Nick Boyle: 2015 Ravens Rookie Predictions


Jan 21, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad tight end Nick Boyle of Delaware (86) hangs onto a pass over North squad safety Kurtis Drummond of Michigan State (27) and defensive corner Doran Grant of Ohio State (12) during North squad Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens headed into the NFL Draft with a lot of questions at tight end, including legitimate concerns over a potential shortage of players at the position.  At the conclusion of the weekend, they emerged with a new question – what are they going to do with all these tight ends?

It was no secret that the team was going to draft a tight end, but did they really need to select two of them?  I can answer that question with another question – why not?  Last year’s starter, Owen Daniels, is gone.  Dennis Pitta’s playing future is a big question mark.  Crockett Gillmore is still an unknown commodity after producing mixed results during his rookie season.

The Ravens most likely need three tight ends on the roster heading into the regular season, with one on the practice squad.  Drafting both Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle gives them options in case Pitta can’t continue his playing career.  If he is healthy enough, having four guys to choose from isn’t such a bad thing.  If he isn’t, Williams or Gillmore will likely be counted on to start.

But where does that leave Nick Boyle?  He isn’t going to threaten any defenses down the seam (5.04 40), and he’s limited as a pass catcher.  Boyle does excel as an in-line blocker, which is where he will likely earn his keep with the Ravens.  He has a sturdy frame, long arms, and big hands, and at the very best will probably top out as a check down candidate for Joe Flacco.

It sounds a little gloomy, but that isn’t at all a bad thing.  If Maxx Williams is the move guy of the future for the Ravens, then Boyle can be the future as an in-line guy.  It’s a formula many teams have used with great success, and one the Ravens have wanted to use for a while.  Complete, all around tight ends are quickly becoming a rare commodity in the NFL, and teams are adjusting accordingly.

More from Ravens News

If Pitta plays, Boyle won’t see many snaps and may even wind up on the practice squad.  If he doesn’t, Boyle will still likely reside behind Gillmore on the depth chart.  In a best case scenario, Boyle shows major upside as a blocker and snags 15-20 passes for 2-300 yards receiving and 2-3 touchdowns.

Most likely, his impact as a pass catcher will be more limited and 2015’s production will, at best, mirror Gillmore’s from last season (10 catches, 121 yards, one touchdown).  Then again, he might emerge and push Gillmore for snaps, which is exactly what the Ravens are probably hoping will happen.

Next: Ravens add another player to top 100 list

More from Ebony Bird