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2012 Raider draft radar: Tight end

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Missouri Tigers tight end Michael Egnew participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine
Missouri Tigers tight end Michael Egnew participates in a catch and run drill during the NFL Combine

Reggie McKenzie made it no secret he would like to add a tight end to compete with the three current tight ends on the team. There is certainly a need for it as the only tight end. The team let former starting tight end Zach Miller leave as a free agent last off season, replaced him with free agent Kevin Boss and then cut him for salary cap reasons.

Now the only tight end on the roster with any kind of experience is Brandon Myers and he is nowhere near starting quality. David Ausberry is being talked about as a potential future star but there has yet to be any proof of that. The last tight end is Richard Gordon who is a blocking tight end and played much of last season as a fullback.

The team signed free agent basketball player Andre Hardy but being that he hasn't played football since high school, it is safe to say he is a developmental prospect at very least. The Raiders would like to bring in a young tight end who can compete for a starting job right now. Here are a few that may fit the criteria the Raiders are currently looking for.

Michael Egnew, Missouri Round 3

The 6-5, 250 pound tight end is expected to be off the board by the time the Raiders pick at the end of the third. I also believe it may be too high for the Raiders to pick a tight end with there being greater needs. But if McKenzie is to be believed when he says "best player available" and Egnew is still there, it makes sense. He is considered the second best receiving tight end in this draft behind Coby Fleener of Stanford. As a junior in 2010, he caught 90 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns in 13 starts. His production went down as a senior with some shoddy quarterback play but he was still able to catch 50 passes for 523 yards and five touchdowns. He is a capable blocker and ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the combine.

Ladarius Green, Louisiana Lafayette Round 4

This small school standout has had decent numbers during his college career. Most impressive is his yards per catch which averaged out to 14.8 yards per catch including 18 ypc as a junior and 16.7 ypc as a sophomore. At 6-5, 237 pounds, he doesn't yet have the mass to be a functional NFL tight end but he has the frame to gain weight and his upside is tremendous. At this point he would probably require a year of development both physically and talent wise before he shows his real potential. He ran a 4.65 40 yard dash at the combine.

James Hanna, Oklahoma: Round 6

Another developmental prospect with a lot of upside. Hanna has the catching abilities necessary, he just needs to add weight for blocking assignments and work on his route running skills. He ran a 4.65 40 yard dash at the combine.

Undrafted free agent

David Paulson, Oregon: 6-3, 243

Lamont Bryant, Morgan State: 6-5, 225 (4.45 40 yard dash)

Also See Raider draft radar for: RB I WR I OT I OG I OC I TE I DE I DT I ILB I OLB I CB

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