Projected Starter: Zach Miller
Finally! Zach Miller made a Pro Bowl. Few tight ends would have been as productive as Miller given the circumstances. It seems like every other week of his career, Miller is playing with a different quarterback. And just about every other year he’s got a whole new coaching staff and offense to learn. Still, Miller remains the most consistent offensive producer in Silver and Black sine he first came into the league as a second round pick back in ’07.
Of course there are a couple of concerns regarding Miller. For one he’s slowly starting to show the wear and tear of an NFL tight end. The last two seasons have seen Zach experience a list of injuries that have either slowed his production or kept him out of action. The other concern is even more alarming. Depending on what happens with the new CBA, Zach Miller might be free to walk. The Raiders placed the highest tender possible on Miller but that might mean next to nothing if the new CBA doesn’t recognize fourth year players as restricted free agents. Stay tuned to see how that shakes down.
Miller’s Stock Rating: A
Backup: Brandon Myers
As a running team the Raiders will often employ two-tight end sets. Therefore having two capable tight ends is essential. When the Raiders drafted Myers three years ago it was assumed he’d become the blocker allowing Miller to be more involved in the passing game. To the surprise of many, Myers should some real talent as a pass catcher in his first preseason. Problem was when he finally got the chance to start in place of Miller last season Myers showed little in terms of productivity. His biggest moment as a Raider remains the fumble he caused on special teams to help beat the Bengals as a rookie. Other than that there isn’t too much to say about Myers.
Myers’ Stock Rating: D
Potential Draftees: Virgil Green, Nevada; Jordan Cameron, USC
It’s no secret that Al Davis loves the workout warriors of the NFL Combine. One man that turned a lot of heads in Indianapolis this year was Nevada’s Virgil Green. As if his 4.54 40-yard dash wasn’t impressive enough, Green measured at an impressive 42½ inches on his vertical leap. However Green is very raw and needs to add a few pounds to be on the field for more than just passing downs. He’s projected to be a 3rd or 4th round pick. And should the Raiders pick him there is a chance he could be reunited with his college QB Colin Kaepernick.
Much like Green, Jordan Cameron’s stock shot up overnight thanks to a great showing at the combine. As a former Trojan, Cameron was already on Al’s radar. Though it should be noted he wasn’t very productive during his time at Southern Cal. Cameron has good size (6’5”/254 lbs) and is a natural athlete. He began his collegiate career playing hoops for BYU before transferring to SC to play football. Ever since Tony Gonzalez and later Antonio Gates took similar paths every team has been looking to find their own. If the Raiders think they’ve found theirs in Cameron they’ll have to use a 3rd or 4th round pick to acquire his services.
Overall Stock Rating for Silver and Black Tight Ends: C
Really this is all about Zach Miller. Until Jacoby Ford’s emergence last season, Miller was the only threat in the passing game opposing defenses had to be concerned with when facing the Raiders. Given Miller’s health concerns and his contractual limbo, the Raiders would be doing themselves a favor by drafting a tight end as both an insurance policy and as a potential contributor in the near future. Truth be told the Oakland offense just isn’t the same without Zach and losing him could be as detrimental a loss as any other man in Silver and Black.