Could Project Pat Get a New-ish Assignment?

FB/DL Pat Ricard

Nick Boyle was one of the league's best blocking tight ends. Now he's a free agent. Josh Oliver stepped into Boyle's shoes last season and developed a strong blocking reputation of his own. Now he's a Minnesota Viking.

So who's next up in the Ravens' lineage of big, physical blocking tight ends? It could be a tweaked assignment for "Project" Patrick Ricard, a four-time repeating Pro Bowl fullback.

The 300-pound Ricard has built a reputation as a punishing blocker, and has done a lot of blocking on the edges already in recent seasons. Often, however, it was in tandem with another tight end. That could still be the case, but Ricard may be utilized more in the traditional in-line tight end role.

Asked who could take over for Oliver Monday at the Owners Meetings, Head Coach John Harbaugh said it's "to be determined."

"Those guys [Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar] are all good in-line blockers, but that's not their bread and butter, so to speak. So, I think Pat, obviously, is a great blocker and can move and do some things," Harbaugh said.

"That will be the task of [Offensive Coordinator] Todd [Monken] and the offensive coaches – to figure out the best way to use the guys we have and then develop those young guys as in-line blockers, as well. And it's moving parts; you move guys around and play to their strengths."

Andrews has improved significantly as an in-line blocker since he first entered the league. But he's also been Baltimore's top pass catcher the past two seasons, and could be again in 2023.

Likely entered the league as almost a hybrid tight end/receiver. Kolar has the size at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds with room to add more bulk, but he too was a more effective receiver than blocker in college.

There have been questions about how much Monken would deploy a traditional fullback, but he is known for finding ways to utilize every player's talent. Ricard is certainly not traditional, and that strength could be an important ingredient on the 2023 Ravens offense, even if it isn't as run-heavy as it has been in recent years.

"I'm very excited about Todd Monken," Harbaugh said. "We're in the lab right now building the offense and putting it together with the terminology and the plays and things like that. That's what you focus on as a coach."

Related Content