The Baltimore Ravens drafted Ben Mason. Some have him listed as a tight end, some have him as a fullback. He was on my board as a fullback. Mason certainly fits the bill for the Ravens, as he has just about the same build as Pat Ricard something Ricard pointed out on Twitter himself).
At Michigan Mason was a do it all kind of player. On Sports-reference.com he’s listed as a FB/DL/TE. That sounds awfully familiar to the current Ravens fullback who was an undrafted free agent out of Maine.
With the Wolverines, Mason had 37 rushing attempts and just 87 rushing yards. That’s a little misleading because he’s basically just a player who gets the ball near the goalline or sneakily picks up a couple of yards in short-yardage situations. He has nine rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown to his name.
It’s important to know what Mason is not as a player. Mason is never going to be a Kyle Juczczyk or a Le’Ron McClain. Mason could become the third-string tight end. That is the most likely title he could earn. With just three collegiate receptions, he’s a blocking tight end.
The term H-back will describe Mason the best. This is a player who splits the median between being a fullback and a tight end. Mason may be used as a surprise weapon from time to time (think bootleg passes to the flat and the occasional handoff), though he should be an extra blocker.
John Harbaugh has never seen a fourth and short he didn’t want to go for. Going under center and handing it to Mason might work out well for Baltimore. In a heavy offensive set, they could theoretically have Boyle, Ricard, and Mason on the field at the same time. This selection seems Greg Roman-inspired doesn’t it?
If Mason is going to find his way on the field it is to replace the versatility of Hayden Hurst, without picking up 30 receptions. In an offense that should still leans more to the run despite an overhaul of the wide receiver position, this could be useful.
Still, this seems like a throwaway pick. The Ravens have Ricard and Boyle. Andrews is a good blocker. Eric Tomlinson as a third tight end isn’t that bad of a situation for the depth chart. It was the Ravens’ last pick. The talk of the moment seems to be Miles Boykin moving to tight end. A crowd is emerging at the tight end position
The Ravens didn’t have a sixth or seventh-round pick when it was all said and done. They probably knew who they could target as an undrafted free agent. I have no doubts why the Ravens like Mason. He’s their type of player. He’s a physical and aggressive blocker who provides a service that’s dying out in modern-day football.
At that point in the draft, the Ravens had double-dipped at wide receiver, and gotten two players that count in the EDGE group. The Ravens also picked up some defensive backs and added Ben Cleveland to their offensive line.
If they didn’t want to waste a pick on a developmental offensive tackle that makes some sense. They already have Tyree Phillips and they probably weren’t finding an instant starter there.
The Bottom Line:
There are just better ways to play around with the pick. Seeing as how uniquely suited Mason is to the Ravens, he would have likely made it to Baltimore as an undrafted free agent. The Ravens must value Mason.
He has a chance to make the team, but he has to be willing to be the hardest worker on the roster to do so. Chipiness and effort will go a long way for a hybrid positioned blocker who has to do the dirty work.