Denver Broncos sign former Ravens TE Eric Tomlinson to help replace Noah Fant

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) rushes as Baltimore Ravens tight end Eric Tomlinson (85) blocks during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium
Jan 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) rushes as Baltimore Ravens tight end Eric Tomlinson (85) blocks during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In order to acquire star quarterback Russell Wilson, the Denver Broncos had to sacrifice top tight end Noah Fant as a part of the trade, opening up a massive hole in Denver’s tight end.

Now, as the Broncos look to fill that void, the team has signed tight end Eric Tomlinson away from the Ravens, who should help Denver’s run blocking ability in a major way. That said, Tomlinson will do very little to replace Fant’s receiving production.

Tomlinson has just 18 career receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown, since entering the league in 2016, and since 2019, he has tallied just two receptions for eight yards.

However, although Tomlinson won’t contribute much as a receiver, he should add a ton as a blocker, which the Broncos are in desperate need of at the position.

Albert Okwuegbunam has struggled as a blocker throughout his career, and he’s been especially poor when asked to zone block, which is the foundation of Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. Andrew Beck was re-signed on a one-year deal but might be used more as a fullback than as a tight end.

That leaves the Broncos without a proven option that we know will be next to Okwuegbunam at tight end next year to help in the run game outside of Tomlinson, which is why he’s such a valuable addition.

Per Sports Info Solutions, Tomlinson has a blown block rate of just 1.2% over the course of his career, and, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades, he was the second-best run-blocking tight end in the NFL in 2021.

Javonte Williams should be thrilled.

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