Yesterday, my colleague Chibs released the positional breakdown for the cornerbacks, arguably the strongest and deepest unit on the team. Today, I’m breaking down what I think is the second strongest group on this team: the Ravens tight ends.
Projected Starters (Pre-Training Camp)
TE1: Mark Andrews
TE2: Hayden Hurst
TE3: Nick Boyle
On the Bubble
TE4: Charles Scarff
TE5: Cole Herdman
Last year’s breakout star Mark Andrews should have a firm hold on the job going into camp after building a connection with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Andrews played in all 16 games, starting three of them, compiling 552 yards on 34 receptions and three touchdowns. Andrews was the 13th ranked TE last season according to Pro Football Focus, one of only three rookie tight ends in the top 15, along with Dallas Goedert of Philadelphia and the Jets’ Chris Herndon.
Hayden Hurst spent most of the season with a screw in his foot, missing four games and starting none. He only caught 13 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown, but he finished the season ranked as the 33rd TE on Pro Football Focus. Hurst should have a bigger role in 2019, if he can overcome the tweaked hamstring he suffered earlier this year. Hurst will be 26 by the time the season starts, so it’s in his best interest to get healthy and make an impact in his prime while he can.
More like just one backup. Nick Boyle isn’t a typical reserve player, I just wasn’t sure how to pencil him in. Boyle started a majority of the games for the Ravens last season, and he will no doubt see plenty of action in 2019 due to his efficiency as a run blocker. That’s not to say Boyle can’t catch passes, Andrews and Hurst are just better at it. For reference, Boyle had a better run grade on PFF than all but six guards and 12 offensive tackles. Due to the run heavy scheme Greg Roman usually employs, it is likely we see three tight end sets very frequently throughout the season.
On the Bubble
The two other players vying for a spot on this roster, Charles Scarff and Cole Herdman, will compete for the fourth spot on the roster. The Ravens traditionally keep four tight ends and add an extra one if needed, last season the fourth guy was Maxx Williams who was productive in his own right. I haven’t seen nough of either guy to make a decision on which will make the roster, but it’s likely one of them makes it.
Scarff began his collegiate career at Rutgers and was a member of the Scarlett Knights for two seasons before transferring to the University of Delaware. As a Blue Hen, Scarff compiled 234 receiving yards on 24 catches to go with four touchdowns over two seasons. Herdman was a four-year player at Purdue, where he played in 45 games, registering 91 catches, 1,010 yards and eight touchdowns.
The tight ends are just as important as the wide receivers in the sense that they will help the running game succeed, as well as provide large targets in the middle of the field to provide a sense of comfort for Lamar Jackson. Each member of the unit has the chance to be impactful, the Ravens have always used tight ends efficiently and this year should be no different.
Last season, the Ravens had all four of their tight ends ranked in the top 35 by PFF, the same thing could very well happen again.
Now I’ll hand the reins to Chibs so he can tackle the RB and Safety groups, after that we will have a joint article to break down the D-Line and the Linebackers as our finale.