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Ravens tight ends
Baltimore Ravens

With Tight End Additions, Ravens Offense Looks to Return to 2019 Form

  • Jack McKessy
  • May 11, 2022
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Since the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft, it has become clear that the Baltimore Ravens aim to go back to their 2019 style of offense (you know, the one that got quarterback Lamar Jackson an MVP award?). It all starts with that Baltimore tight end room.

In 2019, Jackson thrived with a strong offensive line in front of him, dynamic running backs alongside him and great pass-catching tight ends—who could also block downfield—to whom he could throw. All of that combined to make the Ravens’ rushing offense the most potent in the league, whether the production came from running backs Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards or from Jackson himself.

With such a strong offensive output from their rushing attack, it also set the young quarterback up for more success in play action, especially with Baltimore’s heavy reliance on multiple tight end sets. Run and pass plays became nearly indistinguishable in pre-snap reads at the line of scrimmage. The Ravens could have been bringing in extra tight ends to block for their running backs or might have just put more pass-catchers on the field for Jackson.

Baltimore’s steady commitment to having so many tight ends on the field really shows up on the stats sheet from the 2019 season. Of the five players with the highest receiving yard totals from Jackson’s MVP season, three are tight ends. Mark Andrews led the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle were third and fifth, respectively, in yards.

That style of offense brought out the best in Jackson. He led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes in 2019, only threw six interceptions and, of course, won the MVP award unanimously.

As Jackson returns after a 2021 season partially marred by injury and enters the final year of his rookie contract, it makes a ton of sense for the Ravens to try to replicate what made him successful in 2019. A few of their 2022 Draft selections have seemed to indicate that’s their exact plan.

Baltimore added a couple of players to their offensive line with some of their earlier picks—center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round and tackle Daniel Faalele in the fourth. The really interesting picks came later in the fourth round, when they used the 128th overall pick to take tight end Charlie Kolar then took another tight end, Isaiah Likely, 11 picks later.

Those picks have quickly filled up the Ravens’ tight ends room. Andrews is still the star No. 1 tight end but Nick Boyle behind him isn’t too shabby either, and now Kolar and Likely have come in as worthy successors.

Kolar has nice hands and great ball skills, both of which make him great in contested catch situations and make up for his lack of consistent separation in his route running. He’s not the greatest blocking tight end but could definitely improve in a great system like the Ravens’ which also has proven success in its development of players. Picking Kolar up in the fourth round feels like the right value for a tight end with his traits.

Likely, on the other hand, feels like a steal in the fourth round. He was one of the best pass-catching tight ends in this year’s draft class and our scouting team had him graded as a near-lock for a Day 2 pick.

With his hands, route-running ability and yards after catch potential, Likely is a monster big-play threat. He showed that off in his 2021 statistics, finishing second on his Coastal Carolina team with 912 receiving yards including 15.5 yards per reception. He also led the Chanticleers with 12 receiving touchdowns.

If his receiving skills alone weren’t enough to impress, Likely is also a versatile tight end that can line up pretty much wherever asked. He’s succeeded as a traditional ‘Y’, as a flex tight end playing in the slot and occasionally even lined up at ‘H-back’ and put in motion. Unlike Kolar, Likely is also a pretty strong blocker in the first place.


Between Andrews, Boyle and now two rookie tight ends on the roster—not to mention the departure of wide receiver Marquise Brown—the Ravens are poised to use an offense that will often utilize sets with multiple tight ends. We’ll probably see plenty of 12, 13, 22 and even 23 personnel on the field in Baltimore this year as they return to an offense that looks like the 2019 Ravens.

Likely and Kolar, the two newcomers, should both thrive as blockers and pass-catchers in a system designed to keep tight ends busy. Andrews may not see as many targets as a result but will certainly continue to produce as one of the most underrated tight ends in the NFL.

Jackson could return to his 2019 form with the stellar protection and extra tight end pass-catchers he’ll have up front as well as the return of running backs Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins from injury to complement his game.

As if those two weren’t enough, the Ravens also signed running back Mike Davis on Tuesday morning, making the return to a 2019-esque offensive plan even more apparent. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman will also have the chance to play his first full injury-free season in the NFL.

The pieces are really starting to come together around the young quarterback in Baltimore once again and it all starts with the big new additions at the tight end position. If Jackson and the Ravens’ offense returns to 2019 form, the AFC North and the rest of the league will need to watch out.

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Jack McKessy