September 29, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Tennessee Volunteers tight end Mychal Rivera (81) is tackled by Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Branden Smith (1) during the second quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Review: Getting To Know Tight End Mychal Rivera

In a continuing effort to familiarize Raider Nation with the brand new faces of the Oakland Raiders, the focus switches to the offensive side of the ball.  I would like to introduce you to newly signed Tight End Mychal Rivera.

Rivera was born in Los Angeles, CA. He played high school football for Birmingham High School in Lake Balboa, and he caught 21 passes for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns as a senior in 2007.   He was rated a 3-star prospect, and ranked the 39th overall tight end by for the 2007 class.

Rivera initially signed with the Oregon Ducks for the 2008 season.  After he was asked to move to offensive line by Head Coach Chip Kelly, he requested and received a release from his scholarship.  For the 2009 season, he played for the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA, and he caught 32 passes for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns.

In January 2010, Rivera committed to the Tennessee Volunteers.  He was drawn to the school by the emphasis on tight ends in the offensive scheme of newly hired Head Coach Derek Dooley.  He played in all 13 games in the 2010 season.

Rivera started all 12 games for the Volunteers in 2011.  Prior to the 2012 season, he was named to the Pre-Season All-SEC Third Team.  Rivera started in 10 of 12 games in 2012. He caught 36 passes for 562 yards and 5 touchdowns, and he broke the single-season team record set by Jason Witten for most receiving yards by a tight end.  He joined Reggie Harper as one of two Volunteer tight ends with more than 1,000 career receiving yards. Following the season, he was named All-SEC by both CBSSports and the SEC coaches, and All-SEC Second Team by the Associated Press.

Rivera is a beast at 6’ 3” and 245 pounds.  He should be able to handle his blocking assignments and offer a middle of the field threat when thrown the ball.  Comparatively to size and college statistics, he reminds me of a young Tony Gonzalez.  Wouldn’t that be a diamond in the rough if he turns out to be an all-star tight end?

Rivera will be battling it out with David Ausberry, Richard Gordon, and Nick Kasa, for the #1 and #2 tight end positions.  We all know the struggles the Oakland Raiders have had at the tight end position.  With the loss of Brandon Meyers (Signed with the New York Giants), and no clear successor, the competition will be an interesting battle to watch when training camp begins.

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Tags: Brandon Meyers Chip Kelly David Ausberry Mychal Rivera New York Giants Nick Kasa Oregon Ducks Richard Gordon Tennessee Volunteers Tony Gonzalez

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