The Ravens need a viable tight end target for Joe Flacco, one who can catch the ball away from his body and turn upfield, or at least sit in a seam and make a big play of more than 10 yards long. Without such a target on a regular basis, Flacco is going to be stuck again in a stagnant offense.
Veteran TE Benjamin Watson did his best to fill the void left by the loss of Flacco’s former favorite target Dennis Pitta. But coming off an Achilles injury at age 37, Watson gave it the old college try and ended up being little more than a check-down option for Joe.
Benjamin Watson was the Ravens’ leading pass catcher in 2017, reeling in 61 receptions for 552 yards and four touchdowns—numbers that look better than they actually were based upon game situations and opponents. He’s scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, if he doesn’t decide to retire. After Watson, the tight end with the most catches was Nick Boyle with 28, not even half of Watson’s production.
And Max Williams for a variety of reasons (injuries, route-running difficulties) has not been the answer, either.
Sarah Ellison of BaltimoreRavens.com writes: “Just as wide receiver is a major need to fill this offseason, finding a pass-catching tight end that can stretch the field is also a high priority. Neither will be easy.”
“[Pending free agent tight end Jimmy] Graham could be that guy, but he figures to have plenty of suitors, and the Ravens aren’t equipped to win a bidding war,” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. “[Tyler] Eifert, who has missed 40 games over the past four seasons, might be worth a flier, but his injury history makes it difficult to count on him. [Austin] Seferian-Jenkins is an intriguing player coming off a bounce-back season, but he has some baggage, too.
“As for the draft, there’s no surefire first-round pick, though it’s considered a pretty deep class. … If the Ravens don’t get Graham, they’re going to have to mine the middle rounds and find a pass-catching tight end of their own.”