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2019 season report card: Wide receivers and tight ends

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Moving along with the season-long performance reviews, let’s take a look at two more positions on the offensive side of the ball: wide receiver and tight end, beginning with the former.

Marquise Brown

Regular season stats: 46 receptions (71 targets), 584 yards, 7 TD, 12.7 YPC

Postseason stats: 7 receptions, 126 yards, 18.0 YPC

In his first NFL season, WR Marquise Brown demonstrated a combination of talent and potential that should leave fans - and the organization, for that matter - confident in his prospects moving forward. On the surface, Brown’s numbers don’t scream bona fide No. 1 receiver but at the same time, they fail to tell the whole story.

“Hollywood” looked like a superstar in the making through Weeks 1 and 2, catching a combined 12 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns. From there, his production regressed to the mean and he often alternated big games with no-shows. It’s important to consider context, however.

For one, Brown was evidently not playing at 100% for the entire season. In addition to continuing his recover process from offseason surgery to address a lisfranc injury, Brown was hampered by a couple other leg injuries throughout the middle of the season. So while he played 14 games on the year, they weren’t 14 games of optimal health and condition.

In addition, Brown’s role in the team’s offense fluctuate throughout the season but his impact goes beyond the box score, too. Brown’s 71 targets were second on the team but nearly half of them (34, to be exact) came in Weeks 1-4. His game log would suggest that Brown played poorly over the second half of the season and while he did post numerous sub-15 yard receiving games, Brown’s importance in the team’s offensive success cannot be overlooked.

For being just a rookie, Brown garnered the respect of opposing defenses, who often played off of him and brought safety help deep in an effort to nauralize his deep-threat ability and unique speed. As a result, Brown opened up the field for others. With a full offseason to train and hone in on his craft without having to recover from surgery, Brown should be due for a big sophomore season.

Grade: B+

Willie Snead IV

Regular season stats: 31 receptions (46 targets), 339 yards, 5 TD, 10.2 YPC

Postseason stats: 6 receptions, 56 yards, 9.3 YPC

As one of the more experienced players in a largely youthful receiver group, slot WR Willie Snead IV once again provided an impact from a veteran leadership standpoint in his second season with the Ravens. The biggest difference between this year and last year, though, was that Snead’s role in the offense was diminished significantly and his production dipped a result.

After seeing 95 targets in 2018, Snead had just 46 balls thrown his way this season. While he caught the majority of them, they didn’t amount to much in terms of yardage. His 10.9 YPC average was slightly higher than last season and while he did catch a career-high five touchdowns, his receptions dipped from 62 to 31 and yardage from 651 to 339.

Outside of a three-game stretch against the Chiefs, Browns and Steelers early in the season, Snead simply wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game. It should be mentioned, however, that his downfield blocking ability and toughness were important in opening up rushing lanes for Jackson, Ingram and others.

Grade: C+

Seth Roberts

Like Snead, veteran WR Seth Roberts rarely had his number called throughout the season, instead being used primarily as a decoy and blocker.

He ranked sixth on the team in targets and touchdown receptions, while placing seventh in receptions with 21. Somewhat surprisingly, though, Roberts was third on the team in YPC with a 12.9 average. His biggest game of the season came on Thursday night against the Jets in Week 15, when he caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson.

Roberts had some other nice moments but the majority of fans will likely remember his tenure with the team having been defined by a dropped pass in the playoffs.

Grade: C

Miles Boykin

Regular season stats: 13 receptions (22 targets), 198 yards, 3 TD, 15.2 YPC

Postseason stats: 3 receptions (7 targets), 26 yards, 8.7 YPC

Amidst an impressive string of showings in OTA’s and training camp, the hype surrounding rookie WR Miles Boykin quickly picked up steam in the offseason. However, this development likely blinded us from the reality of who Boykin was and is: an athletically-gifted receiver who needs to work on his technique and aggressiveness to become a consistent receiving threat.

We were reminded of this at different points throughout the season, although Boykin’s first career campaign didn’t come without some flashes of high-level play. He caught three touchdown passes on the year and more than half of his total receiving yards came against the Seahawks and Rams.

Boykin’s calling card coming out of Notre Dame was potential as a big-play and red zone threat, both of which we saw glimpses of. However, he struggled to stay consistently stay on the field at times and was often fizzled out of the game plan - which isn’t to say he was the only receiver who suffered this fate.

Nevertheless, Boykin still possesses the upside to be a productive threat in the passing game but needs to develop in his second NFL offseason. Much like Snead, though, Boykin at least compensated with some high-level blocking in the open field.

Grade: C

Incomplete grades:

Chris Moore

Jaleel Scott

Mark Andrews

Regular season stats: 64 receptions (98 targets), 852 yards, 10 TD, 13.3 YPC

Postseason stats: 4 receptions (7 targets), 39 yards, 9.8 YPC

By far the team’s top receiving threat, TE Mark Andrews experienced a breakout sophomore season and reaped the benefits of having a strong rapport with Jackson.

Andrews began the season with back-to-back games of over eight receptions, 100 receiving yards and a touchdown. While he didn’t crack the 100-yard barrier again in Weeks 3-16, he came close on numerous occasions. Even so, Andrews led the team in almost every receiving category, including touchdowns with 10.

There were some games where Andrews puzzlingly struggled with drops, particularly against the Seahawks in Week 7. He also saw a pass sail off his fingertips and into the arms of a Titans defender in the playoffs.

Outside of these negative moments, though, Andrews was awesome nearly all season long and crucial to the team’s offensive success. Compared to his rookie year, Andrews was more confident and aggressive, while also developing into a more well-rounded player with the ability to hold his own as a blocker.

Grade: A-

Hayden Hurst

Regular season stats: 30 receptions (39 targets), 349 yards, 2 TD, 11.6 YPC

Postseason stats: 4 receptions (6 targets), 53 yards, 1 TD, 13.3 YPC

Like Andrews, 2018 first-round pick Hayden Hurst seemed primed to take a big step forward this season after being outshined by his counterpart in Year 1. Hurst’s numbers did improve but it was Andrews who dominated the target share.

Still, in a fairly limited role, Hurst was quietly effective. Hurst finished third on the team in receiving yards despite seeing the fifth-most targets of any pass-catcher. Hurst caught all but nine of the 39 passes thrown his way this year, which reflects a sentiment that many fans and spectators believed throughout the season: Hurst was underutilized.

It often seemed as though Hurst caught everything thrown his way, although it didn’t amount to much on the stat sheet. However, he did step into a large role against the Bills in Week 14. With Andrews exiting the game early, Hurst caught a 61-yard touchdown pass.

As a blocker, Hurst was versatile and more than capable. He’s truly a blend of both Andrews and Nick Boyle, whose grade you can find below.

Grade: B

Nick Boyle

Regular season stats: 31 receptions (43 targets), 321 yards, 2 TD, 10.4 YPC

Postseason stats: 0 receptions, 2 targets

The third cog in the team’s three-headed monster at the position, TE Nick Boyle proved his worth after signing a three-year, $18 million contract extension over the summer. Boyle was widely considered to be the league’s best blocking tight end prior to the season and did nothing to alter that status or title after 16 games of action.

Boyle essentially serves as an extra offensive lineman in running situations, consistently holding blocks and plowing over defenders at times. Boyle upped his receiving numbers this season, too, posting career-highs in targets, receptions and yardage.

His season was highlighted by catching his first career - yes, ever - touchdown reception against the Patriots in Week 9. He wound up recording another touchdown against the Bills, too.

Grade: B