The NFL season has crossed the midway point with Week 9 in full swing of this 17-game season. With it, mid-season grades and report cards are out, and two Ravens, tight end Mark Andrews and kicker Justin Tucker, have landed on both The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia’s Mid-Season All-Pro Team, along with PFF’s Sam Monson’s article of the same nature.
“It has not been a great year for tight ends,” Kapadia wrote. “Travis Kelce leads all of them with 560 yards, but he’s not having a great season. Kyle Pitts has had some terrific moments. And Darren Waller could eventually emerge as the top guy. But I settled on Andrews. He’s averaging 73.7 receiving yards per game, which is tops among tight ends. And he’s averaging 2.29 yards per route run, which is also first. He’s caught 72.5 percent of his targets and has not been charged with a single drop. Andrews has been a reliable target for a Ravens passing game that has taken a step forward.”
I don’t necessarily believe this is a kind critique, seeing as Kapadia “settled on Andrews,” but his inclusion is nice to see. Andrews has always been an outlet for Lamar Jackson in the passing game. He’s also bullied others in run blocking for Jackson, and others. According to Football Outsiders, Andrews is the No. 3 tight end in the NFL by Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement, behind C.J. Uzomah and Travis Kelce.
Pro Football Focus also has Andrews as an elite player; of tight ends with five or more receptions, he’s No. 1 in offense grade (91.2) and receiving (90.1). PFF also lists Andrews as they’re mid-season All-Pro tight end.
“It may seem like Andrews is seeing a huge uptick in workload, but it’s more about him being efficient with the same usage, and his quarterback is doing the same,” Monson wrote. “Andrews has seen 49 targets this season compared to 105 last year, but those targets are generating a 129.3 passer rating in 2021 compared to a 99.3 mark last year. He has yet to drop a pass this year after eight drops last season and has brought in six of his eight catchable contested targets. Andrews is sitting on the best PFF receiving grade of his career and has been a true difference-maker at a position where some of the usual stars haven’t been quite as productive.”
Utter dominance from Andrews, who, back in early September, became the third-highest paid tight end in the NFL.
As for Justin Tucker, there’s no surprise he cracks the All-Pro list after a record-breaking kick earlier this season.
“You didn’t really think I was going to mix it up and try to be a hero here, did you,” Kapadia wrote. “Tucker continues to be a weapon for the Ravens. He’s 14-for-15 on field goals and 3-for-3 from 50-plus, including a 66-yard game-winner against the Detroit Lions. Tucker is also 15-for-15 on extra points.”
It’s much of the same from Monson.
“Tucker’s highlight is still a 66-yard NFL record kick, but he is also perfect from beyond 50 yards and has missed just one field goal on the season,” Monson wrote.
No surprise here. Justin Tucker is the best kicker in football currently, and arguably the best in history. At minimum, he’s the most accurate and boasts the NFL record for longest field goal, and, it was also a game-winner.