The Oakland Raiders have undergone a minor transformation at this position since head coach Norv Turner came aboard in January 2004. The Raiders traded Doug Jolley in the offseason to the New York Jets for the 26th overall pick in the draft.
Oakland drafted Jolley in 2002 in the second round. Jolley had the best rookie season among tight ends that year that were not named Jeremy Shockey (New York Giants). Jolley, however, did not enhance his success from his rookie season. The fact that Jolley did not progress to the Raiders' liking as a blocker perhaps led to their decision to trade him.
Teyo Johnson, who was a second-round draft pick in 2003, and Courtney Anderson, who was a seventh-round draft pick in 2004, are the two tight ends the Raiders will count on heavily. Given Oakland's desire to run the ball, one might expect to see two tight end sets on occasion.
Johnson found himself in the coaching staff's doghouse in the first half of the season because he was not demonstrating the work ethic the team felt a player of his potential should give. Johnson, who dropped to fourth on the depth chart, got back into the good graces of the coaching staff in the second half of the season. Since Johnson left Stanford after his sophomore season, he would essentially be a rookie this season.
Anderson, who caught 13 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown, showed solid promise before a knee injury curtailed his season after nine games. The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Anderson provides the size and blocking skills the Raiders like.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com