Jake Ballard TE ARI 11 Months

The Ravens will work out free agent TE Jake Ballard on Monday.

Ballard was among the Patriots' final cuts. Baltimore has to be displeased with its current tight ends after Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark's drop- and error-filled NFL opener. Ballard, 25, is primarily a blocker on the line.

Jake Ballard TE ARI 11 Months

Patriots waived TE Jake Ballard.

The writing was on the wall for Ballard when Lions defensive linemen were rag-dolling him in the Pats' third preseason game. 25 years old with bad knees, Ballard may generate light interest on waivers, but is unlikely to ever be a fantasy asset again. He's a big, plodding in-line tight end who looks maxed out as a player. The Patriots' release of Ballard likely means Rob Gronkowski (back) will avoid reserve/PUP to open the season.

Jake Ballard TE ARI 11 Months

The Patriots are expected to open the season with Jake Ballard in Rob Gronkowski's old in-line tight end role, and Zach Sudfeld in Hernandez's "flex" tight end position.

Although Ballard can't come close to matching Gronk's receiving skills, he is an efficient blocker at the line of scrimmage, helping Stevan Ridley's fantasy cause. Sudfeld is also an obvious downgrade from Hernandez, although he could be rather heavily targeted in the passing game at least until Gronkowski gets back. Ballard appears to have beaten out Daniel Fells for the in-line tight end position. He still holds very little fantasy appeal. Sudfeld is worth drafting as a back-end TE1 in the short term.

Jake Ballard TE ARI 12 Months

Patriots TE Jake Ballard has fallen behind journeyman Daniel Fells and UDFA Zach Sudfeld in the training camp pecking order.

Per the Boston Globe, Ballard "has looked stiff at times" on the practice field. He's also vying with Michael Hoomanawanui for a roster spot. The Patriots could still end up keeping Ballard on the 53-man roster to be an in-line blocker.

Jake Ballard TE ARI 12 Months

ESPN Boston agrees that TE Jake Ballard "could have a tough time" cracking the Patriots' 53-man roster.

Another layer of the onion is peeled away. Beat writer Mike Reiss believes Ballard's knee is still an issue. Ballard drew massive sleeper hype in the wake of Rob Gronkowski's surgeries and Aaron Hernandez's release, but the fact remains that he's an extremely limited athlete coming back from a major injury of his own. There's a reason the Giants were willing to try and sneak Ballard through waivers last summer. Even if he does earn a roster spot, Ballard is not going to be a fantasy factor.

Jake Ballard TE ARI 12 Months

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on NFL Insiders that TE Jake Ballard is in danger of not making the Patriots' roster.

"He's struggled so much there's now even a question whether he'll make the roster," were Mort's words. Ballard has been in and out of practice, battling complications from his knee reconstruction and microfracture surgeries. He was never a realistic fantasy option, and that's clearer than ever now. Rookie Zach Sudfeld has passed Ballard as both a real-life and fantasy prospect.

Jake Ballard TE ARI 12 Months

Jake Ballard (knee) was unable to participate in Saturday's intra-squad scrimmage.

Per the Providence Journal, Ballard is "having problems" as he returns from his ACL reconstruction and microfracture surgery. After looking strong in the first couple days after coming off active/PUP, he's "slowed" and "not moved as well." Ballard is getting outplayed by intriguing UDFA Zach Sudfeld and his roster spot is in jeopardy.

Jake Ballard TE ARI Jul 27 '13

Patriots TE Jake Ballard is down to 260 pounds after playing with the Giants at 278.

Ballard says the lower weight is better for his surgically-repaired knees, and that would make a ton of sense. However, it hasn't helped with his speed and movement skills, which have been described as "rigid" and "slogging." The peculiarly popular fantasy sleeper is going to disappoint if on your squad.

Jake Ballard TE ARI Jul 23 '13

Patriots activated TE Jake Ballard (knees) from the active/PUP list.

Ballard passed his physical and participated in Tuesday's practice. He spent all of a half-day on PUP. There haven't been many positive reports surrounding Ballard this summer, but the true test will come when the pads are on.

Jake Ballard TE ARI Jul 23 '13

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe considers TE Jake Ballard "not a lock" for the Patriots' final roster.

We didn't think he was, but there's a perception that Ballard will have a big role in New England's offense. It's unlikely. Volin observed "stiff" movement from Ballard in OTAs, which is in addition to fellow Pats beat writers describing him as "rigid" and "slogging." The Late Round QB's JJ Zachariason has compared Ballard's running ability to a cross between Cam Cleeland and a dad.