Strength in numbers is the name of the game in Baltimore as our #8 tight end corps check in for our Tight End Confidential series.
The Baltimore Ravens signed 35-year-old Benjamin Watson this offseason. The 12-year vet had a resurgent season in 2015 after spending the previous two seasons as the backup to Jimmy Graham in New Orleans. When Graham was traded to Seattle in the offseason, that opened the door for Watson to take a starting role in the Saints passing offense. He responded with his best season ever; 74 receptions, 825 yards, and six touchdowns later, Watson was sought after on the free agent market and chose to go to another team that values the tight end position in the Baltimore Ravens. He will bring his veteran leadership to a tight end group that was very young last season.
The future is bright and relatively secure for the Ravens with the youth movement that was forced into action last season. In his second season, Crockett Gillmore was the third leading receiver despite being seventh in targets. He amassed 412 yards on 33 receptions while hauling in four touchdowns. His massive frame (6’6” 270 lbs) and blocking ability makes him a promising three-down tight end, and he’s only 24 years old.
The other youngster that’s making plays for the Ravens is their 2015 second round draft pick Maxx Williams. At only 22 years old, he will have the opportunity to become as good as he wants to be. He possess the talent to be a 1000-yard receiving tight end in the NFL. Williams is your prototype pass-receiving tight end in the mold of Dallas Clark. He still needs to get better as a blocker, but he will definitely be a factor in the passing game. With 32 receptions in only seven starts, it shows the promise of what he will be able to do in this offense going forward.
The wild card in the bunch is Ravens veteran Dennis Pitta. The 31 year old has not been a factor for Baltimore since 2012 due to major hip injuries, but he has been receiving rave reviews this offseason. If he is healthy, he could provide the Ravens with the deepest and most diverse corps in football. During Pitta’s last healthy season, he amassed 669 yards on 61 receptions and added seven touchdowns. It will be interesting to watch this battle in training camp as these four jockey for position. I think that competition will help to raise all of their levels.