Ravens Rookie Continues To Shine In Preseason

August 22, 2022

Have the Baltimore Ravens found themselves another steal in their rookie tight end Isaiah Likely? He had an outstanding game in the team’s last preseason game.

The Baltimore Ravens wrapped up their second preseason game Sunday with a 24-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, marking their 22nd consecutive preseason victory. Many of the Ravens’ young talents got to showcase their skills while most of the team’s starters sat out the game on the sidelines. Players like second-year edge rusher Odafe Oweh continue to showcase their improvements while rookies such as defensive tackle Travis Jones also showed more flashes.

Ravens Rookie, Isaiah Likely, Has A Dominant Preseason Outing

However, the talk of Charm City right now is rookie tight end Isaiah Likely, who finished his early night with 100 yards and a touchdown on just eight receptions. Likely was the second of two tight ends selected on day three of the 2022 NFL Draft, a fourth-round selection by the Baltimore Ravens out of Coastal Carolina University. With fellow rookie tight end, Charlie Kolar sidelined by injury Likely has made the most of his opportunities despite being mere preseason snaps. 

During his match with the Cardinals, Likely looked tough through the catch point, with his most impressive play coming when he broke away from a defender attempting to make a tackle for extra yardage. Additionally, his lone touchdown came when he was surrounded by multiple Cardinals defenders and had to survive a big hit in the endzone. Likely has fashioned a consistent rapport with Tyler Huntley through the preseason and has become a safety blanket for the third-year quarterback. 

It’s important not to overreact to meaningless preseason games however it’s impossible not to be excited about the potential of Likely. He’s shown off soft hands and an ability to make defenders miss after the catch. Although he’s playing against backups, Likely skills will certainly continue to translate to an actual game setting. Nick Boyle is still the Ravens’ second tight end on their depth chart, however, Likely is making a case for a more significant role during the regular season. 

If you followed the NFL Draft in any capacity, then Likely’s flashes should come as no surprise whatsoever. Likely was a significant part of the Chantliers’ offense, being a go-to target for quarterback Grayson McCall. He routinely made impressive jump ball catches in the Sun Belt, using his concentration skills and hand strength to bring down some tough catches in crowded situations. Oddly enough, Likely’s biggest play came against Arkansas State where he found himself wide open down the field, using his breakaway speed to score a long touchdown. 

Despite an incredible career at Coastal Carolina, Likely’s pre-draft process wasn’t as impressive relative to his peers. Likely’s athletic scores were below average for the tight end position, as he finished the pre-draft workouts with a RAS score of 4.84. This composite score includes a 4.80 40-yard dash and a 2.95 in the three-cone drill. As a result, Likely fell down some draft boards and was labeled as a day three player where he ultimately ended up. 

From my personal evaluations, Likely was a late-round three player with the potential to grow into a number one tight end while displaying the floor of a high-end number two. As mentioned previously, Likely will play being Nick Boyle as the team’s tight end three. As such, it stands to reason the Baltimore Ravens might be able to replicate their 2019 offensive success with more three tight end looks. 

Hayden Hurst was excellent during Lamar Jackson’s MVP run, due in part to how the Ravens utilized him. Hurst was moved almost everywhere, creating miss matches that allowed him to manipulate yards as an extra receiver. With Likely’s struggles as a blocker, he could grow into an excellent move tight end for the Baltimore Ravens.