The Baltimore Ravens are in need of another pass-catching threat at tight end to effectively offset the loss of Hayden Hurst who got traded last offseason and whose presence was sorely missed in the passing game last season.
This year’s draft class isn’t particularly strong at the tight end position but offers several promising prospects that are viable pass-catching threats who could take some of the attention off of Pro Bowler Mark Andrews and thrive in multiple tight end sets.
One such NFL hopeful that could help the Ravens get back to being a more dangerous passing attack out of 13 personnel as the third tight end on the depth chart is Brigham Young University’s, Matt Bushman.
The former Cougar had his 2020 season ended before it even began due to a ruptured Achilles tendon but prior to that, he had spent the previous three seasons as the top target in BYU’s passing game.
Bushman led the team in receiving yards every year from 2017-2019 and in receptions and touchdowns in two of those three years as well. His best season came in his junior year where he recorded 27 catches and set career highs with 688 yards and four touchdowns.
He could’ve come out in the draft last year but opted to return for his senior season which ultimately proved to be to the detriment of his draft stock after sustained such a significant injury.
Bushman isn’t an aggressive blocker and is especially poor at the point of attack but that was far from his forte in college. However, as a pass-catcher, he possesses soft sure hands, great hand-eye coordination, makes great adjustments to the ball, high points it well, and puts it away quickly once it is in his grasp.
Matt Bushman is going to make clowns of so many in my industry— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) March 23, 2021
At 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds with over 32-inch arms, his long but not quite lanky frame gives him a wide catch radius and helps him both separate and keep the ball away from defenders.
He doesn’t possess the speed to run away from defenders but he excels at making contested catches. His ability to make tough grabs in traffic and find the soft spots in zone coverage make him a nice target over the middle of the field and in the red zone.
Bushman was healthy enough to partially participate at BYU’s pro day last month and while he didn’t run a 40-yard dash, he put up 23 reps of 225 in the bench press, had a 32.5-inch vertical leap, a 4.53 20-yard shuttle, and looked good in on-field workouts.
BYU TE Matt Bushman showed some ridiculously smooth hands at pro day. Tracks the ball great. Nice body control. pic.twitter.com/dAExR6PUN5— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) March 28, 2021
If the Ravens want a pure pass catcher at the position that doesn’t bring much to the table as a blocker outside of throwing the occasional chip before releasing into a route, Bushman is an intriguing option with promise and could be had later on day three.