Crockett Gillmore Headed For a Blocking Tight End Role?


Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore (80) scores a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pretty much everyone is assuming that sophomore tight end Crockett Gillmore will snag the Ravens’ starting job for this coming season.  It only makes sense, as he is currently the most experienced guy on the roster other than Dennis Pitta.  If Pitta can’t go when week one rolls around, Gillmore makes sense as the incumbent over rookies Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams.

But is it time to crown Gillmore a starter yet?  After playing sparingly behind recently departed Owen Daniels last season, the big tight end came back even bigger this offseason.  After spending the majority of his time in a blocking role in his rookie season, Gillmore showed up for OTAs weighing 275 pounds, up from the 251 he played at last season.

Such a massive weight gain wouldn’t indicate that Crockett Gillmore anticipates (nor do the Ravens expect) an increase in his role as a pass catcher.  Gillmore claims that it will help him get out of his cuts better and separate from defenders.  But have you ever seen a player get faster after putting on 24 pounds?

Despite the media’s insistence that he is primed for a breakout, and owner Steve Bisciotti’s expectation that he will catch 30-40 balls this season, the tea leaves would say otherwise.  And I’m talking about more than the significant weight gain.

Maxx Williams, who the Ravens spent a second round pick on in the draft, is a move tight end.  He has the straight line speed and acceleration that Gillmore simply doesn’t.  He also has a nose for the first down marker and end zone, as well as the skills that a move tight end needs in the NFL to succeed.  He can threaten defenses deep and is a big play threat.

In all fairness, those are traits that Crockett Gillmore will never have.  He’s a solid blocker and red zone threat who can catch some passes, but he isn’t going to run past any NFL secondaries.  And that’s perfectly OK.

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The Ravens have wanted to run a two tight end set in their offense for a while, but last year’s injuries halted those dreams.  I expect that they envision having both Gillmore and Williams/Pitta on the field simultaneously much as they envisioned an Owen Daniels/Dennis Pitta combo last year.

Of course, that all depends on either Pitta sustaining health or Williams catching on fairly quickly.  If one of the two works out, expect that dream to become a reality.  If not, we might be seeing more Crockett Gillmore than expected.  But if you expect the big sophomore to suddenly turn into Rob Gronkowski 2.0, you would be mistaken.

Next: Lorenzo Taliaferro: Specialist, or Three Down Back?

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