The Baltimore Ravens run an offensive scheme that heavily features the tight end position in both the passing and running game. They’ve missed the presence of a complementary pass-catching threat at the position since trading away Hayden Hurst but may have finally found a more than adequate replacement in rookie Isaiah Likely.
General Manager Eric DeCosta opted not to reach for a different wide receiver at No. 139 overall in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft after Memphis speedster Calvin Austin was taken the pick before by their division arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, he and the Ravens quickly pivoted and selected the former Coastal Carolina University Chanticleer.
The early impressions of the first-year pro have been so overwhelmingly positive that 2021 first-time All-Pro selection, Mark Andrews, believes that the two of them share similar instincts and traits.
“He’s got a natural, kind of knack-feel for the game,” Andrews said. “I think that he sees the game really, really well. He’s really fluid. When he sees something open, he takes it. He’s got a little bit of me in him, for sure.”
Likely went into the summer break on a hell of a high note after turning heads during Mandatory Minicamp and ended it with a bang on the last day.
With his fellow rookie tight end, Charlie Kolar, dealing with a sports hernia injury, Likely will have plenty of opportunities early on in training camp to build off that momentum and carve out a role for himself in the offense.
In college, his production was prolific with the way he dominated and made plays all over the field, down the seam of the defense, and after the catch. Despite what the subpar 40-yard dash time at his pro day suggests, he can get vertical and run away from most defenders he lines up against. It will be both intriguing and exciting to see the plethora of ways in which Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman utilizes his dynamic skill set and how many reps he gets with Lamar Jackson and the first team offense.