The Ravens have 2 RFA tight ends right now. Both Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson could technically be signed away(although it is highly unlikely with either). The Ravens really need to sign Pitta long term, Dickson is more expendable because he doesnt have the same relationship with Flacco that Pitta has, but either way, the Ravens could be highly interested in TEs this year. They wint be looking for 1st round guys or anything, but they could be in the market for a second round guy or trading back to pick up a guy like Gavin Escobar(more on him below) in the mid third round.
Class Overview: This is a pretty good class. Tight end is one of the few places where I think the 2013 draft is markedly better than the 2012 class(which was one of the best draft classes in years). Last year was pretty weak, Fleener and Allen were the top two players and they went in the second and third rounds respectively, both to Indianapolis. This year we could have 2 first rounders and as many as five guys go before the spot where Allen was taken last year. class grade: A-
1. Zach Ertz, Stanford- (update 2/18/13) I am not sure the Ravens will be looking for a TE this high. It is possible, I suppose, that they could have Ertz or Eifert as a top 15 guy on their board and end up taken one of them, but it is doubtful. Ertz probably has about a 5% chance of being a Raven, but he is a very talented player with a bright NFL future. He is much much better than his former Stanford team-mate Coby Fleener. Pro Comparison: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers.
2. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame- (update 2/18/13)Eifert is a better fit for teams like Baltimore than a guy like Ertz. Ertz is a better blocker, but Eifert is all about downfield playmaking. Eifert is a WR in the body of a tight end. he is a red-zone nightmare for opponents and is a matchup problem for every team he plays. NFL Comparison: Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings.
3. Gavin Escobar, San Diego St.- (update 2/18/13)- Escobar is a flat stud. I love this guy. He has everything you could want in a TE and i think he has a career path at least as good as the two men listed above him. Escobar is a solid, but unspectacular, blocker but his receiving ability is off the charts. He has great hands and better concentration. Like Eifert he is a redzone issue for opponents and he always seems to find open spaces on the field. He suffered from sub-par QB play in college, but I think he will blossom in the NFL big time. Pro Comparison: Tony Gonzales., Atlanta Falcons
4. Jordan Reed, Florida- (update 2/18/13) Why is it that Florida always seems to have a solid TE? This time around it is Jordan Reed. put on some tape of Reed and tell me he isnt the spitting image of the versatile former Gator Aaron Hernandez. Reed will play split out wide, bunched tight on the line, out of the backfield, pretty much everywhere that is green. This dude is just a football player. He might not be the most skilled player at his position, but hey, neither was Hernandez and he is a pretty solid player. Pro Comparison: Aaron Hernandez.
5. Dion Sims, Michigan- (update 2/18/13)Sims is essentially the exact opposite of all the guys listed above him. Sims isn’t particularly athletic or fast, but he is very polished and he is a magnificent blocker. Sims isn’t a matchup issue in the way that Rob Gronkowski is a matchup issue(too fast and too big), he is more in the vein of the old school tight end. He is just a gigantic strong fighter who wins individual matchups on will power. Sims is an interesting complementary piece, but far from a future potential superstar. Pro Comparison, Ben Watson.
6. Nick Kasa, Colorado
7. Ryan Otten, San Jose St.
8. Mychal Rivera, Tennessee
9. Joseph Fuaria, UCLA
10. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
11. Vance McDonald, Rice- This is a guy the Ravens could be very interested in. I have a 4th round grade on him right now but he could rise at the combine. He is huge at 6’2″ 262 lbs and in addition to being a dynamic blocker(which the Ravens would need if they were to let Dickson go next year) he is also a great red-zone player. Pro Comparison: Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks.
12. Michael Williams, Alabama
13. Levine Toilolo, Stanford
14. Jack Stoneburner, Ohio St.
15. Phillip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn
16. Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky
17. Chris Gnagg, Arkansas
18. Brandon Ford, Clemson
19. D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers