The Ravens entered draft weekend with tight end as the biggest remaining need on the roster.
They’ve addressed the position in a big way the last two days.
After selecting South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst with their first-round pick (No. 25) Thursday night, the Ravens followed up by taking Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews in the third round with pick No. 86.
Andrews is a dynamic receiving threat who was a unanimous first-team All-American last year and won the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end. He is Oklahoma’s all-time receiving leader at tight end, putting up 1,765 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns in his college career.
“I hope Joe [Flacco] enjoys these two tight ends as much as I do,” said Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, who was a Hall of Fame tight end during his playing career.
Andrews was a favorite target of Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield. He is known more as a pass catcher than a traditional in-line blocker, and he mostly operated out of the slot in Oklahoma’s wide-open offense. Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta compared him to Dennis Pitta.
Newsome explained that the Ravens doubled up at tight end because he wanted to ensure the team had enough depth. The position has been hit hard with injuries the last few years to Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore and Benjamin Watson, and Newsome didn’t want to find himself scrambling to fill a hole.
“We don’t want to put ourselves in a position with the roster that if you get an injury, that we have to go out on the street and try to find another pass-catching tight end,” Newsome said. “That’s why we decided to bring Mark in, to go along with Hayden.”
Taking two tight ends in the same draft isn’t new to the Ravens, as they selected Pitta and Ed Dickson with back-to-back picks in 2010.
Before draft weekend, Williams and Nick Boyle were the only tight ends on the roster, and both of them are more suited as blockers. They are also entering the final year of their rookie contracts, so the Ravens needed more young options.
Pass-catching tight ends are a huge piece of Baltimore’s offense, and Flacco has thrown the fourth-most passes to tight ends since he came into the league in 2008.
“We have four tight ends,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We have two tight ends here who we really like, and we brought in two tight ends who we really like. We like tight ends here. Our offense is built that way.”
Joining Andrews in Baltimore will be his former Oklahoma teammate Orlando Brown, who the Ravens drafted at pick No. 83 to compete for their starting right tackle spot. The Ravens have used their first four picks in this year’s draft to take offensive players.
“There are more offensive players in this draft,” DeCosta said. “We got lucky. Our offensive side of the board had more offensive players on it.”