Yesterday, I covered the odds of the Ravens quarterbacks and running backs making the final roster for the 2018 season. Today, a shorter piece on which tight ends secure a position with the team, and also a unique fullback post which is certainly worth a read.
Disclaimer: While the pads—or even shorts—aren’t on yet, it’s time for a basic assessment of the players on the roster and assume who is locked-in, expected to make it, on the fringe or a long-shot for the final 53.
Not expected: 25%
Hayden Hurst (lock): The Ravens’ first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is making the roster. Until otherwise, most pencil in Hurst as the starter in the group. Ozzie didn’t bring up Todd Heap during their phone call for no reason, the franchise is confident in Hayden.
Mark Andrews (lock): The third-round rookie will also land on the roster, barring anything serious. Some believe he’s the Dennis Pitta replacement, capable of playing many snaps in the slot, rather than with his hand in the dirt.
Nick Boyle (expected): I originally placed Boyle as fringe, but after speaking with Baltimore Beatdown editor Vasilis Lericos, he’s certainly closer to making this team than missing out. Lericos mentioned:
- Boyle is the best blocking tight end on the roster.
- The Ravens ran the most two tight end sets last year
- With a new right tackle filling in for Austin Howard, combined with a ‘murders row of edge rushers on the schedule,’ they’ll need some heavy protection sets for Joe Flacco and the offense.
Boyle can block, catch passes and hurdle. I think he has a real chance on the roster, and he could be the fourth tight end on the roster come the end of August.
Vince Mayle (fringe): A unique player for the Ravens, Mayle finds a spot every year due to his combination of size, speed and hands. The special teams contributions are also a plus for both Baltimore and Vince. I believe Mayle’s top competition is Mark Andrews, not Boyle. If Andrews is synced-up with Joe Flacco, it’s all over for Mayle. If Mark needs more time to adjust, Vince could find himself on the final 53.
Maxx Williams (not expected): Unless he turns the corner in the first few weeks of camp, the odds of Williams landing on the roster are small. The Ravens traded up in the second round for Maxx, but the returns are low so far. Hopefully he can stay healthy and prove himself as a contributor for the Ravens.
Darren Waller (longshot): The team loves Waller and he’s performed better than Maxx has, but after injuries and multiple suspensions it is hard to keep handing out opportunities, even with the mismatches Darren creates being 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds.
Nick Keizer (longshot): Keizer only caught 29 passes in his final year with the Grand Valley State Lakers, but he did produce over 500 yards and nine touchdowns from the low amount of receptions. His NFL Draft profile believes he has a ‘better-than-average chance to make an NFL roster’, but the Ravens look locked-in with at least three tight ends. I think he could land on a roster elsewhere, but the Ravens are essentially leaving an open competition for only a single spot at tight end.
Patrick Ricard (expected): His two-way play is valuable, and he racked up important snaps on the goal line. The Ravens love heavy formations and Pat is clearly an option here.
Christopher Ezeala (long-shot): This is kind of a wash here, because the Ravens will have Ezeala on their team this season, but not on the 53-man roster. Ezeala is a part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program.
“The program, instituted in 2017, aims to provide international athletes the opportunity to compete at the NFL level, improve their skills, and ultimately earn a spot on an NFL roster.” — NFL Communications
The link above will explain in detail how Ezeala will be with the Ravens, but the summary is the Ravens receive an extra practice squad spot specifically for Christopher. He is not allowed to be activated from the practice squad during the season. This is an incredible program and I’m excited to see this going forward.
In the end, the fullback competition is void, but the tight end competition is something every Ravens fan wants an update on daily. I’m excited to watch all these young players compete for the job.