Position outlook: Tight ends

This is one story in a series that focuses on position outlooks for the Oakland Raiders. Today, we focus on tight ends:

Looking back: The Oakland Raiders brought back tight end Roland Williams not long after Norv Turner was hired as the head coach. The premise behind bringing back Williams was because his blocking prowess would help the offense's running game, which Turner's offense emphasizes, as well as his leadership. Williams played for the Raiders in 2001-2002 before being released after multiple knee surgeries.

Teyo Johnson, who was a second-round draft choice in 2003, spent the first half of the season in the doghouse as the coaching staff felt his work ethic was lacking. Johnson slid to fourth on the depth chart in training camp and was inactive for the first seven games. Doug Jolley remained the starter and Courtney Anderson, who was a seventh-round pick, ended up getting the playing time the Raiders thought Johnson would get.

Anderson showed promise in catching 13 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown before his season ended with injury. That opened the door for Johnson, who showed the promise in the second half that the coaches thought he would display.

Jolley had a decent year receiving (27 catches, 313 yards, two touchdowns) but has not progressed as a blocker.

Looking ahead: Williams has value as a positive veteran leader but one has to wonder if he is damaged goods after multiple knee surgeries that continue to nag him. Williams was not much of factor and could be a salary cap casualty.

One has to wonder if the Raiders have room for Johnson, Jolley and Anderson. Jolley was rumored to be on the trading block at one point during the 2004 season. The knock on Jolley is that he is receiver trapped in a tight end's body.

Jolley had a solid rookie year in 2002 but has regressed slightly since that time. Anderson has a fine combination of speed, size and hands and plus he is the best blocker of that threesome. It is still not known if Johnson is starter material but he is definitely, at worst, a good No. 2 man.

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

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