Not much went well for the Oakland Raiders in 2018. One position missing from the list of categories that performed below expectations was tight end. Granted, the Raiders did have Pro Bowler Jared Cook at the position, and Cook would be one of the brightest shining stars on the team.
With Cook gone, the Raiders must look for alternatives. The Raiders did not make a big-name tight end signing this offseason and waited until the 35th pick of the 4th round to draft Foster Moreau out of LSU.
Expectations remain high for the tight end position. Especially after watching Cook set career highs in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns, targets exist.
With the addition of Moreau, the Raiders employ Derek Carrier, Darren Waller, Moreau, and Luke Willson. The depth at the position is concerning, but the Raiders seem excited for working Waller out with the starters.
If Waller is getting first-team looks and Carrier is the only tight end on roster to have caught a touchdown pass from Derek Carr, where does Moreau stand?
Foster Moreau measures in at 6’6” and weighs in at 253 pounds, almost an ideal build for an NFL tight end. Moreau also finished in the top five tight ends at the NFL Combine in five different categories: 40-yard dash (4.66), bench press (22 reps), vertical jump, broad jump, and 20-yard shuffle.
Moreau’s athletic ability is clearly top-tier. Plus, his flexibility to shift from the line of scrimmage to the backfield helps. Moreau possesses incredibly high potential to succeed in the NFL.
But potential is not prominence, and Moreau still has much to build on before experiencing success. The 22-year-old found himself in a healthy amount of blocking situations at LSU and is more well-versed in run blocking than pass blocking, and the latter may still need work.
Despite fitting the ideal mold of tight end, Moreau did not see many red zone targets and recorded only six touchdowns in his collegiate career. However, he accumulated 46 catches for 629 yards in his junior and senior seasons at LSU.
One character-based tidbit about Moreau may hint at what the Raiders saw in him. In 2018, Moreau’s senior year, he wore #18 for the Louisiana State University Tigers. To many, the selection appeared as a simple number change, but LSU knew it meant so much more. The #18 jersey is reserved for players of the highest character and work ethic. There is no doubt this selection raised Moreau’s draft stock for the Raiders.
As far as overall expectations go, there is not much promising a breakout rookie year. Moreau is now the best tight end prospects the Raiders have and rushing a prospect to perform rarely succeeds.