Despite the significant loss of Darren Waller through the trade with the New York Giants, the Las Vegas Raiders remain optimistic about their tight end position in the upcoming 2023 season. Notably, one of their most impactful moves during the offseason was acquiring the No. 100 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which they wisely utilized to select Tre Tucker, a promising wide receiver from Cincinnati. This strategic decision demonstrates the Raiders’ commitment to bolstering their offensive arsenal and suggests that they have a plan in place to compensate for Waller’s absence. Consequently, while Waller’s departure undoubtedly leaves a void, the Raiders are determined to ensure that their tight end position remains formidable and formidable in the approaching season.
In a bold move during the NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders traded up to secure the talented tight end Michael Mayer from Notre Dame. Renowned for his exceptional performance and unrivaled productivity in college football, Mayer emerged as the standout player in his position and was highly regarded among the 2023 NFL Draft prospects. Although he unexpectedly fell to the second round, the Raiders wasted no time in seizing the opportunity to acquire him with the second pick on Day 2.
Mayer’s seamless transition to the professional level is anticipated, given his impressive size and versatile skill set. As a rookie, he is poised to assume the role of TE1 under the guidance of coach Josh McDaniels. With his talent and potential, Mayer is expected to make an immediate impact and contribute significantly to the Raiders’ offensive success. The team has high hopes for his rookie season, foreseeing a productive and promising future for this exceptional tight end.
The addition of both Michael Mayer and Austin Hooper to the Raiders’ tight end position provides them with a strong and reliable duo. While Darren Waller has been highly productive and Foster Moreau has excelled as a backup, Mayer and Hooper offer a formidable safety net for Jimmy Garoppolo, who is set to take on the starting quarterback role for the Raiders.
Mayer, with his exceptional college performance and potential, brings a fresh and dynamic presence to the team. His size and skill set make him a premier target in the passing game, while also being valuable in blocking situations. Hooper, on the other hand, brings experience and proven ability to the position, having had success in his previous stints with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.
The Raiders return two young tight ends fighting for a spot on roster in Jesper Horsted and Cole Fotheringham
The Raiders have not only added Mayer and Hooper to their tight end position but also have two young players in Jesper Horsted and Cole Fotheringham competing for a roster spot.
Horsted had an impressive showing in last year’s Training Camp, earning a spot on the 53-man roster. While primarily utilized in run blocking and special teams, he managed to play in a career-high 15 games for the Silver and Black. His ability to contribute in multiple facets of the game made him a valuable asset to the team.
Fotheringham, an undrafted free agent signing from Utah, spent last season on the practice squad. During his college career, he appeared in 38 games and recorded 52 receptions for 526 yards and three touchdowns. While he may not have seen game action at the professional level yet, his college performance showcases his potential as a pass-catching tight end.
Both Horsted and Fotheringham bring different skill sets to the table, with Horsted excelling in blocking and special teams and Fotheringham showing promise as a receiving threat. Their competition for a roster spot adds depth and versatility to the Raiders’ tight end position.
Is OJ Howard likely to be the odd man out?
Howard, a 6-foot-6, 251-pound tight end, joins the Raiders after one season with the Houston Texans. Originally a first-round pick (19th overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the 2017 NFL Draft, Howard spent five seasons with the club (2017-21). He has appeared in 74 career games with 60 starts, totaling 129 receptions for 1,882 yards with 17 touchdowns.
Austin Hooper is a player Howard will be battling in training camp, as the two players will be looking to replace a role once filled by Darren Waller, who was traded to the New York Giants.
Last season, Howard recorded 10 receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He set career highs in 2019 with 34 receptions and 459 receiving yards.
Are they better at tight end?
The Raiders can expect their tight-end position to be solidified and productive. Mayer and Hooper provide a versatile set of skills that can elevate the team’s offensively and serve as reliable options for Garoppolo as he takes on the starting quarterback role. I believe The Raiders have strengthened their tight-end position which seems unthinkable trading away a talent like Waller but not only have they gotten younger at the position they also put themselves in a better position financially with Mayer being on a rookie deal. Darren Waller was also very injury prone in the recent past which also played a role in my assessment of the raider’s tight end room improving.