Ravens should lean on Isaiah Likely with Mark Andrews out in Week 9

Isaiah Likely, Ravens (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Isaiah Likely, Ravens (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens may not have the most talented receiving corps in the league, but they do have a secret weapon that has yet to be unleashed: Isaiah Likely.

The Likely draft pick drew some criticism initially as many expected the Ravens to boost their wide receiver depth in April. Instead, Baltimore picked up Isaiah Likely in the fourth round, who joined fellow rookie Charlie Kolar in a crowded tight end unit.

While Kolar could be considered the more “developmental” tight end, Likely saw action early in his NFL career, playing roughly 30 percent of offensive snaps in the first stretch of the season.

He soared to prominence in Week 8 as the team’s leading receiver with six catches for 77 yards and one touchdown and enters Week 9 with immense upside.

With Mark Andrews sidelined, Likely can step into a TE1 role and build upon the success he saw against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 8.

Ravens have a reliable TE1 in rookie Isaiah Likely for Week 9

The Ravens don’t have too many pass-catching options at the moment and will likely roll out with an injury-ravaged receiver corps of Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and Demarcus Robinson. Even when Andrews was healthy, however, Likely was able to carve out a sizeable role for himself in Baltimore’s tight end-heavy offense.

What further aids Likely’s integration into the offensive scheme is the Ravens’ heavily injured running back corps. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the team’s top two running backs, entered the 2022 season nursing their respective injuries, and nine weeks later, they still haven’t recovered to full health.

Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill will probably spearhead the team’s rushing attack along with Lamar Jackson, yet Baltimore can’t rely on the game on the ground alone.

Likely should see plenty of usage on Monday working the middle of the field, and he poses as an extremely capable pass-catching tight end who could see his most productive game in this upcoming matchup against the Saints.

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Baltimore will need many players, Likely included, to step up in Week 9 to keep their spot at the top of the AFC North, but at least it looks like their draft picks will pay off in 2022.