Tight End Isaiah Likely, a fourth-round pick in Apil’s 2022 NFL Draft, is already impressing Baltimore Ravens coaches. Taken with the 139th pick, the Coastal Carolina product was not even the first tight end the team drafted. Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar went just before him, but that hasn’t stopped Likely from making waves early on.
The tight end had a superb performance at mandatory minicamp and exceeded expectations. Even star quarterback Lamar Jackson sang his praises. The pair connected effectively at minicamp, and their chemistry will only get stronger as time goes on.
Rookie Isaiah Likely Impressing Baltimore Ravens Coaches Early
Play Style of Isaiah Likely
Don’t expect Isaiah Likely to do much heavy lifting as a blocker early in his career. Standing at 6’4″ and 240-pounds, he is essentially a big receiver. What he lacks as a blocker, he will make up for with his hands. A smooth route runner with reliable hands, his versatility as a pass-catcher has led to him describing himself as a ‘chess piece’.
An underrated aspect of Likely’s game is his elite speed. Given his small and lean physique, it is no surprise that Likely is much faster than average for his position. Not only does Likely possess the necessary speed to beat defenders after the catch, but his unique vertical speed also makes him a dangerous deep threat when matched up against linebackers and safeties.
Despite Likely’s many assets, there were certainly justifiable reasons why he fell to the fourth round of the draft. Other rookie tight ends like Trey McBride and Jeremy Ruckert, who can also block, can play on more downs. This contrasts with Likely, who will only be used as a receiver.
The receiving aspect of Likely’s game is not perfect, however. The main criticisms of Likely are his inability to win contested catches and his lack of physicality and playing strength.
Isaiah Likely is a Lock for a Role
It seems inevitable that Likely will find himself a spot on the roster for the 2022 season.
The Baltimore Ravens use their tight ends more than any other team in the league. Mark Andrews will undoubtedly lead the tight end room after another elite campaign in 2021. However, after Andrews, the Ravens have Nick Boyle, Charlie Kolar, and minicamp standout, Likely. While Boyle and Kolar are more traditional tight ends, Likely offers something a bit different as primarily a receiving tight end.
With the Ravens losing Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown to the Arizona Cardinals via trade, Baltimore’s lack of receiver depth suggests that Likely could find a specialized role as a receiving tight end/slot receiver hybrid.
With training camp and preseason coming soon, Likely will hope to continue his impressive form as the 2022 regular season approaches.
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