Kasa began his college career as a defensive end, but switched to TE for his senior season — quite a successful move. He didn’t produce thrilling numbers with only 25 receptions, 391 yards and three touchdowns, but was primarily used as a blocker where he excelled in propelling the run-game. He also showed ability to line up in the slot on occasion and beat teams over the top.
Though having a limited sample size, Kasa impressed enough people in 2012 to garner good expectations. Draft Insider states Kasa “is a sensational developmental prospect expected to be plucked off the board in round four.” So it seems the Raiders may have found a steal in the sixth round.
Strengths: The reason Kasa was drafted was for his run-blocking, with David Ausberry and Richard Gordon being primarily catch-first TEs, Kasa’s run-game proficiency is a must for Oakland. With that, he is very strong. His 22 bench reps at the combine ranked him third for TEs.
He also has speed in his game; he ran a 4.71 official 40-yard dash time. While with the Buffs, he was able to beat teams deep down the field. Additionally, he’s a huge body standing at 6’6″ and can shed tacklers off him.
Weaknesses: His experience could definitely become a factor at the next level. Though his hands aren’t necessarily terrible, I’d say they are barely average. Tape reveals that Kasa tends to catch the ball with his chest rather than with his hands. With the defenses he’ll face in the NFL, he won’t have it so easy.
My take: We will probably only see Kasa appear as an inline tight end in 2013 or occasionally in the slot for spread-option plays. It will be interesting to see how his pass catching ability progresses through training camp and the preseason. Keep in mind Brandon Myers was drafted as a run-blocker, and look at the season he had.
The Raiders currently have six TEs on the roster. It’s likely we see upwards to three of them being released moving forward.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonCX525