For the second straight round, the Oakland Raiders appear to be sticking strictly to their board, drafting two guys who do not fill some of their bigger needs. While the team still needs to upgrade their pass rush and have yet to have found a starting right guard, they have drafted a run defending defensive end and now a tight end. With Mario Edwards in the second round, the Raiders got a guy with a lot of question marks. In the third round, the Raiders found themselves a very good player in Clive Walford.
Oakland previously had a blocking tight end in Lee Smith and a pass catching tight end in Mychal Rivera. The problem is, everyone knew the Raiders had a blocking tight end and a catching tight end. In Walford, the Raiders get a very good player who is probably the most complete tight end in the draft. Walford will immediately make an impact in the passing game and Derek Carr is going to love him. He doesn’t have elite speed but he has enough speed to be a threat down the seam while also producing through underneath routes.
He was solid and consistent through three of his four years of college. He was not used a lot as a freshman, but in both his sophomore and junior seasons he had more than 450 yards and had six touchdowns combined. In his senior year he improved a bit in terms of yards with 676 and broke out in the touchdown department with seven.
But unlike most tight end threats, Walford is actually a pretty good blocker. While Rivera has to come off of the field on third down and in two tight end sets, Walford can stay in and block or go run a route. He will come in and start immediately and will help Carr with his development by giving him someone to lean on. Early in the draft, that has been the theme for the Raiders, help Carr. With Amari Cooper in the first and now Walford in the third, the Raiders have made big upgrades to their passing game.