Ravens Committed ‘Thievery’ With 4th-Rd Pick Compared to All-Pro

Mark Andrews

Getty The Ravens committed "thievery" by drafting another Mark Andrews.

The Baltimore Ravens have been almost universally praised for what they achieved during the 2022 NFL draft. Yet, most of the praise focused on the picks made at the top of the class, first-rounders safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum.

Both should be day-one starters as rookies, but there was depth as well as value to the Ravens’ draft haul. One of the hidden gems among the 11 picks made by general manager Eric DeCosta has been tipped to add a lot to the Ravens’ passing game.

The Ravens have been accused of committing “thievery” by landing a prospect with this much potential in the fourth round. In doing so, DeCosta may have acquired another Mark Andrews.

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Prospect Compared to Mark Andrews Declared a Steal

DeCosta had six selections in Round 4, but he’d used two of them before taking the player CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso believes was the best pick made by the Ravens. Trapasso focused on the first of the two tight ends taken by DeCosta, Charlie Kolar:

Mark Andrews was my pre-draft comparison for Kolar. Imagine that. Everything about his ability on the field feels like it will translate immediately to the NFL. Kolar’s a decently explosive, noticeably savvy route runner. He catches everything in his vicinity, regardless of whether he’s open or there’s a linebacker in tight coverage. And he provides some juice after the catch. He’s the chef’s kiss GIF of tight end prospects. To get him in Round 4 was thievery and embodied what’s become a classic Eric DeCosta pick. Kolar will learn from Andrews and supplement him perfectly early in his pro career. Kolar went over 40 catches and 575 yards in each of his final three seasons at Iowa State and caught a grand total of 20 touchdowns in that span. He’s going to be good.

The comparison with Andrews is a lofty, but exciting one for Ravens fans. Andrews has earned two Pro Bowl nods and been named an All-Pro since being taken in the third round back in 2018.

He’s since become the go-to target for quarterback Lamar Jackson. Andrews caught 107 passes for 1,361 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

The tight end almost single-handedly carried the passing attack in most games, especially against the Green Bay Packers in Week 15:

Andrew will still be the Ravens’ main receiving threat this season, but he needs support. Kolar can provide help after a prolific career at the collegiate level, where he “racked up at least 590 receiving yards and six touchdowns in each of his final three seasons at Iowa State,” per Mike Band of Next Gen Stats.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman can put Kolar and Andrews on the same side of the formation and force covering defenders to play a difficult guessing game. It will be harder to double Andrews when Kolar takes the field at the same time. Kolar will also ensure the Ravens remain efficient throwing between the hashmarks because of his skills from the slot.

Heavy’s front office insider Randy Mueller explained Kolar’s value when he lines up inside: “As a 1-on-1 matchup nightmare in the slot where he was used a lot in college and a very tough guy to play through to get to the ball at the catch point — even when they do cover him — Kolar was impressive on tape. He jumped out at me while watching RB Breece Hall during the pre-draft run-up. He has a great feel for getting open versus zone coverage but yet can separate versus man-to-man.”

Kolar was particularly impressive in the red zone, scoring 23 touchdowns during his time with the Cyclones. This scoring grab against Texas Tech showcased Kolar’s knack for getting open at the business end of the field:

Kolar and his fellow fourth-round tight end, Isaiah Likely, will join Andrews to form the focal point of Jackson’s contingent of pass-catches. A plethora of tight ends will help compensate for a lack of standout wide receivers on the roster.

Ravens Covering for WR Issues

There’s no hiding from the Ravens’ paucity of talent at receiver. The rotation already looked suspect, even before DeCosta dealt Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown to the Arizona Cardinals for a first-round pick.

Sending Brown to the NFC West leaves an unconvincing group at the position. This group contains James Proche II, Devin Duvernay and Tylan Wallace. They combined for just 51 catches for a mere 497 yards and two touchdowns last season.

There is some hope for second-year man Rashod Bateman, who impressed in flashes as a rookie. Bateman averaged 11.2 yards per reception, but he missed five games and started just four thanks to groin injuries.

The Ravens believed in Bateman’s potential enough to make him the 27th player taken in the 2021 draft. While they may believe in Bateman, it would require a considerable leap of faith for the Ravens to believe their current options at wideout are strong enough to help the team compete in 2022.

Those doubts may be motivating a search for proven help at the position. “Due diligence” is already being performed to assess available veterans, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports:

With proven receivers like Jarvis Landry and T.Y. Hilton still needing to find new homes, it makes sense for the Ravens to keep a close eye on the market. Kolar, Andrews and Likely will allow Roman to get creative, but things will be easier for both Jackson and his underneath receivers if there’s a true field-stretcher on the outside.

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