After trading away 2018 first-round pick Hayden Hurst to the Falcons for a second-round pick, the Ravens have been searching for the man to replace his role in the offense as the third TE. Baltimore has a few options on their roster to fill the role.
The three tight ends currently battling for the spot include 27-year-old Jerrell Adams, undrafted rookie Eli Wolf, and second-year player Charles Scarff. Adams spent last season with the Texans, appearing in only one game and failing to record a stat. Adams previously spent two seasons with the Giants in 2016 and 2017, where he caught 24 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. Scarff spent last season on the practice squad for the Ravens after going undrafted, but was reported to be on his way out of the building on Monday before Wolf suffered a minor leg injury.
Ravens informed TE Charles Scarff this am that he would be cut. But rookie TE Eli Wolf tweaked a leg muscle in today's practice, so team held off on cutting Scarff. Either way, if Ravens keep 3 "true" TEs and don't make outside addition, it seems clear that Jerell Adams is guy.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) August 31, 2020
As Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic points out, Adams appears to be the favorite of the bunch to make the roster. There is another route Baltimore could go, however, and that is to expand the offensive duties of FB Patrick Ricard.
Ravens also could expand Pro Bowl FB Patrick Ricard's responsibilities and use him at times in third TE role. That would allow them to keep just Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle and use the roster spot they had earmarked for 3rd TE elsewhere. https://t.co/nWNOltJ0MV— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) August 31, 2020
Ricard transitioned to FB after going undrafted out of Maine in 2017, while still seeing occasional snaps on the defensive line. The two-way player nicknamed Project Pat has since signed a two-year extension during the 2019 season after solidifying himself as one of the best FBs in the game.
At nearly 300 pounds, Ricard is a punishing blocker in the run game, helping lead the way for a new NFL regular-season rushing record in 2019. While Ricard wouldn’t be a direct replacement for Hurst, as he lacks the athleticism and speed of the former first-rounder, he is a better blocker and has displayed solid hands with three career touchdown catches. Throughout his three seasons in the NFL, Ricard has caught 12 of 15 targets for 59 yards, with 47 yards coming in 2019.
Baltimore will likely lean on their WRs more in the passing game this year, so Hurst’s production as a pass catcher could be replaced by one of the young WRs on the roster. Keeping just two TEs and using Ricard more to help fill Hurst’s role also allows the Ravens to use the extra roster spot at a more important position, for example, OL or DB.