The phrase “Here’s a guy” made famous by NBC sports broadcaster Chris Collinsworth inspired me to write a series of articles where I detail what every Baltimore Ravens’ player that is expected or is in the hunt to be on the roster brings to the table from a skillset standpoint, and their 2021 individual outlook.
It’s been awhile since the last article in the series so here’s a link to the very first for context.
The sixth edition spotlights the two skill position groups that Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has historically featured the most:
TE Mark Andrews
Here’s a guy who is one of the premier pass catchers at the tight end position in the entire league. He is a lethal weapon over the middle of the field and down the seams of opposing defenses. Andrews has been Lamar Jackson’s most consistent and trusted target since they were rookies in 2018 and has improved as a run blocker each year.
In 2021, he’ll be poised to have perhaps his best season to date in a contract year thanks to the additional weapons that General Manager Eric DeCosta procured this offseason. Andrews was already a great red zone threat coming into his fourth year. With less attention devoted to him in the passing game, he’ll be able to take his game to the next level.
TE Nick Boyle
Here’s a guy who is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. Boyle essentially serves as an extra offensive lineman when he’s blocking in both the run and pass game. He is an underrated pass catcher who is a great underneath threat with the athleticism to pick up more yards after the catch.
In 2021, Boyle will be bouncing back from a major knee injury that cut his 2020 season short after nine games. When he’s healthy, he will return to being an integral piece in the Ravens offense as a blocker and another weapon for Jackson to throw to.
FB Patrick Ricard
Here’s a guy who is a devastating blocker in the run game and bulldozing load to bring down as a pass-catcher. The converted defensive lineman turned two-time Pro Bowl fullback helps the Ravens’ offense set the tone and enforce their will in their potent ground attack with his strength and physicality.
While Ricard’s days as one of the rare two-way players are gone except in the case of an emergency, he has seen his role and involvement on offense expand and evolve. That was on full display on a key drive in the team’s victory over the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round of the 2020 playoffs where he caught three passes for 26 yards.
In 2021, he’ll be entering the final year of his current contract and playing for a new deal. Ricard will continue to be a key cog in the Ravens’ ground game and keep stacking pancakes with his powerful blocking as long as he’s donning purple and black.
FB/TE Ben Mason
Here’s a guy who is a more athletic near carbon copy of Ricard. Even though the fifth round rookie is about 60 pounds lighter than the two-time Pro Bowler, he was just as devastating of a blocker in college for the Michigan Wolverines and played on the defensive line as well. He didn’t have a lot of balls thrown his way at the collegiate level but has the potential to contribute more in the passing game and will play some tight end with the Ravens.
In 2021, he might not play a lot on offense as a rookie outside of some heavy formations and short-yardage/goal-line situations. However, he will be very active on special teams on both coverage and return units.
TE Josh Oliver
Here’s a guy who has dealt with injuries and only appeared in four games in the first two years of his career, all of which came in his rookie year. The former third-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 was a dynamic pass-catching college tight end at San Jose State. Oliver was acquired by the Ravens via trade in March in exchange for a conditional 2022 late-round pick and stood out during the offseason program.
In 2021, he will have the opportunity to compete and win the third tight-end spot on the depth chart. If Oliver stays healthy and continues to perform well, he could take some of the attention away from Andrews and be the complementary pass-catching threat the Ravens missed after trading Hayden Hurst last offseason.
TE Eli Wolf
Here’s a guy who was injured for most of his rookie season and wasn’t promoted from the practice squad when he was healthy. The former undrafted free agent out of Georgia is a long shot to make the roster as it currently stands. However, he possesses athletic traits and has flashed playmaking ability at times in practice so he shouldn’t be completely counted out if he has a strong preseason, and stays on the field.
TE Eric Tomlinson
Here’s a guy who doesn’t bring much to the table from a pass-catching standpoint but excels as a run blocker. He was only targeted once in six games with the Ravens last season and didn’t record a reception. Tomlinson did help offset some of the impacts of losing Boyle’s blocking and was likely re-signed this offseason to be an insurance policy if he isn’t fully recovered from his injury to start the season.
Honorable mention -
TE Jake Breeland
Here’s a guy who likely would’ve been the top tight-end prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft had he not suffered a leg injury in his final collegiate season. He has yet to fully recover or even be cleared to practice since signing with the Ravens but if and when he gets healthy, he could be a dark horse candidate to compete for a roster spot.