It's no secret that Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman loves utilizing tight ends. That raises the possibility that the Ravens will select a tight end in this year's draft after trading former first-round pick Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons in March.
"We like to have a bunch of guys with multiple skills sets who can do different things to help us," General Manager Eric DeCosta said, regarding drafting a tight end. "If there's a guy there in the right spot it would really be foolish for us not to consider him."
The deal that sent Hurst and a fourth-round pick to Atlanta, in exchange for second- and fifth-round picks, leaves Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle as Baltimore's primary tight ends. That's still a formidable one-two punch. Andrews made the Pro Bowl in his second season, while Boyle is one of the NFL's best blocking tight ends who continues to improve as a receiver.
However, the Ravens often use multiple tight end sets and there's enough room for three tight ends to see ample playing time. Last season, Boyle played 769 offensive snaps (69.6 percent), while Andrews and Hurst played the exact number of snaps (457 snaps, 41.3 percent).
Here are three tight ends the Ravens could possibly target in the draft:
Hunter Bryant, Washington
Junior, 6-foot-2, 248 pounds; 52 catches, 825 yards, 3 touchdowns
He moved all over Washington's formations during college, creating mismatches with linebackers and defensive backs. Bryant has the pass-catching skills to fit into Baltimore's offense and take over the reps vacated by Hurst. This isn't a particularly strong tight end draft class, but some think Bryant is the best of the bunch. If he lingers into the third round, the Ravens have a pair of third-round picks they could use to grab a tight end.
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
Senior, 6-foot 4, 238 pounds; 66 catches, 1,037 yards, 13 touchdowns
He played wide receiver in college but many scouts project him as an NFL tight end. The Ravens have inside information on Claypool after drafting one of his former teammates last year, wide receiver Miles Boykin. Claypool helped himself with a strong performance the Scouting Combine by running a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash and he was also sure-handed in the passing drills. His combination of size and speed resembles former Ravens tight end Darren Waller who had 90 catches for 1,145 yards with the Oakland Raiders last season.
In his four-round mock draft, Chad Reuter of NFL.com has Claypool going to the Ravens in the second round at No. 60.
"With a guy like Claypool, he's got really good size, obviously advanced as a route runner at his size and the types of things he can do, he's got strong hands," DeCosta said. "There have been many players over the years who started off as wideouts and then make a transition to tight end. Darren Waller for instance was a guy this year that we had who was able to do that effectively with the Raiders. I think Claypool is a guy that can play receiver, possibly play an H-back, tight end type of role as well. He's an interesting player with a lot of upside potential. Probably be a guy that gets picked sometime on the second day."
Thaddeus Moss, LSU
Junior, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds; 47 catches, 570 yards, 4 touchdowns
The son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, Thaddeus Moss showed a willingness to block in college, and that certainly meshes with what the Ravens want from tight ends. Moss also played in an NFL-style offense at LSU with quarterback Joe Burrow, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick.