Can Maxx Williams get playing time in a crowded tight end corps?

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 11: Brian Blechen
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 11: Brian Blechen /

With a crowded receving crops, will tight end Max Williams find playing time?

Maxx Williams has not had the best start to his NFL career. In his first season, he quickly fell behind Crockett Gilmore, and eventually Nick Boyle on the depth chart. But, Williams put up 268 receiving yards that year, which is normal for a Ravens rookie tight end. In fact, he owns the franchise record for most receptions and receiving yards by a rookie tight end.

Injury Issues

Williams’ second season in the NFL was no prettier than his first. Not because of his performance on the field, but rather because of his inability to get on the field. He hurt his knee in Week 4, which sent him out for the rest of the season.

This was no ordinary knee injury. Williams needed to have a procedure which was never performed on a football player before. After missing OTAs, he hopes to return to the field and finally break out, showing his potential as a second round pick.

For Williams to finally reach his true potential, look for him to take advantage of the Ravens’ often injured tight end corps to receive more playing time. Dennis Pitta is no longer a Raven after suffering a third major hip injury and Darren Waller’s career is in jeopardy after receiving a year long suspension. At the same time, it appears that Crockett Gilmore will not return for a while after injuring both shoulders.


Williams’ competition now consists of another young tight end, Nick Boyle, who was suspended part of last season for use of PEDs. There is also veteran Ben Watson, who is coming off of a torn achilles tendon which he suffered in last year’s preseason. If the Ravens want to see the elite athleticism that they sought after when drafting Williams, all they can do is hope for the best with regards to Williams’ health.

Another young tight end that can challenge Williams is third year player Vince Mayle. Mayle, a former wide receiver, was drafted in the fourth round in the 2015 NFL Draft but was quickly cut by the Browns. After spending a few years with the Cowboys, Mayle will look to compete for playing time at tight end. Although small with a 6’2″ frame, Mayle’s strength and athleticism is enough to make himself competitive.

Even though the Ravens do have a surplus at tight end despite injury and suspension, they may still be looking to get help via free agency. Many people have connected the Ravens to tight end Gary Barnidge, who can still be a productive receiver in this league. In the end, the more help the Ravens get from the outside, the less trust they have in their current tight end corps.

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For now, all the Ravens can do is hope that Williams can soon become healthy and compete for the starting tight end role. With recent injuries and suspensions, it looks likelier than ever that Williams will finally have the chance to prove himself to be the player the Ravens drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.