Oakland Raiders no longer same old losing franchise

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May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tight ends coach Bobby Johnson (right) with tight ends Terrell Pinson (44), Gabe Holmes (82) and Clive Walford (88) at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End

If Mychal Rivera is the Raiders’ “pass-catching tight end” many love to call him, no wonder they were so bad on third down last year. He doesn’t consistently get open or challenge a defenses down the field. And he sure isn’t the best of blockers so the Raiders got themselves a steal in the third round in Clive Walford.

Walford is the best rookie tight end as his numbers are better and he’s a better blocker than Maxx Williams. In fact, his numbers in college are better than all the great tight ends that came out of Miami, including Jimmy Graham. Walford is a great route-runner that can consistently get open and challenge the defense downfield.

He’s also a solid blocker so defenses won’t know the Raiders are passing like they do with Rivera in the game. Walford was the star of the Raiders’ offseason program but he’s out with a hamstring pull now. But topping guys like Kellen Winslow II, Jeremy Shockey and Graham in college tells you he’ll be a top tight end and upgrade over Rivera.

Next: Receivers