BALTIMORE — A few years ago, Jerry Jones focused on making the Dallas Cowboys “Romo friendly.” The Cowboys did everything that they could to make things more conducive to Tony Romo being a successful quarterback. Just the same, the Baltimore Ravens are making selections that are geared towards giving Joe Flacco more weapons on offense. The first move was grabbing a vertical threat to pair with Flacco’s big arm. They addressed another need in the second round.
The Ravens had a need for a pass catching tight end to compliment last year’s third round pick Crockett Gilmore. Hall of Fame tight end and Ravens general manager identified Maxx Williams as a prospect that the Ravens needed to get. The Ravens put together a trade that allowed them to move up three spots by sending the 58th and 158th pick to the Arizona Cardinals for the 55th pick.
Williams recorded 36 receptions for 569 yards and eight touchdowns last season. The best example of the athleticism that Williams brings to the table as a receiver was his 54 yard touchdown reception against Missouri. He caught the ball on a corner route, then hurdled a defender before avoiding another tackle and dove into the end zone for the score. The body control that is required to make that kind of play is rare for an athlete with Williams’ size.
The athleticism and catching ability that Williams possesses caused many to project him into the first round. He said at the combine that he hoped to join his father Brian Williams as an NFL first round draft pick. The elder Williams played for the New York Giants.
Being selected in the first round didn’t come to fruition but in Williams’ mind, he landed in the best place. “I was waiting for my name to get called, for my phone to ring and I am fortunate to be a Raven. Whatever happened, happened. I got drafted as a Baltimore Raven and my dream came true.”
Despite drawing interest from the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons, Williams had a feeling that he would end up being a Raven when he met with them at the combine. NFL Network Analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared Williams to another athletic tight end that played for the Ravens in Todd Heap. Williams mentioned that he wants to be like Jason Witten and Kyle Rudolph because of how they do everything for their team from blocking to catching the ball.
There are two goals that Williams has entering his rookie season. He said that he wants to be a starter and prove that he can make a difference. The other goal is to improve in an area that some perceive as a weakness. Williams spoke about improving his blocking in order to last in the NFL. “I knew going into this draft that I have to get stronger. I have to do everything that I could to prepare and improve my blocking.” Williams continued; “Tight ends have to block, this is the NFL. I am 21 years old, you can always get better. I am just going to go in and try to improve as much as I can from year to year.”
The Ravens are likely to use Williams and Gilmore in more double tight end sets and create mismatches. Make no mistake, the first two selections where made with the intentions of helping Joe Flacco.