Grading Raiders tight ends

Grading Raiders tight ends
January 11, 2013, 2:00 pm
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Brandon Myers was third on the team with four touchdown receptions this season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Editor's note: Insider Paul Gutierrez is reviewing the Raiders' 4-12 season by assigning grades to each position group. Up next, the tight ends…

Tight ends
Brandon Myers -- 79 catches, 105 targets, 806 yards, 10.2 average, 4 touchdowns
David Ausberry -- 7 catches, 12 targets, 92 yards, 13.1 average, 0 touchdowns
Richard Gordon -- 2 catches, 7 targets, 9 yards, 4.5 average, 1 touchdown

What was supposed to be a weakness after the departures in consecutive seasons of Zach Miller and Kevin Boss turned into a strength for the Raiders in 2012. Brandon Myers came out of relatively nowhere -- 32 total catches for a combined 250 yards without a touchdown catch in three seasons -- to become Carson Palmer's top security blanket. Myers, who also had four TD catches, led the Raiders in both receptions (an AFC-leading 79) and receiving yards (806) and it was the most receptions by a Raiders tight end since Todd Christensen had 95 catches in 1986, the most catches by a Raiders player since Jerry Rice had 92 in 2002. Only three other tight ends in the NFL had more catches and, garbage time or not, Myers' 36 fourth-quarter catches were tied with Detroit's Calvin Johnson for most in the final 15 minutes. Also, Myers tied Pro Football Hall of Fame four-time finalist Tim Brown's franchise record with 13 catches, for 130 yards, against Cleveland. Myers is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

Ausberry, meanwhile, showed flashes of his old wide receiver self in his athleticism and Gordon is a punishing blocker with soft hands. Both saw most of their time on special teams. Re-signing Myers should be high on general manager Reggie McKenzie's to-do list.

Grade: C