OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Ravens made a surprise move when they picked two tight ends in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Baltimore picked Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar with the 128th pick and then picked Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely just 11 picks later.
Kolar plays like a true tight end, while Likely can perform as a big wideout due to the speed with which he comes down the field.
“This is a very fascinating player,” Ravens director of player staff Joe Hortiz said of Likely. “I remember seeing him on tape early on. It was just, ‘Man, this guy does plays all the time.’ He sets up as a receiver, he catches the ball as a wide receiver. He stands at the tight end. You move him. They run him in boots – in the drag boots and stuff – and he’s just really electric. He runs downstairs. “
He probably likes to stretch the field and has had five career receptions of 50+ yards. He also had 27 career touchdowns and 2,000+ yards catching in four years at Coastal Carolina.
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He was a Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) All-American team last season.
He’s likely confident the Ravens will capitalize on his versatility.
“I know it’s really unique. I know the Ravens really do play with more than one tight end, so I know the gameplay is obviously even in the first year,” Likely said. “I know Lamar Jackson does a lot of great things with the ball in his hands, whether it’s RPOs [run-pass option]whether it’s a fallback or if it’s just a bag that collapses and he’s just looking at the field.
“Lamar Jackson is a playmaker himself. So he always tries to find eyes on the field and tries to look for either the tight end or the long shot [for] a great way to get things done early in my career.”
He’s also likely to be able to play like a true tight end and is adept at blocking, which will be an asset for him to get onto the field with the Ravens. The team will look to make the most of their talents on the ever-evolving offense.
“Sometimes he blocks people and hits them downfield,” Hortiz said. “It’s just an interesting guy, but you watch him, [and] it’s not like an obvious positional adjustment; He’s just a playmaker guy. So, I think he’s really intriguing and it’s going to be… We’re looking forward to finding out exactly where he fits in, but he definitely fits in as a playmaker.”