Next up in our 2012 vs 2013 series we compare the tight ends. It was one of the positions this off-season which needed the most attention, but did it get that much-needed attention? Let's take a look.
2012: Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, Mickey Shuler
2013: David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, Nick Kasa, Mychal Rivera, Jeron Mastrud, Brian Leonhardt
The biggest move that was made at tight end for the Raiders was the move that was NOT made - re-signing Brandon Myers. He was the team's leading receiver last season but Reggie McKenzie didn't make re-signing him a priority so he parlayed his 79 catches for 806 yards into a nice free agent contract with the New York Giants. This is an interesting twist of fate because in 2011, Myers had been the back up for former Giant Kevin Boss when he signed with the Raiders and then replaced Boss last season when he became a cap casualty of the new regime.
Myers had been a backup for his entire career until last season when he was essentially named the default starter. He was always seen as a good blocker but a mediocre receiver which made it all the more strange that last season he put up such gaudy receiving numbers but his blocking left much to be desired.
Even though Myers wasn't considered a world beater, second-year tight ends David Ausberry and Richard Gordon did nothing to unseat him for the job. Now it appears one of them will be the new default starter - most likely Ausberry. The two of them have combined for 12 career catches and one touchdown.
The Raiders answer to their issue at tight end was the exact same answer the Raiders have had for many years - draft two of them late in the same draft. Nick Kasa was drafted in the sixth round this year just like Gordon was in 2011 and both are seen as blocking tight ends. Mychal Rivera was drafted late in the sixth round this year, Ausberry was drafted in the seventh round in 2011 and both are receiving type tight ends.
That's four tight ends with the hopes that three of them can pan out. Ausberry and Gordon have yet to show up and there's no way to know whether Kasa and/or Rivera will break out as rookies or if recent tight end draft pick history will repeat itself. We just don't know.
Either a decent veteran free agent signing or higher draft pick would have been more on par with the kind of attention this position needed. That's not the attention it got. And handing the ball to the backup again while adding some late round rookies doesn't engender a lot of confidence.