The Baltimore Ravens have one of the best reputations in the NFL when it comes to the NFL Draft and utilizing each draft to its’ fullest potential. This year they selected ten players and it is pretty easy to visualize a role for each one of them, but one of the most important draftees from this year’s class will be FB/TE Kyle Juszczyk.
Selected in the fourth round out of Harvard, Juszczyk is one of the more versatile players in the draft and brings a wide variety of options to the Ravens offense. Juszcyk could come in to pick up the tough yards on third and short, sit back and pass protect for Joe Flacco, open up a running lane for Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce, and even get out in open space to catch the football and do some damage.
First we will look at the most obvious benefit now of having Juszczyk which is the whole Dennis Pitta situation. Now that the Ravens have lost Pitta for the season, Ed Dickson and newly signed Visanthe Shiancoe take over the tight end role, but Juszyzck can certainly help in this situation. Baltimore has a wide open competition for the slot receiver position and neither Dickson or Shiancoe have the speed to fill that role and no wide receiver has really grabbed a hold of the spot so far. Juszczyk has good speed for his size and has good hands, we are not saying he could be a slot receiver, but if you can put both he and Rice on the field at the same time, the Ravens offense instantly adds two guys who can catch the ball in a wide variety of plays.
Juszczyk was a guy who was a triple threat at Harvard. At times he ran the football exclusively, other times he blocked exclusively and the most versatile aspect of his game; at times he caught the ball exclusively. He is a legitimate triple threat at the fullback position which is going to bring loads of options to this Ravens offense and Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell.
Baltimore will certainly use Juszczyk in a variety of ways throughout the season, which will likely include special teams play as well, but let’s look at some specific ways he will help this offense.
Also, Juszczyk could see a lot of carries on short yardage situations as he does bring a 6'1'' 248 pound frame, which will be a load for opposing defenses to tackle. He will also be able to sneak out of the backfield on certain pass plays and serve as a check down for Flacco, on short yardage situations where the opposing defense stacks the line of scrimmage.
The Ravens were obviously confident in Kyle's ability to play fullback as they released the Pro Bowler Vonta leach earlier this offseason so it shows that Baltimore loves what Juszczyk can bring to this team. Although Baltimore recently resigned Leach, the Ravens know they have a unique weapon in the versatile Juszczyk.
Baltimore lives by the motto of “next man up” and by drafting Juszczyk, they have given themselves many more options on the offensive side of the football. Get used to having to pronounce his name Ravens fans because Juszczyk is going to be a major factor this season.
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