The expanding role series looks at players who will see more snaps in 2015. So far we've featured *outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.*
TE Crockett Gillmore
6-foot-6, 275 pounds
2014 3rd-round pick* *
10 receptions, 121 yards, 1 touchdown
440 out of possible 1073 (41 percent)
Gillmore entered his rookie year behind veterans Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels,but moved up in the pecking order when Pitta went down with his second hip injury. Gillmore was going to have a blocking role either way, but Pitta's absence gave him more receiving opportunities. Gillmore made the most of it, showing great improvement in that facet of his game as the year went on. He caught at least one pass in each of his final five games, including a 21-yard touchdown against the Steelers in the wild-card playoffs.
Who Is He Taking Snaps From?
48 receptions, 527 yards, 4 touchdowns
946 out of possible 1,161 (81.5 percent)
Daniels stepped up admirably during his one year in Baltimore. He was a reliable chain mover and red-zone target, providing a safety net for quarterback Joe Flacco. Daniels was more of a pure pass-catching tight end than Gillmore, who blocks and catches. Rookie Maxx Williams will also get some of Daniels' snaps.
Why He'll Break Out
Gillmore showed strong hands last year and they have only gotten better. He struggled with drops last training camp. So far this summer, he's hardly let a ball touch the ground. He's had another year in the offensive system, so he won't be thinking as much on the field. Plus,Gillmore ismassive. He was a big guy last year, but added 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason. He's still got the ability to stretch the field, which he showed by catching numerous jump balls in Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp. Flacco seemed to develop a real comfort with Gillmore during the practices.