<
>

Clive Walford has strong Miami legacy in his favor

The Oakland Raiders hope their third-round pick, tight end Clive Walford, can make an immediate impact as a rookie.

Walford, taken No. 68 overall, will have a chance to be a contributor right away. With a strong training camp and preseason, I wouldn't be shocked if Walford had a chance to unseat third-year starter Mychal Rivera. Rivera has 96 catches in two seasons, but Walford has a chance to be more dynamic.

Walford is the all-time reception record holder at Miami, a school that has been a tight end factory. Five tight ends have been drafted since 2000 from the school who have made an impact in the NFL. Let's take a look at each of their rookie seasons to guage perhaps what to expect from Walford in 2015 (see chart).

Summary: Most of these players took off in their second or third years. I could see Walford getting in the 40-50 catch range this season. If he develops quickly, he could thrive in the fast-pace offensive scheme of new coordinator Bill Musgrave. Walford can stretch the field and quarterback Derek Carr has the arm to find him. It is too soon to say Walford will have the NFL career impact that his recent Hurricane brethren has had, but I can easily see him rival the rookie season all but perhaps the one Shockey delivered.