The season is over, the Ravens did not make the playoffs, again. Now we are in the offseason, looking at the future. In order to improve the future, the present must be corrected and the past not repeated. The offense was mediocre at best last season. Ozzie Newsome drafted heavily on defense during the last draft. Hopefully, he will swing in the other direction during the upcoming draft and select some offense, whether it be tight ends or wide receivers, more help is definitely needed.
This article will discuss the Ravens tight ends, which is not as tight as it should be.
Benjamin Watson, an unrestricted free agent, signed a two-year deal in March 2016 worth $7 million with $3 million guaranteed. It was believed that he would have brought experience to the younger tight ends. He was a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award back in 2015 with Anquan Boldin winning that season. He is also a finalist for the 2017 season.
This 14th season vet did not have as much of an impact for the team. Shortly after signing with the Ravens in 2016, he had a season ending Achilles injury during the preseason game against the Detroit Lions. In 2017, he recorded 61 receptions for 522 yards and four touchdowns. At 37 years old, he is fast becoming a ole’ timer in the NFL.
Vince Mayle will be an exclusive rights free agent in March. He was claimed off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys in December 2016. He was active during the 2017 season but only recorded one 2-yard touchdown and eight total tackles. He saw some action on special teams.
Nick Boyle has spent more time on suspension than on the field. He was a promising tight end that the team saw in the 2015 Senior Bowl and signed him in the draft. During his rookie season, he was suspended for the last four games of the season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing policy. In 2016, he received his second NFL suspension for the same thing. This time he missed 10 games. He does not take his career seriously. He played all 16 games in 2017 and recorded 28 receptions for 203 yards.
Maxx Williams broke franchise records in his rookie season in 2015 for receptions with 32 and receiving yards with 268. Since then, his stats has slid way down hill. He was the No. 3 guy behind Watson and Boyle He only played four games in 2016 due to injury and last season he did not break 100 receiving yards. In 2017, he missed five games due to an ankle injury.
Crockett Gillmore was signed in 2014 and became the starter after Dennis Pitta went down with a hip injury. For the next three seasons, he has suffered a season ending injury, which goes him very little time on the field. In 2015, he was placed on injured reserve in December and missed one game due to a back injury. In 2016, he suffered a thigh injury in Week 7 and missed the remainder of the season. He has become an injury-prone expense. He has a career 51 receptions for 604 yards and six touchdowns.
Darren Waller was drafted as a wide receiver out of Georgia Tech in 2015 and was transitioned to tight end in 2016. The Ravens had high hopes for this massive tight end standing at 6″6′ and weighing in at around 230 pounds but that was short-lived. In 2016, he was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s drug policy. In June of 2017, he was suspended for the entire season for the same thing. It is obvious that he does not take his career seriously enough either. He has played a total 18 games in his short career with the Ravens recording 12 receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
So what do you think? I think the Ravens need a major overall. Injury-prone players and players getting suspended more than once for violating NFL rules weigh down a team’s cap. Football is a tough sport and injuries occur, but when a player is constantly out for injuries, his worth is greatly decreased.
What the Ravens need are pass-catching tight ends. Large, physical, athletic pass-catching tight ends that can remain violation-free and take their career seriously.
My next article will discuss the top tight end prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft.