Oakland Raiders: Five dark horse players to make the 2014 roster

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November 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Nick Kasa (88) at the line of scrimmage during the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at O.co Coliseum. The Titans defeated the Raiders 23-19. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Kasa, Tight End 

A former defensive player who shifted to tight end in the end of his college career with Colorado before becoming one of the most productive pass catchers on the Buffaloes, Nick Kasa earned himself a spot in the National Football League out of nowhere after picking up a position in the NCAA and has an interesting upside because of that unfamiliarity with a position he has found initial success in.

A 6’6″ tight end who happens to weigh around 270 pounds, Kasa’s upside largely has to do with his size and his physicality that comes with it in bringing over his mentality as a defensive player to the tight end position. In one season at Colorado playing tight end as the team’s number one target, Kasa caught 25 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns, not that bad for a player who was recruited to the Pac-12 to play on the defensive line.

Kasa’s chances to make the Raiders roster largely will come down to run blocking, something that he could have an edge on more receiving-based tight ends in David Ausberry and Mychal Rivera who both should make the roster and get the majority of the snaps. However if there is a need for a run blocking specialist at the tight end position if Ausberry and Rivera can’t prove to the coaching staff that their ability at blocking linemen and linebackers won’t be a liability, Kasa’s chances on cracking the 53 man roster will skyrocket.

Regardless Raiders fans should expect Kasa to remain with the team at some capacity as he continues to learn the game, but he is another player on the fringe on offense that should be watched whenever he steps onto the field. Needing to make plays to show that he is learning and growing on offense as a pro, Kasa should be an intriguing tight end prospect once again for the Raiders when it comes to the Training Camp/Preseason.