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Realistic 2022 rookie expectations for the Ravens: Charlie Kolar

A red zone weapon with contested-catch specialist potential.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens Minicamp Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been over two weeks since the 2022 NFL Draft concluded and the hype for the Baltimore Ravens’ impressive 11-man haul is still high. Often overly optimistic and sometimes unfair projections and predictions are placed on first-year players entering the league before they even take a snap in the preseason.

With that in mind, the return of my annual realistic expectation article series has arrived.

TE Charlie Kolar

Round 4, No. 128 overall

The former Iowa State Cyclone grew up in Norman, Oklahoma and was a huge admirer of Ravens’ All-Pro tight end, Mark Andrews during his time starring for the Sooners. Now he’ll have the opportunity to play alongside him as a complementary pass-catching threat that will take some of the onus away from Andrews over the middle of the field.

Kolar was the first of two swings that Ravens’ General Manager Eric DeCosta took at the tight end position not only in this year’s draft, but in the same round. He is coming off a highly productive senior season in which he finished second in the Cyclones offense with career highs in both receptions (62) and receiving yards (756) and led the team in touchdowns catches with six.

The Ravens appear to be leaning towards a return to the offensive philosophy that they used to take the league by storm in 2019, in which they heavily featured tight ends more than they did wide receivers. Kolar is essentially a big-bodied wide receiver that can present a dangerous threat in the red zone and especially in the end zone.

He can also contribute in the run game as a downfield blocker in the same way that Miles Boykin did when split out wide. Kolar has the potential to line up in-line once he adds more functional strength and fills out his long frame with more muscle mass.

Don’t expect Kolar to put up huge receiving numbers that are anywhere near comparable to what Andrews’ will be. However, he could be among Lamar Jackson’s more popular targets when he starts to scramble and look downfield as well as in the back of the end zone. In college, Kolar displayed excellent body control and special awareness on and along the boundary and showed an ability to uncover late once the play breaks down.

At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Kolar will also have a significant size advantage over the vast majority of the defensive backs and linebackers that will be covering him. Expect Jackson to look to capitalize on that by throwing up some balls where Kolar can consistently play above the rim and come down with contested catches.