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The Competition 2016: Tight End


"The Competition" is a series that breaks down every position battle leading up to training camp.

Returning Players

Crockett Gillmore (6-foot-6, 270 pounds, third season)
Dennis Pitta (6-4, 245, seventh season)
Maxx Williams (6-4, 250, second season)
Nick Boyle (6-4, 260, second season)
Darren Waller (6-6, 245, second season)

Free-Agent Signings

Benjamin Watson (6-3, 255, 13th season)

Projected Starters

This is a tough one between Gillmore, Pitta and Watson. Gillmore was last year's starter and showed a lot of promise, despite playing through shoulder injuries for the majority of the season. He's a big, bruising tight end who is very difficult to bring down once he has the ball. He also may be the group's best blocker. But Pitta used to be the starter before his second hip injury. If he's healthy, does he reassume the lead spot or convert to more of just a receiving threat? Watson is coming off a career year and signed a two-year deal worth a reported $8 million this offseason. The Ravens are going to get him on the field a lot.

Key Role Players

Whoever ends up being the No. 2 and No. 3 tight ends will still play big roles, whether those are more as a receiver or blocker. And don't forget about Williams, who set Ravens rookie tight end franchise records last year. He's another big-bodied, soft-handed pass catcher who is tough to bring down. If Williams continues his growth, he could be another impact player. Boyle will return from suspension after 10 games, and it will be interesting to see whether the Ravens find a spot for him. Boyle showed promise as a rookie. If Waller makes the team, he's a force on special teams.

Most Anticipated Battle

Gillmore sat out 11-on-11 drills during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp. Once he's on the field, the competition for the starting job can kick off. More than just finding the starter will be developing a pecking order and determining everyone's role. Attention will still be on Pitta to see if he can withstand the daily grind of training camp and recapture his previous form.

We're looking at competitive positions heading into Organized Team Activities, where players will battle for depth chart positioning. The Ravens have a stable of talented tight ends with no pecking order.

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