Isaiah Likely

Ravens Eyeing Increased Role For TE Isaiah Likely

Mark Andrews missed significant time in 2023, and his absence left the Ravens without their top tight end option. It also opened the door to increased playing time for Isaiah Likely, however, and he showed considerable potential.

In total, Likely racked up 411 yards and five touchdowns on 30 catches in 2023, his second year in the league. Much of that production came when Andrews was sidelined, but Baltimore’s offense could look to include both on the field moving forward. That has been showcased by the many roles Likely has seen time in this spring.

The 24-year-old indicated (via Ryan Mink of the team’s website) he has taken snaps in several spots on offense this offseason. Doing so will allow offensive coordinator Todd Monken to find ways to have both Andrews and Likely on the field together. Baltimore rarely used two tight end sets in 2023, but putting the latter in a variety of spots could change that this season.

“It’s being a chess piece, being anywhere ‘Monk’ needs me to be in this offense – whether it’s in the slot, in-line, in the backfield, split out wide by myself,” Likely said of the experiments with his positioning. “The more you know, the more you can stay on the field.”

Likely showed his pass-catching potential as a rookie, and his success when thrust into a starting role in Year 2 will lead to high expectations. The Coastal Carolina product is not known for his run blocking, so giving him looks not only in the slot but on the perimeter would be sensible. Baltimore’s receiving core is led by Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor and fourth-round rookie Devontez WalkerRunning back addition Derrick Henry does not have a track record of notable production in the passing game, and that should not be expected to change in 2024.

Of course, Henry (along with quarterback Lamar Jackson) being in the fold means the Ravens will remain a run-heavy offense moving forward. Likely’s play to date has garnered interest in a increased workload, though, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out during training camp this summer. Two years remain on his rookie contract, so a strong campaign in 2024 could set him up for an extension.

Ravens Notes: Biegel, Linderbaum, Ojabo, Roster Bubble

Vince Biegel‘s season has ended before it even started. The Ravens linebacker suffered a torn Achilles on Thursday and will miss the 2022 season, per the team’s website.

The linebacker has bounced around the NFL during his four years in the league, spending time with the Packers, Saints, and Dolphins. Following a 2020 season where he compiled 59 tackles and 2.5 sacks in a career-high 15 games (10 starts) with the Dolphins, he was limited to only two tackles in five contests with Miami in 2021. He caught on with the Ravens this offseason, and according to Ryan Mink of the team website, Biegel had made a strong impression during the first few days of camp.

“Vince was fighting to make the team,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He would have had a great chance to make it, because he’s just a solid, tough, talented guy who does everything exactly right as hard as he can.”

The Ravens were already eyeing a depleted linebackers depth chart with Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo sidelined. The team’s current options consist of Odafe Oweh, Justin Houston, Daelin Hayes, Steven Means, and a handful of rookies.

More notes out of Baltimore:

  • Fortunately, there was some good news on the Ravens’ injury front. While first-round rookie center Tyler Linderbaum limped off the field during practice, an X-ray confirmed he avoided a major injury. “He’s going to be fine,” Harbaugh said (via Mink). “Didn’t get stepped on, kind of just … It’s a physical drill there, and [he] came up a little sore. They’ve looked at it, X-rayed it. They’ll do an MRI on it to make sure, but all indications are it’s nothing serious at all.” Beside the rookie, the Ravens have veteran Patrick Mekari to step in at center.
  • We previously heard that Ojabo’s brief holdout was an attempt to get more guaranteed money in the third year of his rookie contract. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), the rookie ended up getting $700K of that 2024 base salary guaranteed. As our own Ely Allen previously pointed out, the player selected just before Ojabo at 44th overall is John Metchie III, who received $800,000 (55.61%) of his third year guaranteed. The pick immediately after Ojabo at 46th overall is Joshua Paschal, whose guaranteed third-year money dropped dramatically to $275,000 (22.02%).
  • Guard Ben Powers could find himself on the trade block depending on the status of Ben Cleveland and Tyre Phillips, writes Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Powers has 19 career starts, so he’d surely appeal to a squad seeking some guard depth. Meanwhile, Zrebiec writes that running back Mike Davis could be fighting with Tyler Badie and Justice Hill for two open roster spots. The veteran was brought in this offseason to provide some depth while J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards return to full health, but he may not be needed if the duo is ready for the start of the season.
  • In a stock report of Baltimore’s minicamp, Zrebiec provides a handful of interesting tidbits related to the Ravens. Fourth-round rookie Isaiah Likely will find himself behind Mark Andrews on the depth chart, but he also “seems close to certain to have a notable Week 1 role with the Ravens.” Meanwhile, versatile defensive back Brandon Stephens has been preparing to play cornerback after starting 11 games at safety last season.
  • The Ravens’ other fourth-round rookie tight end, Charlie Kolar, had sports hernia surgery earlier this week, per Zrebiec. “It’s a thing that was lingering from college,” Harbaugh said. “He actually had a sports hernia from college, had a surgery. They’re going to redo that one as well. We’ll get it cleaned up now. I think he felt like he could manage it, but it’s gotten to the point where it needs to be fixed.”