Tight end Charles Scarff is competing for a spot on the Ravens’ roster after spending last season on the practice squad, but his experiences at Ravens camp aren’t limited to the past two years as a player.
Scarff is a native of Lancaster, Pa., and his grandfather used to take him to Ravens camp. Those are memories he holds dear to this day.
“I got Derrick Mason’s autograph after practice,” Scarff said on Glenn Clark Radio Aug. 26. “He wore No. 85 and I’m wearing No. 85. I thought that was pretty cool, and he was just the nicest guy and one of the Ravens’ all-time greats. That was cool, just to be a kid and going to training camp and watching it. … It’s been a cool, full-circle kind of thing.”
The Ravens are coming off a 14-2 season and have Super Bowl aspirations in 2020. Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle are locks for the 53-man roster provided they stay healthy. The Ravens typically keep three tight ends, though they kept four in 2018. Veteran Jerell Adams and undrafted rookie Eli Wolf (Georgia) are the two other tight ends battling for a spot. Adams appears to have a leg up on Scarff and Wolf, though the Ravens may simply opt to use Patrick Ricard as the third tight end.
The 6-foot-5, 249-pound Scarff began his college career at Rutgers in 2015 before playing at Delaware from 2016-2018. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Ravens in 2019. He caught 43 passes for 498 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior with the Blue Hens. The trade of Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons this offseason – and the Ravens passing on signing a replacement – opened the door for competition at tight end this summer.
“Very good athletes and some pretty good competition,” Scarff said of Adams and Wolf. “We’re all working. I think the phrase is iron sharpens iron, so we’re getting each other better, helping each other out. I’m really just trying to do everything that I can to be a part of this ballclub. … It’s a lot of hard work, but I feel I can improve every day and get better and just trying to do everything I can to be with the Ravens again.”
Should a third tight end make the team, he’ll likely have a role in offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s system, which relies heavily on tight ends. Andrews, Boyle and Hurst accounted for 43 percent of the Ravens’ receptions last year, and they were asked to take on big roles in the run game as well.
Tight end is a difficult position to learn at the pro level because of the myriad responsibilities tight ends have in all phases of a team’s offense, according to Scarff, and that’s particularly true with the Ravens.
“We’re involved in the run game, we’re running routes and pass protection — especially with Baltimore we’re doing a lot of motions and shifts,” Scarff said. “A lot of times there’s two or three tight ends on the field at the same time, so you kind of have to understand the whole concept of the play rather than just one position. There’s definitely a lot to it.”
Luckily for Scarff, he has Boyle, a fellow Blue Hen, to learn from. Boyle played in 41 games across his four-year career at Delaware, catching 101 passes for 984 yards and 12 touchdowns from 2011-2014. He’s known as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL and was a key part of the Ravens’ historic running game last year.
Though Scarff never got to play with Boyle at Delaware, he’s taking advantage of that opportunity now.
“I think just watching him has really helped my game a lot,” Scarff said. “He’s just a student of the game. He comes to work every day and [has] his notebook. He writes down everything and takes everything so seriously and it shows. He’s one of the best at what he does. Just a great person to learn from and it’s cool that we’re both from Delaware, Delaware ties and stuff like that. It’s definitely a blessing to have him to learn from.”
To hear more from Scarff, including his ties to Fallston, Md., listen here: