How productive will the Ravens’ tight end-by-committee system be?
That’s another key question for the Ravens as they head into on-field OTA’s this week. Regardless of what happens with Dennis Pitta, who is trying to come back from his second major hip injury, the Ravens are deep at tight end. They signed Ben Watson during free agency, and have drafted three tight ends since 2014 – Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, and Nick Boyle.
However, with Boyle facing a 10-game suspension due to his second PED violation, the Ravens know he won’t see game action until at least November. Meanwhile, Gillmore had offseason shoulder surgery, leaving his readiness for Week 1 still uncertain.
If the season began today, the Ravens would be leaning on Watson and Williams. The addition of Watson during free agency indicates the tight end position will remain a priority in the Ravens attack. Watson is coming off a career-best season with the Saints – 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns. The Ravens should not expect Watson to duplicate that at age 35. But Watson’s reliability in third down and red zone situations gives Joe Flacco another veteran to target in clutch situations.
Still only 22 years, Williams struggled at times as a rookie (32 catches, 268 yards, one touchdown), but his play improved as the season progressed. The Ravens will take a close look at Williams this offseason, hoping they will see more consistency from their second-round pick in 2015.
Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman likes throwing to tight ends, and so does Flacco. The Ravens don’t have a prolific tight end like Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, or Greg Olsen, who all topped 1,000 yards in receiving last season. However, the Ravens want to mix two tight-end sets into their attack on a regular basis, making depth at that position important.
The Ravens got a combined 83 catches and five touchdowns from their tight ends last year. In 2016, they will be counting on those numbers to rise.