May 1, 2015 6:52 PM PT
Alameda, California – The Oakland Raiders selected University of Miami (Fla.) TE Clive Walford in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Walford is a dual-threat tight end with a basketball background with huge upside. He dominated the Senior Bowl, showing athleticism, a feel for space and a big catch radius. Walford is a very good move-blocker who can seal off the edge with an angle block and does well getting off his initial assignment to get to the second level.
He effectively uses his 34-inch arms to lock out defenders and is a tough player at the point of attack. He’s a three-down tight end with the versatility to play in-line, in motion or flexed into the slot. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see an NFL team use Walford in the backfield at times if it doesn’t carry a fullback.
Receiving Yards: 676
2014 (Senior): Has established himself as one of country’s premier tight ends in final year…Started in season opener at Louisville, recording three catches for 38 yards…Hauled in team’s first touchdown of season, two-yard catch in back of endzone…Registered long catch of 31 yards against Cardinals…Caught two passes against FAMU for 31 yards, including long of 16…Recorded three passes, including second touchdown of season, totaling 57 yards against Arkansas State…Led team with seven catches against Nebraska, finished with 80 yards and one touchdown…Caught two passes for 23 yards in start against Duke…Totaled 37 yards on two receptions in start against Georgia Tech…Led team with four catches in start against Cincinnati, finishing with 40 yards and one touchdown…Had team-high totals of six catches, 89 yards and two receiving touchdowns in start against North Carolina…Had game-high totals of four catches and 127 yards, including 61-yard touchdown catch, in start against Florida State…Recorded game-high totals of 105 yards on seven catches in start against Virginia…Totaled 49 receiving yards on four catches in start against Pittsburgh, including long of 31 yards.
2013 (Junior): Played in all 13 games, making 12 starts at tight end … Finished season with 454 receiving yards and two TDs on 34 catches … Ranked second on team in receptions … Opened season with three catches for 34 yards and TD in win over FAU … Added 50 yards on two catches, including season-long 36-yard grab, in win over Savannah State … Second TD of season came in home win over Georgia Tech … Had 4 receptions in three straight games – four for 33 yards vs. Wake Forest, four for 46 yards at Florida State and five for 23 yards vs. Virginia Tech … Streak of 27 consecutive games with at least one reception snapped in home win vs. Virginia … First game without catch since Oct. 22, 2011, vs. Georgia Tech … Had two catches for 40 yards at Pitt, including 32-yarder … Eclipsed 1,000-yard mark for career in bowl game vs. Louisville … Hauled in four passes for 82 yards vs. Louisville in Russell Athletic Bowl … Earned letter.
2012 (Sophomore): Played in all 12 games, making five starts … Enjoyed career season as second-year TE, finishing third on team with 451 yards on 25 catches and tied for team lead with four receiving TDs … One of only two Hurricanes to catch at least one pass in all 12 games … Scored team’s lone TD at Kansas State, finishing with three grabs for 61 yards … Had two catches for 56 yards in win over Virginia Tech … Closed season with 3 TDs in final three games … Had 13 yards and TD on two catches in road loss at Virginia … Hauled in career-high 135 receiving yards and TD on three catches in home win over USF … Finished one yard shy of second 100-yard game at Duke, catching four passes for 99 yards and TD … Earned letter.
2011 (Redshirt Freshman): Played in all 12 games and earned eight starts, emerging as team’s primary target at tight end … Registered at least one catch in 10 of team’s 12 games … Finished fourth on team in catches (18) and yards (172) … Led Hurricanes with four catches and career-best 66 yards against then-No. 21 Virginia Tech … Also recorded career-long 25-yard reception againt Hokies … Scored career-first touchdown against Florida State … Earned letter.
2010 (True Freshman): Sat out first season at Miami, redshirted to retain eligibility.
Oakland Raiders Q & A Transcript
Q: Did you have any expectations about where you would fall in the draft? Were you surprised either in a good way or a bad way?
Walford: “I really didn’t have any preference. I thought was going to go more in the second but that didn’t work out. I’m not tripping. It is what it is.”
Q: Have you had any contact with the Raiders in the pre-draft process?
Walford: “Yeah at the combine and at the Senior Bowl. I talked to the Raiders a lot.”
Q: What would you say your strengths are as a player?
Walford: “I can hop for the ball. I’m a great pass-catcher. I’m a great run-blocker. I’m just a dual-threat tight end.”
Q: Are there NFL tight ends who you have followed or who you might model yourself after at all?
Walford: “Yeah of course. Rob Gronkowski from the Patriots.”
Q: Why would you say that your senior season went so well? You were obviously pretty productive.
Walford: “Just maturity, and becoming a legitimate leader and just focusing more.”
Q: Who have you talked to here with the Raiders so far?
Walford: “I talked to the offensive coordinator [Bill Musgrave], the GM [Reggie McKenzie], and I think the tight ends coach [Bobby Johnson], if I’m not mistaken.”
Q: What did Bill Musgrave tell you about your role here?
Walford: “He really didn’t say anything about my role. He just asked me if I’m ready to be a Raider, and I told him I’m ready.”
Q: Do you see the role of the tight end as diminishing in the NFL, or do you think you can be on the field for a lot of snaps?
Walford: “I mean, I don’t know. I’m going to go out to Oakland and just compete. I’m not looking to go start right away. I’m going out there to learn from the veterans and take some of their advice, but you know I’m going to compete at the same time. If I win that starting spot, then that’s all on God.”
Q: How much special teams background do you have?
Walford: “I played kick return in college. I played punt block. I played field goal.”
Q: Miami has a pretty good tradition of tight ends. Is that what attracted you to go there?
Walford: “We’ve got a great line of them, from Bubba Franks, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, Kellen Winslow, you name them. That’s what we do, we build tight ends. Standish Dobard is up next, a young tight end coming out of Miami.”
GM Reggie McKenzies Comments on Clive Walford
“We see him as a complete tight end,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “He’s not just a blocker or a receiver. He has the strength to block a defensive lineman or he can flex out and go catch a pass. He’s the total package when you’re looking at a tight end.”
Walford said he models his game from New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski.
McKenzie chose a Raider who he reminded him of.
“How about Raymond Chester,” he said with a laugh.