Before the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens focused a lot of their time revamping the wide receiving unit to help out quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense. Baltimore ended up signing John Brown and Michael Crabtree, then proceeded to sign restricted free agent Willie Snead away from the New Orleans Saints after they couldn't agree to a deal with Dez Bryant. The one position they needed serious help at was tight end after Benjamin Watson departed in free agency to the Saints. They would try to sign Eric Ebron, but could never get him in the building.
At the position, the team had Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, Darren Waller and Vince Mayle at the time of the draft. While he’s been suspended twice, Boyle has been reliable when he’s on the field both as a blocker and a receiver. Mayle is primarily on special teams, while Waller has had trouble with injuries and suspensions. The biggest disappointment is Williams, who was the teams second-round pick in 2015. Williams had a solid rookie season, but would miss the entire 2016 campaign due to a serious knee surgery. Last year, he missed five games due to an ankle injury and watched as Boyle and Watson received more playing time. Williams finished the season with just 15 catches for 86 yards and a single touchdown.
With Williams and Boyle entering contract years, the Ravens double-dipped at tight end by drafting Hayden Hurst with their first-round selection, and Mark Andrews one day later in the third round. Boyle should be a lock even after the team spent high on two tight ends, and Waller hasn’t even been reinstated by the NFL. The big question is where does all this leave Williams? With Andrews and Hurst joining Boyle, it leaves the former second-round pick in limbo, especially when you look at the team liking Mayle due to his contributions on special teams.
The worst that can happen to Williams is him getting released before the season begins. If Williams stays healthy and performs well during the preseason, the Ravens could hang him out on the trade market looking for a team who could be in need of a tight end due to injury or other circumstances. Baltimore could then get something in return for him such as a late-round pick.
All in all, the Ravens had to address the tight end position in some form or another. Them double-dipping, especially in the first two days of the draft, had to come as a surprise for some. Boyle and Williams are in contract years as both were drafted in 2015. Yet, it has been the fifth-rounder from Delaware who has helped the team more, despite two suspensions. With Hurst and Andrews now on board, Williams has to perform to at least have the Ravens consider him as the fourth tight end, therefore taking Mayle out of the equation. Still, it would be a far drop for a guy who was selected high in the draft just a few years ago.