Ravens add veteran to tight end mix for start of training camp

August 03, 2020 | Luke Jones

The man replaced by Hayden Hurst at the University of South Carolina will now attempt to win Hurst’s old roster spot with the Ravens.

Baltimore signed tight end Jerell Adams to their preseason roster on Monday as the 27-year-old will compete with 2019 practice-squad member Charles Scarff and rookie free agent Eli Wolf for the No. 3 job behind Nick Boyle and Mark Andrews. The signing comes as many have speculated about the Ravens pursuing three-time Pro Bowl selection Delanie Walker, who played for offensive coordinator Greg Roman in San Francisco. Baltimore was also linked to former Washington tight end Jordan Reed before the 30-year-old agreed to a deal with San Francisco on Monday.

A 2016 sixth-round pick of the New York Giants, Adams also spent time with Houston and New Orleans and has registered 24 receptions for 214 yards and a touchdown in 30 career games. The signing hardly prevents general manager Eric DeCosta from considering more established options at the tight end position such as Walker or Charles Clay. According to SharpFootballStats.com, the 2019 Ravens used at least two tight ends on 42 percent of their plays and three tight ends just under 7.5 percent of the time, making clear the importance of finding a viable replacement for Hurst.

Baltimore tight ends combined for 125 receptions, 1,522 yards, and 14 touchdowns last season, but Hurst — who made 30 catches for 349 yards and two touchdowns — was traded to Atlanta in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick used on running back J.K. Dobbins. Hurst, a 2018 first-round pick, played the same number of offensive snaps as Andrews last season, again illustrating the need for a third option to emerge.

Adams has appeared in only one game over the last two seasons, spending most of that time on the practice squads of the Texans and Saints. His addition comes after head coach John Harbaugh revealed rookie tight end Jake Breeland would miss the 2020 season while still recovering from a serious knee injury suffered while playing at the University of Oregon last year.

Ravens “ready to go” physically

While most focus is on COVID-19 testing at the start of training camp, many have wondered how a remote offseason program conducted away from the Owings Mills facility might impact the conditioning of players who had varying degrees of access to gyms and trainers.

However, head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders deemed the Ravens “ready to go” Monday after the organization held virtual workouts and sent training equipment to players across the country this spring. Saunders said his staff had to be “very creative” organizing online workouts, but players “didn’t miss a beat” physically from a typical spring and summer.

“For us, this is just really an opportunity that’s unexpected that we have to just pick up where we left off and then keep on going and really get the guys ramped up for the season,” said Saunders about the extended acclimation period before the start of practices later this month. “We’re really excited about it. I feel like we’re in a great place and we can just build on it and go from here.”

Quiet transaction sheet

The Ravens placed center Matt Skura (left knee) on the active physically unable to perform list on Sunday, but their transaction wire has remained relatively quiet despite numerous players around the NFL testing positive for the coronavirus.

To this point, undrafted rookie safety Nigel Warrior is the only Baltimore player to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, but return specialist De’Anthony Thomas and offensive tackle Andre Smith elected to opt out of the 2020 season last week.

The Ravens waiving 2019 fifth-round defensive tackle Daylon Mack over the weekend was a reminder of how stiff the competition will be for young, unproven players to crack the 53-man roster. Appearing in only one game as a rookie, Mack was claimed off waivers by Detroit on Sunday.