In an interview on Raiders.com, Oakland Raiders Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson stated that the tight end competition is down to two players. David Ausberry was in the lead to be the starter, but he injured his shoulder in the New Orleans Saints game. Now it’s down to Richard Gordon and Jeron Mastrud.
Olson stated, “We were starting to clear that up (the tight end position). We felt like David Ausberry was having a good football camp, and now, you know again with Richard Gordon in there and Jeron Mastrud. They’re in the battle for the number one spot. We like the emergence of our young tight ends. It’s good to get Nick Kasa back. We like the young tight ends and how they’ve come along, but we’ll take a good look at Richard Gordon and Jeron Mastrud this week.”
Gordon was selected by the Raiders in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He is a player who looks the part of a prototypical tight end, but he lacked the consistency of catching the ball. He has shown the ability to be a very good run blocker for the Raiders, but he has dropped a lot of passes. He must convince the coaches that he can be versatile as well as improve his ability to catch the ball.
Mastrud has had a journeyman type career in the NFL since 2010. He was originally picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. He has spent most of his time on the practice squads of the Buccaneers (2010), New England Patriots (Only one day with Pats in 2010), and Miami Dolphins (2010-2012). The highlight of his career was when he made the 53-man roster for the Dolphins on September 21, 2010. His NFL debut was as a reserve for the Dolphins on September 26th of 2010 against the New York Jets. However, Mastrud has been impressing the coaching staff of the Oakland Raiders. So much so, that he has beat out Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa, two players that were drafted by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft.
With the last two games of the pre-season on the horizon, it is time for either Gordon of Mastrud to step-up and separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Head Coach Dennis Allen has been wanting to see one of his tight ends move ahead of the pack. The game against the Chicago Bears on Friday, August 23rd, will be a good test for both players. Maybe all of Raider Nation will be able to see the emergence of the next great Raiders tight end.