The fact that Nick Boyle's absence against the Tennessee Titans proved to be a huge blow to the Ravens' offense illustrates just far how the tight end has elevated his game this season.
Six months ago, tight end was considered the Ravens' deepest, strongest position. Veteran Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore and Darren Waller were all back, 14-year pro Ben Watson was returning from an Achilles injury and promising Maxx Williams -- taken in the same draft as Boyle but three rounds earlier -- was coming back from a knee injury.
Boyle, meanwhile, had played in just six games last season after serving a 10-game suspension for a second violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He totaled six catches for 44 yards last season, so his role entering 2017, given the apparent glut at tight end, was uncertain.