The tight end position has long been an important part of the Ravens offense and under new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the roles of the team’s tight ends only figure to take on increased prominence. Fortunately, the Ravens have put together an impressive, versatile collection of players.
Between Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, and Nick Boyle, Baltimore has three skilled players at the position who bring different skills to the table. Boyle is an elite blocker, Andrews is a vertical passing threat with jump-ball ability, and Hurst, while less proven than the latter two, has sure hands and figures to improve with good health.
Compared to other positions on the roster, the Ravens tight end depth chart has few question marks and little uncertainty. With this in mind, here are some bold predictions for Baltimore’s trio next season.
Mark Andrews makes the Pro Bowl
Whereas Hurst’s rookie season left much to be desired, the same cannot be said for Andrews, who came on strong towards the end of the year and exceeded expectations overall. Andrews posted 552 receiving yards, three touchdowns, and a 16.3 YPC average, second on the team to only WR John Brown. His production and impact ticked up once Lamar Jackson became the team’s starting quarterback and they showcased a nice rapport, which only figures to strengthen going forward. Andrews should eclipse his target total from last season (50) and as a result, his yardage and touchdown total should increase.
Is it crazy to think he could make the Pro Bowl as a result? Maybe, but maybe not. Last year’s representatives at the position in the AFC were Travis Kelce, Eric Ebron, and Jared Cook. While Kelce is a near-lock for another big year and Ebron should continue to thrive in a new scenery, Cook is no longer in the conference after signing with the Saints. That leaves at least one open roster spot and with Rob Gronkowski retired, Andrews faces less competition to earn it. A big season and some national recognition as one of Jackson’s favorite targets could see Andrews in the Pro Bowl.
Nick Boyle records a career-high in receptions
While his primary role is blocking, Boyle has still seen 37 targets in each of the past two seasons, recording 28 receptions, which represents a career-high, in 2017-18 and 23 receptions last year. No, these aren’t otherworldly numbers, but even with more adept pass-catchers ahead of him on the depth chart, Boyle has still seen his share of targets. Expect this trend to continue, but could Boyle’s role in the offense actually expand? Fresh off a three-year, $18 million contract extension, it’s possible the Ravens plan to utilize Boyle as a receiving threat more so than usual. We know the offense will have some creative wrinkles and all three tight ends will be featured, perhaps on the field at the same time. Boyle won’t receive the same amount of attention from opposing defenses as Andrews or Hurst, ditto for other targets like Marquise Brown and Willie Snead IV. So while it’s bold to expect Boyle to break 28 catches for the year as the third receiving option on the TE depth chart, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Hayden Hurst posts 500+ yards and five touchdowns
This is definitely on the bolder side of predictions, especially considering Hurst is coming off a rookie season in which he recorded just 16 receptions, 163 receiving yards and found the endzone once. Jumping to 500 or more yards and catching five touchdowns would be a pretty significant leap but Hurst might just be able to do it. The biggest difference between last year and this year will be health. Hurst was sidelined to begin the season and missed valuable time to develop in the preseason and acclimate himself to the offense. It showed, too, as he never truly found his footing throughout his 12 games played. Now, with no screws in his foot, 20 pounds of muscle added, and a chip on his shoulder, Hurst appears primed for a strong sophomore campaign. We know he won’t drop many passes thrown his way and is a good route-runner. So long as he avoids another significant injury, Hurst figures to see a fairly decent target share in many of the Ravens two-TE offensive sets.
What are your thoughts on these bold predictions? Can you see any of them coming to fruition next season? Join the conversation below and share any predictions of your own!