One name that flew under the radar a bit — that shouldn’t have — is that of Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera.
According to Raiders beat writer Scott Bair, Rivera should’ve been considered the team’s offensive rookie of the year in 2013.
Rivera caught 38 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie campaign. Those are pretty solid numbers for a rookie tight end.
Check out how those numbers compare to the rookie seasons of some of the recent greats.
Tony Gonzalez — 33 receptions — 368 yards — 2 TD
Jimmy Graham — 31 receptions — 356 yards — 5 TD
Rob Gronkowski — 42 receptions — 546 yards — 10 TD
Jason Witten — 35 receptions — 347 yards — 1 TD
Vernon Davis — 20 receptions — 265 yards — 3 TD (played in only 10 games)
Obviously there’s no way to tell how Rivera will pan out, but as you can see his rookie numbers are very comparable to some guys that turned out to be pretty good.
While Rivera might not turn out to be as good as these guys, the Raiders are still counting on him to be a key component to the offense in 2014.
Here’s what Bair had to say about what the Raiders are expecting from Rivera this upcoming season.
Bair: Rivera must show improved blocking skill to become an every-down tight end. The Raiders are counting on him to be an active part of the passing game. Anything else would be a bonus.
Sixth round draft picks typically don’t turn out to be superstars, but the Raiders might have a budding one in Rivera.