Oakland Raiders

Raiders training camp newcomers: Tight ends

Raiders tight end Clive Walford (88) catches a ball as tight end Mychal Rivera (81) looks on during minicamp at the team’s training facility in June in Alameda.
Raiders tight end Clive Walford (88) catches a ball as tight end Mychal Rivera (81) looks on during minicamp at the team’s training facility in June in Alameda. The Associated Press

From high-profile additions to NFL journeymen, The Bee provides a primer to the new players jockeying for position in training camp. Get to know the new faces at two position groups each day for both the 49ers and Raiders. Rosters are cut to 75 players Sept. 1 and 53 players Sept. 5.

Mychal Rivera had career bests for receiving yards (534) and receptions (58) last season. He may be pushed by rookie Clive Walford for the starting spot.

Former Buffalo Bill Lee Smith gives the team size at the position, but not a receiver to stretch the defense.

Key returners: Mychal Rivera, Brian Leonhardt

The newcomers

Gabe Holmes | 6-foot-5 | 254 pounds

Experience: Rookie (Purdue)

Last year: Caught 17 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns for the Boilermakers.

The skinny: Injuries have hindered him the past two seasons and could be a concern. When healthy, Holmes has the ability to make difficult catches look easy, according to NFL.com.

Lee Smith | 6-foot-6 | 265 pounds

Experience: Five years (Marshall)

Last year: Had seven catches for 42 yards and a touchdown for the Buffalo Bills.

The skinny: According to NFL.com, he’s capable of finding holes in zone coverage, but does not possess the deep speed needed to threaten a defense vertically. The site also said Smith “is a great blocker who plays angry.”

Clive Walford | 6-foot-4 | 258 pounds

Experience: Rookie (Miami)

Last year: Had a career-high 44 catches for 676 yards and seven touchdowns for the Hurricanes.

The skinny: According to ESPN.com, which sees him as the likely starter, Walford “was terrific in the OTA session and Raiders believe he has a chance to become a top receiving tight end in time.”

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