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Raiders Mailbag: The rookies are off to the races at OTAs

Curtis Groth asks:

"How is Tre Tucker looking in OTA's? How will they use him?"

It's yet to be determined what Tre Tucker's role will be on this team, but things look promising for him thanks to his versatility.

The Silver and Black chose the receiver in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, having compiled 1,426 receiving yards and eight touchdowns at the University of Cincinnati. Tucker, who ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, boasts speed and quickness that could also make him an asset on special teams. The former Ohio high school wrestler averaged nearly 25 yards per kick return in college with two kick returns for touchdowns.

"[W]hen we evaluated Tre coming out, first of all, Tre's a captain," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said last week. "He's an extremely bright guy, hard worker, impacted them in the kicking game and offensively. And again, is a guy that can run, really run. You take a guy like that and there's a number of ways that he could factor. Played on the coverage teams at Cincinnati and there's a lot of things that he did that maybe didn't show up in the stat sheets. But productive on offense, productive in the return game, productive in the coverage units, adds an element of speed and toughness."

Like I previously stated, it's hard to determine where and how much he'll be used while he's still getting accustomed to the next level. Nevertheless, his skill set would best serve him as a slot receiver and kick returner – which I'm prepared to see him get reps at as offseason training progresses.

Gary Reeves from Kentucky asks:

"How is Michael Mayer looking?"

I'm not trying to put any expectations on Michael Mayer, but he's looked like a stud so far.

Coming out of Notre Dame, he was widely regarded as the top tight end in the 2023 class, yet for reasons unknown, he was the third tight end selected and fell in the lap of the Raiders. He was a First Team AP All-American and John Mackey Award (nation's top tight end) finalist in 2022, while leading the Fighting Irish in receptions (67) and receiving yards (809).

When I saw him step on the field during OTAs, his size stood out. With his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame, he could easily be mistaken for a defensive lineman. But once he's in action, he has the route running ability and short area quickness of a wide receiver.

Mayer finds himself in a great situation, surrounded by productive veteran tight ends such as Pro Bowler Austin Hooper and O.J. Howard. McDaniels also has a track record of finding different ways to utilize his tight ends within his offensive scheme. Keep an eye on this young man following OTAs with Training Camp and preseason around the corner.

Angelo Simao from California asks:

"What was done to improve the offensive line?"

The construction of the offensive line looks familiar to what we saw last season. However it appears there will be ample competition at a few spots.

Returning players include Kolton Miller, Alex Bars, Andre James, Dylan Parham and Jermaine Eluemunor. All of these players are working to continually up their game, especially Parham whose coming off a 2022 PFWA All-Rookie Team. However, there may still be heavy competition at both guard spots with Netane Muti, Jordan Meredith and undrafted rookie McClendon Curtis factored in.

As for the two tackle positions, Miller and Eluemunor had their best career seasons in 2022. They'll have to compete with Brandon Parker, who has 32 career starts for the Raiders, Justin Herron and second-year standout Thayer Munford Jr.

View the best photos from the first week of the Las Vegas Raiders' OTAs at Intermountain Health Performance Center.

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