2. Austin Hooper, TE
Since his second Pro Bowl appearance back in 2019 with the Atlanta Falcons, tight end Austin Hooper has been average at best, in terms of production. Each of the last three seasons, Hooper has not topped 450 receiving yards.
Now on just a 1-year deal with the Raiders, Hooper currently occupies the starting tight end spot. However, that could soon change. Las Vegas drafted Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer in the second round this year, and the rookie will be pushing hard to start during training camp.
Mayer came off of two phenomenal seasons before entering the NFL Draft. In 2021, he caught 71 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Last season, Mayer totaled 67 catches for 809 yards and nine scores. He came into this year's draft as arguably the second-best tight end in the class behind Dalton Kincaid.
This offense needs a legitimate weapon at the position after seeing Darren Waller head out of town via trade, and Mayer is far more likely to be that guy than Hooper. The younger, stronger Mayer provides a big target who can also be a huge factor in blocking. His ability to shine in both aspects of his position should give him an edge, while Hooper is fighting for his job.