Position outlook: Tight ends

This is one story in a series of position outlooks for the Oakland Raiders. Today, here's a look at tight ends:

Looking back: Doug Jolley went from rookie phenom to sporadically used in his second season. Jolley's number of receptions were virtually identical (32 in 2002 and 31 in 2003) but the receiving yardage dropped from 409 to 250.

Jolley played in 15 games last season but his playing time was inconsistent from one game to the next. Part of that reason was because the Raiders were more focused on running the ball in 2003 whereas in 2002 Oakland passed about 70 percent of the time.

Teyo Johnson, who was a second-round draft pick from Stanford, and journeyman O.J. Santiago became a bigger part of the offense, especially Santiago. Jolley and Johnson are both a work in progress with their blocking skills. Jolley was recruited by BYU as a quarterback while Johnson, who left school after his sophomore season, played wide receiver at Stanford. Santiago's forte, meanwhile, is his blocking.

Looking ahead: With Jolley and Johnson, the Raiders are pretty much set at tight end. Santiago, who is also a capable special teams performer, is eligible to be a free agent.

Santiago will probably look for work elsewhere but Oakland is likely to make an effort to bring him back.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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