The Oakland Raiders lost a very vital piece of their offense this offseason. Jared Cook lead the team in receiving yards (896) last season, but now finds himself on the New Orleans Saints. Before the Amari Cooper trade at the 2018 deadline, Cook was Derek Carr’s favorite target. After the trade, Cook became Carr’s life support. Every time Carr appeared to need a bailout, Cook always found space for him.
With Cook leaving the Bay Area for the Gulf Coast, Carr and the Raiders need someone to step up. Fortunately, the Raiders have no shortage of Jared Cook replacement candidates.
Currently, the Raiders have five tight ends on staff. Paul Butler, Derek Carrier, and Darren Waller all return to the team while Foster Moreau and Luke Willson will be competing to play their first snaps as Raiders.
From the returners, there is not much experience between them. Nevertheless, there is a game-winning touchdown amongst them. In Week 14 of the 2018 season, Carr fired a heater right between the numbers on Carrier’s jersey, caught with little effort.
Even though at that point in the season, there were not many standout receiving options for Carr to choose from, seeing who he chose to throw to in crunch time could give fans a clue with who might be starting this season.
As we have seen, it is not always about who played last season. There are countless variables that factor into who starts, and one major factor is reaching/raising one’s potential.
One player who has been rising to his full potential is Darren Waller. Waller stands 6’6” and weighs in at 255 pounds. Waller is certainly a behemoth to the average man, but Waller is also taller than the average height at his position by three inches
Not only is Waller a physically gifted individual, he is also shining in training camp. If all things continue the way they are headed, Waller should start.
To add to the jumble, the team drafted Foster Moreau, a blocking specialist tight end from Louisiana State University.
Not only did the Raiders draft a tight end, they also signed veteran tight end Luke Willson. Willson will not blow you away with his stats, but over his six-year career, he has averaged 17 catches for about 200 yards per season.
The Raiders will not take five tight ends into the regular season. With only four weeks until Week 1, expect some cuts to be made. Tight end is one of the most crowded positions the Raiders have, which could lead us to a very contentious preseason.