The Las Vegas Raiders turned a lot of heads when they signed Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten. Why would a team with two young, exciting tight ends sign a player like Witten? Well, apparently they still weren’t content. According to SportsTrust Advisors, the Raiders are signing Nick O’Leary.
Over his five year career, O’Leary has played for three teams before joining the Raiders. He was most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he started three games for them. He also suited up for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in the past. O’Leary isn’t a huge threat in the passing game as he’s only accumulated 668 receiving yards over his entire career.
In college, O’Leary was a stud. He won the John Mackey Award for the NCAA’s best tight end in 2014 and put up really strong numbers at Florida State. He fell to the sixth round of the 2015 draft and hasn’t seen the same kind of production at the professional level. Raiders tight end coach Frank Smith has proven to be a wizard at developing the position. If O’Leary makes the team, he’ll be in a good situation to succeed.
Raiders Are Loaded at Tight End
O’Leary joins Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Jason Witten and Derrek Carrier in the Raiders’ tight end room. The team is set at the top as Waller quickly developed to one of the three best receiving tight ends in the NFL last season. He has some work to do in the blocking game, but he’s one of the most unique and exciting playmakers in the NFL. Waller will no doubt be the number one guy heading into 2020.
It’s also easy to believe that Moreau will be the number two guy. As a rookie, he was a pleasant surprise. He didn’t put up a lot of receiving yards, but he became a reliable red-zone option as he scored five touchdowns. He’s coming off a nasty injury but appears to be getting better. Moreau could have a bigger role in the offense in 2020.
The third slot is where things get interesting. Witten is the likely favorite due to his status as one of the greatest to ever play the position. However, he’ll be 38 when the season starts and has already retired once. If he doesn’t stick around, Derek Carrier will probably be the favorite as he’s been with the team for a while now.
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Raiders Had a Lot of Tight Ends Last Offseason, Also
The fact that the Raiders have so many tight ends has already been mocked quite a bit. While it does seem like overkill, the team doesn’t have to keep all of them. Keep in mind, the team had five tight ends heading into last year’s training camp. That’s the same number they are at right now.
The roster can get inflated this time of year because the cut deadline is still months away. Once training camp is over, the tight end depth chart will likely only have three players left. Waller and Moreau are a lock to make it and Witten will probably take the last spot.