the second preseason game. Expect more of that this week as they each fight to prove they deserve the number one job.