*Update: I really nailed this one! Hours after I posted this Kevin Boss became an Oakland Raiders.
At this point, I really doubt that free agent Kevin Boss is going to be on the 2011 Oakland Raiders. He was in town on Wednesday, and reportedly had dinner with the club and stayed well into the evening. However, he must have slipped out of town since then, and I have not seen or heard of any reports that the Raiders are still negotiating with him. There is also this Jerry McDonald on Twitter:
"From what I'm hearing, Kevin Boss acquisition is more likely NOT to happen than to happen."
Okay, so let's move to the next candidates, and this is not an aspiring list.
Bo Scaife: 6'3 - 249 lbs. - Age: 30
Scaife is widely regarded as the second best tight end on the market. I do not see him being a player on the Raiders. He is a receiving tight end, but he is not that fast. Here is his scouting assessment from ESPN:
"Scaife is an undersized tight end that has excellent receiving skills and a good feel for the passing game. In 2010 he played in 14 games, starting 13 and finished with 36 receptions for 318 yards and four touchdowns. He is definitely more of a receiving tight end than a blocking one but will show some effort to get in the way as a finesse blocker in space. He lacks the speed to be a consistent threat in the vertical passing game but does a good job of reading coverages and finding the soft spots in zone coverage. He has soft, natural hands that can pluck the ball away from his body and is quick to put the ball away and turn upfield to run after the catch."
Reggie Kelly: 6'4 - 257 lbs. - Age: 34
Check out ESPN's scouting report:
Reggie Kelly very well could be on the Raiders' radar. He is going to bring much to the passing game, but he catches well enough that teams have to be aware of him. More importantly, he is solid blocker.
"Kelly has been a solid starter for the Bengals since joining the team in 2003. He isn't utilized much in the passing game and makes his biggest contribution as a blocker. He doesn't offer big-play ability or run-after-the-catch upside, but rarely drops passes and is quick to secure the football. He is light on his feet as a blocker and excellent at sustaining his blocks in both the run and passing games. Kelly is an experienced veteran who brings stability to the tight end position, but isn't an impact player."
Evan Moore: 6'6 - 247 lbs. - Age: 26
Moore's height makes him an interesting redzone target, but he is really going to bring little else. Also, I don't see him as having the kind of athleticism that will land him with the Raiders. ESPN brings another scouting report:
"Moore has seen limited playing time in his first two years in the league. Moore is a tall, lean-built player with deceptive athleticism. He runs well for his size and shows good balance and body control for his dimensions. He has improved his route running and shows reliable hands on short and intermediate patterns. He doesn't have great quickness or speed to stretch interior zones but is a big target who has the potential to develop. He doesn't show much power at the point of attack as a run blocker but can wall off to set the edge. Moore has raw tools to develop but also limitations as both a run blocker and target in the passing game."
Summary: Of the above group, I would most like to see Kelly. With the lack of a real difference making receiving threat available, the Raiders pass game will be best served to bring in someone that can help this suspect offensive line pass block.
Except for a pass here or there to keep the defense honest, the Raiders should just forget about the tight end in the passing game, and use the big chunk of targets that were going Zach Miller's way to a deep stable of talented pass catching running backs.