The Ravens are getting creative to add some more depth to their tight end group.
Second-year pass catcher Darren Waller is going to try to make the move from wide receiver to tight end, General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Thursday during a press conference to also introduce veteran tight end acquisition Benjamin Watson.
Waller, 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, looks like he could be a perfect fit at tight end from a physical standpoint. He has the size to match up on the line of scrimmage, and he can also outrun linebackers or safeties in coverage. Waller ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at last year's combine.
"We just feel like a 250-pound wide receiver who can run like he can has a chance to maybe grow into a tight end," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He's embraced it, and he's working on that right now in the offseason."
The sixth-round pick out of Georgia Teach played in six games as a rookie, catching two passes for 18 yards. Both of those receptions came in a primetime victory over the Steelers early in the season.
Waller was also valuable on special teams before a hamstring injury abruptly ended his season and placed him on injured reserve.
The Ravens found themselves somewhat shorthanded at the tight end position this offseason because starter Crockett Gillmore underwent surgeries to repair torn labrums in both shoulders, and Nick Boyle was suspended 10 games for his second violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Adding Watson gives the Ravens another proven starter, and Waller will compete for a spot along with some of the other young tight ends on the roster. The other tight ends currently on the roster are Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta, Chase Ford, Konrad Reuland and Harold Spears.
Despite the addition of Watson and moving Waller, the Ravens are still optimistic that Gillmore will be ready to play by the start of the season.
"We got positive news last week, but he still has as recovery road to go down in order to get himself ready for the beginning of the year," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "But I feel very good, barring any setbacks."