Perhaps the most crowded position on the Baltimore Ravens roster is the tight end position. They don’t only have a conflict of who will start but they are also unsure of how many will make the team.
Last season, the Ravens relied on aging tight end Dallas Clark who retired following the season. This was due to the injury that Dennis Pitta suffered to his hip. However, Pitta played in the last few games of the season and will be ready to roll come opening day. He will most likely be the number one tight end but don’t be surprised if he isn’t the featured tight end in every play.
Earlier this offseason, the Ravens acquired Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels has been the second-to-best target on the team ever since he came into the league, posing reliability in the red zone and any short-yardage situation. He has caught 385 passes for 4,617 yards and 29 touchdowns in his eight-year career.
The big question that surrounds his former head coach Gary Kubiak (who is the current Ravens offensive coordinator), will be how the playing time at tight end should be divided between Pitta and Daniels. Daniels is a proven tight end that has caught over 50 passes four times in his career and has been one of the best tight ends in the league over the last eight years. Pitta is a younger up-and-coming star that has potential to be one of the best tight ends in the league very soon.
However, let’s put that discussion aside. The Ravens have three first-year receivers on their roster and all of them have impressed the Ravens in practice. The problem is: you can’t have five tight ends on a roster, even three is a lot. Somehow, someway, the Ravens will have to dump two of these tight ends. These are the candidates:
The guy that has a 99% chance of making the team is rookie Crockett Gillmore. The Ravens took Gillmore in the third round of this year’s draft, and he could immediately jump into an important role for the offense. He’s a big tight end known as a reliable blocker, which is critical to have in Kubiak’s system. He’s also a threat as a pass catcher, hauling in 47 receptions for 577 yards last season at Colorado State. Since he is a third-round pick he will without question make the team.
So what about the other two guys? They have impressed the Ravens very much throughout practice but very few teams, if any, have four tight ends on their roster.
The second candidate is Phillip Supernaw. Supernaw is another Texans transplant who signed with the Ravens this offseason. Supernaw was an undrafted prospect out of Texas’ Ouachita Baptist in 2012, and he was then signed to Houston’s practice squad. Supernaw did get on the active roster last season, when he played in one game but didn’t register any statistics.
Last but not least is Nathan Overbay. Overbay was an undrafted prospect in 2010 out of Eastern Washington and bounced around seven teams during his time in the NFL. He was also on Houston’s practice squad last season, and has previously been with the Steelers, Lions, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Broncos. Overbay has primarily been a practice squad player during his career, and has not yet played in an NFL game.
You can pretty much take Overbay out of the question. That leaves us with Supernaw; what do you do with him? He has only been on one other team in his career and has played well in practice so far. The Ravens have a tough decision facing them with Supernaw. Do you let him go, do you keep four tight ends on the roster, or do you perhaps keep him on the practice squad just in case someone gets hurt? The Ravens have a lot of tough decisions facing them this preseason and this just adds to the list.