Fullbacks and tight ends play a key role in the Ravens' offense, so it was not surprising to see them take Ben Mason with their final selection in the 2021 draft.
Mason's blocking ability and versatility enhance his chance to find a role in Baltimore's offense. He was converted from linebacker to offense at Michigan and plays with a ferocious mentality. Comparisons between Mason and Ravens fullback Pat Ricard are already being made, including by Ricard himself.
Ricard is a Pro Bowl fullback and Nick Boyle may be the league's best blocking tight end. Now the Ravens add Mason, who, like Boyle, has been known to hurdle would-be tacklers.
After playing for Head Coach Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, Mason will continueto be coached by the Harbaugh family in Baltimore.
"I really enjoyed playing for coach Jim, he was my favorite coach," Mason said. "I can't wait to play for his brother as well."
2020 stats: 2 games, 2 catches, 1 TD, 17 yards
2019 yards: 5 games, 1 rush, 3 yards
How the pick went down: Mason may have lasted until the fifth round, only because many teams won't value his skills as much as the Ravens will. Since Greg Roman became offensive coordinator, Baltimore has run the ball more than any team in the NFL the past two seasons.
Scouting report: "Ben Mason is a dying breed, a true fullback prospect. Mason does offer more than just lead blocking skills - he's been a special teams contributor. Mason should be regarded as a short-yardage and 20 series specialist at the pro level, which will whittle the field of interested teams a fair bit." - Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
Background: Mason grew up in Newtown, Conn., but he was brought to Michigan's attention by the school's former defensive coordinator, Don Brown, who coached at Boston College and saw Mason play in high school. Mason lives in the weight room and can bench press 420 pounds. He won Michigan's Toughest Player Award as a freshman.
What the Ravens said: "He's is Jack and Jackie Harbaugh's favorite player. I think it's pretty easy for anybody who watches us play to see how he's going to fit into our offense." - Head Coach John Harbaugh
"Just really kind of epitomizes what Ravens football is about - tough physical guy, our kind of football player." - General Manager Eric DeCosta
What Mason said: "I'm a player who is very versatile, and that's something that you need to be as a fullback. You need to be able to play in the I-[formation], play a little bit of tight end. That's what I'm going to bring on the offensive side of the ball. And then, I have experience playing defense in my time at Michigan. That's only helped me become a better football player - at defensive tackle. On special teams, I play all four units. I take special teams extremely seriously, and there's no better feeling, to me, than running down on coverage units and meeting the ballcarrier. So, I look forward to making my imprint felt."