Raiders long-term outlook: Tight End

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders have a young group of tight ends that have shown some promise, but is there an All-Pro among them?

Halfway through this series on the Raiders future at certain positions, I am struck by how many positions don't need addressing when compared to the shape they were in when Reggie McKenzie took over as GM. The team is set at a lot of spots for the near and long-term future.

The spots I see that don't need any attention this offseason are: C, LG, RG, OLB, ILB, RB, DT, S. That's quite a nice position to be in, considering the Raiders will be in good cap shape next season as well and will be able to target specific players rather than try to get as much talent as possible into a variety of spots.

The position I'm addressing today is tight end. I am personally a big fan of Mychal Rivera. I think he can be a star in the league, but he still needs to develop further to get to where he needs to be. At his best he can be prime-year Jeremy Shockey, and at his worst he's just another guy. If the Raiders don't think he can fulfill his potential, he needs to be replaced and I'm not at all confident in the Raiders' current crop of scrub backups.

Some veterans who may be on the market are Jimmy Graham of New Orleans, Kyle Rudolph from the Vikings and Cleveland's Jordan Cameron. Graham has been pretty vocally upset with the Saints' franchise tag and he may want a change of scenery and to stick it to them. The Raiders getting him would be a serious coup, but he is exactly the sort of player who would make Derek Carr fulfill his potential and become a star. I'm all aboard the Carr train and whatever he needs to be at his best I will support wholeheartedly.

The next draft is a little shaky at tight end, but the one guy I see who can really make an impact is Florida State's Nick O'Leary. The grandson of famed golfer Jack Nicklaus, O'Leary is a freak athlete with amazing size and hands. He will be a superstar in the NFL no matter who takes him.

Hopefully Rivera steps up and becomes the guy I think he can be. If not, the Raiders will have to reload again at a spot where they've already spent too many picks. Let's hope tight end is the least of our worries going into next season.

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