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Last year, Raiders drafted two tight ends in one round. They took Colorado’s Nick Kasa with the first of four sixth round picks. Tennessee’s Mychal Rivera was the third selection of that sequence.
They hoped to develop both players and let the best man shine. Rivera’s rise was certainly faster. He had 38 receptions for 407 yards and four touchdowns last season. Kasa played every game, primarily on special teams. That was expected after he play defense for most of his time in college.
While Kasa remains an unknown commodity, head coach Dennis Allen recently included Rivera in a list of foundation pieces. With two young players in development and David Ausberry returning after a 2013 season lost to a shoulder injury, the Raiders hope they have a productive mix already on the roster.
Jeron Mastrud, last season’s primary blocking tight end in run situations, has not been re-signed and remains an unrestricted free agent.
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Who's here: Mychal Rivera, Nick Kasa, David Ausberry, Brian Leonhardt
Draft needs: The team’s interest in draftable tight ends should be minimal, unless they are a good blocker and could make a quick impact on special teams.
Good fits: Rivera seems set as the team’s primary pass-catching tight end, though internal competition could push him some.
The Raiders might look for a blocking tight end later in the draft if they’d like someone to add to the mix. Fresno State’s Marcel Jensen, projected as a sixth-round pick, fits that mold. Oregon’s Colt Lyerla could be a developmental project even later on.