"The Competition" is a series that breaks down every position battle leading up to training camp.
Dennis Pitta (6-foot-4, 245 pounds, 6th season)
Crockett Gillmore (6-6, 251, 2nd season)
Allen Reisner (6-3, 255, 3rd season)
Konrad Reuland (6-5, 260, 3rd season)
Maxx Williams (6-4, 250, second round)
Nick Boyle (6-4, 270, fifth round)
The biggest question at tight end centers on Pitta. He's recovering from a second major hip injury in as many seasons, and he participated throughout the offseason program with the hope of playing again in 2015. But he has yet to get medical clearance, and even when that happens, he'll still have to decide if he wants to play given the risk.
If Pitta is unable to play this year, then Gillmore is the likely favorite to step into the starting job. He was one of the top performers of the offseason practices, showing that he's far more than just a blocker. He caught everything thrown his way and quickly developed chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco. Williams will also challenge for a starting spot. He was regarded as the top tight end in the draft, and has the tools to be a difference-maker for the offense.
Key Role Players
Boyle was a pleasant surprise during offseason practices. As a late-round pick from a small school, he didn't look overmatched in transitioning* *to the NFL. He has the size to be a punishing blocker in the run game, but also displayed good hands during practice. The Ravens will use plenty of double tight-end sets, and Boyle will compete with Williams for those reps.
Most Anticipated Battle
The top competition at tight end is for a starting job. Gillmore seems to have the edge going into training camp, but Williams will challenge him for playing time. If Pitta returns, the competition gets a little more interesting because he will likely re-gain his starting job. The No. 2 spot would then be up for grabs between Williams and Gillmore. At the other end of the depth chart, Reisner and Reuland will compete to show they're deserving of a spot on the roster.
The starting lineup may have some new faces at tight end this season.