The days following the draft are filled with tremendous hope and hype where fans and pundits like to predict and project big rookie seasons for every one. However, that is often not the case because making the jump from college to the pros can be steep and sometimes arduous one for first year players to make right away.
With that in mind, here’s the seventh in a series of articles that detail realistic year one expectations for each member of the Baltimore Ravens 2021 draft class:
TE/FB Ben Mason
Round 5 No. 184
The former Michigan Wolverine will continued to be coached by a Harbaugh for at least another four years if he remains with the Ravens for the length of his rookie contract. As far as what to expect from the tight end/fullback hybrid in his rookie season, he will likely see his most action on special teams on coverage units but especially on punt and kick returns.
“On special teams, I play all four units,” Mason said. “I take special teams extremely seriously, and there’s no better feeling, to me, than running down on coverage units and meeting the ball-carrier. So, I look forward to making my imprint felt.”
Mason is a traditional fullback who is perfectly suited to play in the throwback style of offense that the Ravens play, but also has an underrated receiving skillset that make him an ideal H-back in the modern NFL as well.
“I’m a player who is very versatile, and that’s something that you need to be as a fullback,” said Mason. “You need to be able to play in the I-[formation], play a little bit of tight end. That’s what I’m going to bring on the offensive side of the ball.
He likely won’t take many blocking snaps away from two-time Pro Bowler Patrick Ricard — if any at all. He could come onto the field in short yardage situations and actually be used as a ball carrier on dive plays, though. We could very well also see both him and Ricard on the field at the same time with Mason at tight end or as a additional fullback near the goal line or in fourth-and-short situations.
While it wasn’t his primary position in college like it was for Ricard at Maine, Mason played a season at defensive tackle in 2019. He expressed belief that his made him a more well-rounded player overall. That background on defense will serve him well both as a blocker and a special teams contributor in year one and beyond.
“I have experience playing defense in my time at Michigan,” said Mason. “That’s only helped me become a better football player.”