UDFAs, Rookie Tight Ends And Cheeseburgers?: Three Things I Took From Ravens Training Camp


I was at camp on Wednesday, with the rookies working their hearts out and certain veterans being featured.

After watching closely, I took three things out of the experience. Check them out after the jump.

Click “Continue Reading” to see what went on during Wednesday’s practice. See who was impressive, who was tenacious, and who was…..well, fat.

1. Undrafted Free Agent Mike McLaughlin- McLaughlin, an undrafted free agent from Boston College, is looking to make an impression that will stick with the coaching staff throughout training camp, just like any other rookie. Well, it may not have been a coach but it was a staff member at EbonyBird.com, yours truly, whose eye he did catch.

This is a guy who was a top linebacker in the ACC for Boston College and is now being asked to move over to the offensive side of the ball for the Ravens, where he is being asked to play fullback. McLaughlin looked very good during warm ups and special team drills where he showed great technique and blocking abilites. As McLaughlin was working on his blocking I heard some interesting come out of his mouth that caught my attention “its not pretty, but it’ll get the job done”, which to me is what this 2010 Ravens team is all about. As long as it gets the job done, they’re golden. There was a certain nit and grit and intensity McLaughlin showed throughout the day which seemed to blend in with the type of smashmouth football the Baltimore Ravens have played throughout the past decade. If he keeps up his intensity and tenacity, he should be able to make the team and make some important contributions.

2. Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta first on the field- With Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta battling each other for playing time, it was no surprise to see these two rookies first on the field during the afternoon session. What I noticed out of 3rd round pick Ed Dickson was a smooth presence within the red zone, soft hands, and a man who is not afraid to go across the middle and take on the fierce linebackers he’ll encounter in the AFC North. Also, Dickson looked very strong in the return game on sepcial teams as he was a lead blocker in simulated kickoffs.

As for the 4th rounder Dennis Pitta, as I saw him more and more throughout the day, he reminded me of a young Todd Heap. A tall, physically fit tight end, Pitta will provide stability as a back up to Todd Heap and could be a guy the Ravens use in the red zone and goal line situations much like the way Heap was used earlier in his career and still is used. Pitta will be a nice threat for Flacco to throw to in a jump ball situation in the end zone and from what I saw at McDaniel yesterday, Pitta will go get it more times than not. Both Dickson and Pitta bring a copious amount of energy, intensity, and pure will to win to the Ravens offense who looked very locked in and in sync throughout Wednesday’s afternoon session.

3. Terrence “Cheeseburger” Cody Cramps Up-After requiring three attempts to pass his conditioning test, rookie defensive tackle Terrence “Cheeseburger” Cody was out and about during Wednesday’s afternoon session. About halfway into Wednesday’s practice Cody seemed to come up with an apparent injury to the leg, and as Ravens fans we can only hope it was just cramps and nothing more.

As a rookie Cody is expected to play a big role in the Ravens’ pursuit against the run, similar to the role Sam Adams played for the Super Bowl team in 2000. Hopefully, this won’t be an ongoing problem for Cody throughout training camp and the season. If all goes well, Cody will be able to find himself on the field for the Ravens in run-stuffing situations, and to take up space to allow Middle Linebackers Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Tarves Gooden, pursue the football every single down.