Oliver impressed in the spring and seemed to solidify himself as the de facto frontrunner, but it’s hard to take away too much from spring practices.
That said, when the pads came on this summer, Oliver continued his strong offseason.
The former third-round pick has once again impressed as a pass catcher and he’s held his own as a blocker. If he keeps it up, the No. 3 tight end job should be his to lose.
Josh Oliver is the favorite for the Ravens No. 3 tight end job.
Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic detailed Oliver’s standout summer and explained why he is still the favorite for the role.
"“Oliver entered camp as the favorite for the No. 3 tight end job and he’s done enough for that to still be the case. He’s stayed healthy, remained active in the passing game and mostly held his own as a blocker. It’s also helped his cause that another consistent challenger for that role really hasn’t emerged.”"
The biggest test for Oliver this summer was always going to be how he held up as a blocker. The former San Jose State star is a good athlete who made a living in college as a threat in the passing game.
But the Ravens needed to see how he would fare as a blocker in their run-heavy scheme. So far, he’s passed the test.
It also helps, as Zrebiec noted, that his competition hasn’t exactly done much of anything to separate from the pack.
Nick Boyle and Jacob Breeland remain sidelined with injuries. Eric Tomlinson is a fine blocker, but little more. Eli Wolf has had his moments, but his lack of physicality has been notable. And it seems clear that Ben Mason isn’t in the running for a tight end role.
Oliver is the favorite, almost by default. But he’s done enough to make the Ravens feel good about their tight end situation, even with Boyle still out rehabbing.
Acquired in exchange for a future conditional seventh-round pick in the offseason, Oliver could prove to be a fruitful investment for Baltimore.
Don’t be surprised if he not only earns a roster spot but sees some playing time on offense this season.