With a 5-2 record despite a myriad of injuries to key players, the Baltimore Ravens have succeeded due to a mixture of new and familiar faces.
While additions like outside linebacker Justin Houston and wide receiver Sammy Watkins have made clear impacts in Baltimore’s’ first seven games, returning players like Lamar Jackson and Calais Campbell have anchored the Ravens on both sides of the ball.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus has been especially impressed with the play of two Ravens this season: tight end Mark Andrews and kicker Justin Tucker. Both were named to PFF’s Midseason All-Pro Team today for their contributions this season.
This is Andrews’ first appearance on PFF’s annual list, while Tucker has appeared as an honorable mention in the past, most recently last year.
With several other wideouts around the league having fantastic years, Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown missed the cut at wide receiver, while Calais Campbell didn’t receive any recognition despite a 84.0 overall grade that ranks fifth among all interior defenders.
Andrews’ inclusion on the list is hardly surprising considering his status as PFF’s top-graded tight end this season with a 91.2 overall grade. The next best tight end this season? Dallas Goedert of the Philadelphia Eagles, who has an 84.5 overall grade.
It may seem like Andrews is seeing a huge uptick in workload, but it’s more about him being efficient with the same usage, and his quarterback is doing the same. Andrews has seen 49 targets this season compared to 105 last year, but those targets are generating a 129.3 passer rating in 2021 compared to a 99.3 mark last year. He has yet to drop a pass this year after eight drops last season and has brought in six of his eight catchable contested targets.
Andrews is sitting on the best PFF receiving grade of his career and has been a true difference-maker at a position where some of the usual stars haven’t been quite as productive.
Even more impressive is Andrews’ ability to excel in a variety of roles. His 90.1 receiving grade not only leads all tight ends, but it’s better than all but two wide receivers–Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp–this season.
But with the loss of tight end Nick Boyle this season, the Ravens have leaned on Andrews as a blocker as well this season. He’s answered the call with an 81.6 run blocking grade, best among all tight ends and second to only one fullback, teammate Patrick Ricard.
If Andrews can keep his incredible pace this season, he’ll be a virtual lock for an official All-Pro nod at the end of the season.
The Ravens kicker is widely considered the best kicker in the NFL, and he’s laid further stake to that claim this season. Not only does Tucker own the highest field goal make percentage in league history, he also set an NFL record with a ridiculous game-winning 66-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions.
That’s the main basis for Tucker’s inclusion on this list, according to Monson, who wrote, “Tucker’s highlight is still a 66-yard NFL record kick, but he is also perfect from beyond 50 yards and has missed just one field goal on the season.”
Tucker has been as consistent as ever this season, hitting 13 of his 14 attempts and all 15 of his extra points.
But his 66-yard field goal in Detroit is by far the crowning achievement of his season, if not his career. He could join Andrews on the year-end All-Pro list if he continues his excellence for the rest of the year, especially from long range.