Hello Ravens fans, I hope you’ve had a nice weekend. Before we get started with another position outlook I’d like to make a programming note. Tomorrow is the MLB Draft, which is an event that I really enjoy. I’ll probably be covering it live on another site on the FanSided network, so I’ll let you know about that when I get more info. Now onto the good stuff…
The tight end can make or break a football game. A good one can make the defense uncomfortable with their pass-catching skills, or make their team’s backfield comfortable with their blocking. A bad one can be a guy who just wastes space on a field. Not very athletic, not very aware, and just not very good at all.
This season, the Ravens look to make the tight end position an important spot on the field. Retaining Todd Heap’s services and adding two of the top-rated tight ends in the draft, there is sure to be some competition at the position this season.
Click “Continue Reading” to see how the tight end position will look this season for the Ravens.
|Todd Heap||6’5”||250 lbs.||30||16 games, 53 rec, 593 yards, 6 TD|
|Dennis Pitta||6’4”||245 lbs.||24||62 rec, 829 yds, 8 TD|
|Ed Dickson||6’4”||250 lbs.||22||42 rec, 551 yds, 6 TD|
|Davon Drew||6’4”||260 lbs.||24||Practice Squad|
It seems like over the last two seasons, the criticism of Todd Heap has increased, and I’ve heard tons and tons of fans saying that it’s time for a new starter. I completely disagree. He hasn’t missed a game in the Harbaugh Era, and even though his receiving numbers are down, his performance hasn’t stalled in my opinion. He’s had to take on less of a pass-catching role than he had with Boller and Co. during his career, mostly because he’s not the #1 target for Joe Flacco. While Boller used to look for him right away, Flacco looks for Derrick Mason or Ray Rice. With the two draft picks being brought in, I think he’ll just work harder during camp to show that he’s the best man for the starting job.
The competition between Pitta and Dickson will be very interesting. It’s likely that whoever wins it will get a good amount of playing time in double tight end sets, and it’s likely that the one who loses it may not see that much time on offense. With that said, I think they’ll platoon a bit. Pitta stands out to me as a more finished product who’s ready to contribute right away. He comes from a very competitive BYU program, and consistently put up good numbers. Some draft experts even considered him the 2nd-best tight end prospect in the draft behind Jermaine Gresham, so the fact that he fell to the 4th round is a huge break for the Ravens.
Dickson’s an interesting guy. At 6’4″, 250, he’s got a tight end’s body, but plays more like a wide receiver. Running a 40 in 4.67, he was one of the draft’s fastest tight ends, but isn’t quite fast enough to be a vertical threat. His blocking skills are suspect, but he has shown improvement in that area of his game. Overall, he’s a good change of pace option, who can make catches down sidelines. From what I’ve seen of him in college, he’s got a very aggressive mentality on offense, always fighting for the extra yard. He’ll just keep getting better as he plays more in the NFL.
I don’t see Drew making the roster this season, and I’m not sure whether the Ravens want him on the practice squad again. A former quarterback, he’s pretty athletic but very raw, lining up at tight end for only three seasons at East Carolina. Being an All-Conference USA player three times (one season 3rd team, twice honorable mention), Drew has shown that he can learn quickly. I would assume that if he shows enough improvement and talent at camp that the Ravens may keep him aboard on the roster and keep four tight ends, but don’t count on it too much.
Next in EbonyBird.com’s Position Outlook series will be the fullback position.