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Raiders UDFA profile: TE Gabe Holmes

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Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The first thing that jumps out at you about Holmes is his size. This former basketball player is a formidable 6-5, 260 pounds. The issue is his production never matched up to his potential.

He has all the physical tools you want in a tight end. Along with his size, he ran a 4.7 40-yard-dash at his pro day which would have been good for third among tight ends at the combine.

As a junior he caught 25 passes for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns. That was a career best in catches and it had him entering his senior season in 2013 on the preseason Mackey Award watch list.

He looked poised to have a breakout season and he began the season right on track with 9 catches in the first two games. That promising season would end there as he suffered a wrist injury and was lost for the year. That start put him on pace for 54 catches for 414 yards over their entire 12-game season. With those numbers, he would have very likely been drafted last year.

Luckily he was granted another year of eligibility. This time without as great of results, putting up 17 catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns.

In a lot of ways, Holmes is reminiscent of former Raiders tight end David Ausberry. He always looks like he ready to break out and show his potential but never quite does it.

Ausberry switched to tight end from receiver so he was project from day one. Holmes didn't even start playing football until his sophomore year in high school. Both were derailed by injuries.

Holmes also suffered from something many under-the-radar players do - the offense he played in.

"Playing in two different offenses, I lined up a lot in the slot as a standup tight end," Holmes told The National Football Post. "I have strengths lining up in the slot and creating separation. I played in a pro-style offense, lining up tight or in the wing or in the slot. I feel like I can make plays. . . I haven't scratched my ceiling yet."

Here is what Purdue site Hammer and Rails had to say about that:

"At 6'5" 260 pounds [Holmes] always had the body for being a dominant player, but he rarely was. To be fair, the offense was terrible in his final two years plus he battled injuries. In his first three seasons he faced a quarterback carousel that included no less than five different starters (Justin Siller, Caleb TerBush, Rob Henry, Robert Marve, and Sean Robinson). There was never any consistency for him, as he played for seven different quarterbacks in five years."

If you want an example of a player didn't receive draft consideration due to lack of production in his college offense, look no further than Rod Streater who had 19 catches his senior season in a run first offense at Temple. That's just two more catches than Holmes had his senior season. And Streater eclipsed that total half way through his rookie season. Just food for thought.

Making the Raiders roster won't be easy. They have returning starter Mychal Rivera, free agent addition Lee Smith, and third round pick Clive Walford expected to be the three-man tight end rotation. Holmes will work to be the next option in case of injury. If he can show some more of his potential, a spot practice squad could be in the cards for him.