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It’s Time To Truly Appreciate Mark Andrews’ Greatness

  • The Draft Network
  • December 20, 2021
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Since the dawn of time, the tight end position has remained parallel with an NFL offense's ability to remain successful. Whether it’s on the ground as a mover in the run game, or through the air within a team’s aerial attack, the progression and evolvement of the position has invited a vast array of characters as headlining weapons into today’s NFL. There are names like San Francisco’s George Kittle to Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson, and Las Vegas’ Darren Waller, but the league’s top tight end target could very well reside in Baltimore in the form of Mark Andrews, one of the more underrated in-line studs the league has to offer.

A fourth-year talent out of Oklahoma, Andrews has enjoyed a career year so far this fall. 15 games in, he’s amassed career-highs in targets, receptions, and yards, and is on pace to top his career-high total in touchdowns (10) with three more games left on the Ravens’ regular-season docket. The de facto leader for the Ravens’ passing attack since he stepped foot in Baltimore’s facility, Andrews’ ability to improve his game, and diversify the unique ways in which he wins and separates from defenders on each route makes it difficult not to include him in the conversation as football’s premier tight end target.

While his game is as much different as it is similar to guys like Kelce and Kittle, who trump him when it comes to top-end speed and ability after the catch, Andrews is a Venus flytrap in space who vacuums footballs into his large frame with ease unlike many in today’s game. While Kelce has reigned supreme in TE1 arguments working in tandem with Patrick Mahomes and his embarrassment of riches in Kansas City, Andrews has been much of a one-trick pony for Baltimore’s passing attack, an attribute to just how good he is, has been, and will be a decade from now.

The first Ravens tight end to record 1,000 receiving yards in a single season and the first Baltimore pass-catcher to top the 1,000-yard mark since Mike Wallace did so in 2016, what separates Andrews is his ability to dominate with 22 eyes on him at all times. A passing game that thrives off of Lamar Jackson’s playmaking ability to create both within and outside of structure, Andrews’ rapport with the former NFL MVP provides a glimpse into his truly unique skill set.

While he won’t blow you away with elite speed for a man of his stature (255+ pounds) as a sub-4.5 or even sub-4.6 runner, his technicality as a route-runner, similar to the league’s most impactful wideouts, makes him nearly impossible to cover in a phone booth. Crossers, digs, nine-routes, post-corners, fades… whether it’s been Jackson, or as we saw Sunday working with backup Tyler Huntley, it doesn’t matter how opposing coordinators look to scheme against him, No. 89 is always open.

Matched up 1-on-1 with Green Bay safety Darnell Savage, it doesn’t matter that the Packers defender finds himself hip-to-hip as the ball arrives. Although Huntley’s throw couldn’t be placed better if he had walked it up to Andrews, No. 89’s ability to locate the ball in the air while boxing out Savage like an NBA frontcourt player is just high-level stuff in the back corner of the endzone. With 21 receptions, 251 receiving yards, and three touchdowns in the last two weeks combined, Andrews will remain a driving force if Baltimore looks to punch its ticket to the playoffs.

Whether or not teams eventually decide to double Andrews and force a different Raven to beat them remains to be seen, but for now, and over the last few seasons, Baltimore’s offensive success will key around Andrews—a one of one talent whose name should be synonymous alongside the best tight ends the game has to offer.

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