Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Immediately upon declaring for the 2015 NFL Draft, former Gophers’ tight end Maxx Williams went to the top of anyone’s pre-draft rankings at the position. So it was not surprising when he was the first tight end drafted, and the Baltimore Ravens took Williams with their second-round pick (55th overall).
With big questions surrounding Dennis Pitta’s health and future as a player, Williams looked likely to immediately become Baltimore’s No. 1 tight end. But multiple ailments limited him during training camp, and he did not shed a non-contact jersey in practice until five days before Sunday’s season opener.
Due to Williams’ slow start over the course of camp, Crockett Gillmore was elevated to the top of the tight end depth chart for the Ravens to start the season. But the team did not get much going offensively against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, and Baltimore’s top two tight ends combined for three receptions and 38 receiving yards as quarterback Joe Flacco went 18-for-32 for just 117 yards with two interceptions.
Williams caught one of his two targets against the Broncos, for 15 yards. The dismal showing the Ravens put together held everyone’s numbers down though, and splitting time with Gillmore obviously didn’t do Williams any favors.
Williams surely has some catching up to do in terms of physical conditioning, due to all the time he missed during camp as well as late in the preseason, and I assume his grasp of Baltimore’s offense under new coordinator Marc Trestman could also improve. Once the physical and mental side of the NFL game come together for Williams, presumably over the course of this season, I expect his role to expand.
Outside of wide receiver Steve Smith, the Ravens seriously lack proven, talented pass catchers around Flacco. So there should be a substantial role waiting for Williams, as long as he earns it and can follow that up with solid production relatively quickly.
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