Why Oakland Raiders Should Expand TE Clive Walford’s Role on Offense

The Oakland Raiders can upgrade their passing and ground attack by expanding tight end Clive Walford’s role on offense.

Through five weeks, the Raiders have been selective with utilizing their third-round pick. Head coach Jack Del Rio should ramp up Walford’s snap count after he exhibited decent run-blocking skills and the ability to catch the deep ball in Week 5.

Walford’s rookie campaign started off slowly due to an injury during training camp. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 22 snaps in the first preseason game and sat out for the remainder of the exhibition.

According to San Francisco Chronicle writer Vic Tafur, Walford made strides on the practice field prior to the Raiders' Week 3 matchup against the Cleveland Browns:

Nonetheless, the Raiders remained conservative with Walford’s snaps.


Run Blocking

In Week 5, the rookie tight end took the field for 26 snaps, the most he’s played all season in a single game, narrowly exceeding tight end Mychal Rivera’s 24 snaps. In a small sample, Walford showed capability in sealing off the edge for ball-carriers:

He outperformed the other two tight ends in run blocking by a significant margin. In limited duty, the rookie tight end has set the edge for the backfield as a solid pillar on the outside.

According to Football Outsiders, Oakland only runs 13 percent of its carries toward the edges. Running back Latavius Murray has the speed to bounce routes outside, but clearly, the Raiders don’t trust the bookend blockers to hold contain. 

Walford’s ability to hold blocks can help Murray find space on the outside and add variety to offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s designed rushing attack.


Red-Zone Threat

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