With their first two picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Raiders addressed their two biggest needs selecting Amari Cooper and Mario Edwards Jr. With the addition of Miami tight end Clive Walford, the Raiders are again addressing a top need with a talented player.
6'4", 251 lbs
40-YD Dash: 4.79
Bench Press: 20 Reps
Vertical Jump: 35-Inches
Broad Jump: 120-Inches
2014: 44 REC, 676 YDS, 15.4 AVG, 7 TD
2013: 34 REC, 454 YDS, 13.4 AVG, 2 TD
2012: 25 REC, 451 YDS, 18.0 AVG, 4 TD
2011: 18 REC, 172 YDS, 9.6 AVG, 1 TD
Walford led all tight ends in yards per route run (3.26) according to Pro Football Focus. These numbers improved against power 5 teams as he led all tight ends with an average of 3.38 yards per route run.
Walford is also by far the best tight end in the slot as he lined up in the slot 50% of the tie and led all tight ends by a wide margin in yards per route run out of the slot (3.35).
One aspect of Clive Walford that really impresses me is that he returned to Miami for his senior season and improved on all of his weaknesses from 2013, the biggest being his drop rate. After dropping 10 passes from 2012-2013, Walford improved and his 4.35 drop rate percentage ranked eight best among tight ends in 2014.
The biggest concern scouts have with Walford is his run blocking. But with the right coaching, this can be improved fairly quickly.
How will Walford fit with the Raiders?
This was a great pick for the Raiders because they got a second round talent at a position of need in the third round. Some analysts including S&BP's Levi Damien consider Walford the best tight end in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is a great receiving tight end as he makes consistent catches, runs precise routes, and is a threat after the catch.
Walford with team up with Mychal Rivera to provide a one-two punch giving the Raiders multiple receiving tight ends that they can use at the same time creating mismatches. While Walford struggles in run blocking, the Raiders signed Lee Smith in free agency who is regarded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL.
Reggie McKenzie just keeps giving Derek Carr weapons and the offense is beginning to shape up nicely. At the end of the day, the Raiders got a second round talent in round three that will be a reliable receiving target for Carr.