Can David Ausberry of the Oakland Raiders Become the Next Antonio Gates?

Elijah Abramson@@BasesandBasketsCorrespondent IIIJuly 2, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 11:  David Ausberry #86 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates with Alex Parsons #65 of the Oakland Raiders after he scored a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at O.co Coliseum on August 11, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There is no denying that the Oakland Raiders will go into the 2012-13 NFL season with a high-octane offense.

With Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden and a lightning-quick receiving core leading the way, Oakland should be able to put points on the board.

The biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball is at the tight end position.

It will be a battle between four-year veteran Brandon Meyers and the former USC wide receiver. Meyers brings a steadier blocking presence whereas Ausberry can do more in the passing game.

While we should expect to see Meyers, especially in run situations, David Ausberry will be given ample opportunity to show that he can play with Kevin Boss now playing for Kansas City.

According to NFL Draft Scout, Ausberry ran a 4.48 40-yard dash on pro day. Not bad for a 6'4" guy who weighs nearly 250 pounds.

So like many other players on the Raiders roster, Ausberry has the physical ability to succeed in the NFL. His combination of size and athleticism is exactly what a team looks for in a TE, and Ausberry fits the bill.

While Raider fans definitely shouldn't expect an All-Pro type year from the second-year tight end, there is reason for optimism that the TE position won't be completely devoid of production.

In fact, with Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore stretching the field and Darren McFadden keeping opposing defenses honest in playing the run, Ausberry should feel no pressure to go out of his comfort zone.

He should be an effective target in the red zone just like rookie wideout Juron Criner and be able to contribute at least a couple catches a game.

Nothing Antonio Gates-esque just yet, but the Raiders just need a solid option, which David Ausberry will provide.

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