Ravens 2014 player rankings: No. 9

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
2:30
PM ET
ESPN.com polled 18 Baltimore media members for their top 20 players on the 2014 Baltimore Ravens roster. The countdown will run through the middle of July, just before the start of training camp. You can click here for an introduction on how the blog put together the rankings.

Let's continue the countdown ...

No. 9: DENNIS PITTA

Pitta
Position: Tight end

Total points: 212. First-place votes: None.

Highest ranking: No. 4. Lowest ranking: Not ranked.

What you need to know: Pitta has become one of Joe Flacco's most trusted targets. In 2012, he set career-highs in catches (61), receiving yards (669) and touchdowns (seven). During the Ravens' Super Bowl run that season, Pitta had touchdowns in three of the team's four playoff games. Pitta played only four games last season after dislocating his hip, but he said he was 100 percent healthy during this year's offseason workouts.

Where Dennis Pitta should be ranked: I had Pitta ranked slightly higher at No. 6. He elevated his game during the 2012 playoffs when he continually made big catches. But his value took a bigger jump last season when you saw how the Ravens struggled on third downs and in the red zone without Pitta.

File this away: Flacco targeted Pitta on 26.4 percent of the routes he ran in 2012 and 2013. That ranks third among tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski (29.2 percent) and Jimmy Graham (28.7 percent).

What the Ravens are saying about Dennis Pitta: “Dennis creates a number of mismatch problems for defenses. He makes it tough on them, and because of that, he really helps out our wide receivers. Opponents have to always pay attention to where he lines up and where his routes take him. Dennis is also a big target with very good hands, and his presence in the red zone is very important to us.” -- general manager Ozzie Newsome

Here is the panel of voters: Morgan Adsit (WBFF-TV), Clifton Brown (Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Jerry Coleman (105.7 The Fan), Bruce Cunnningham (WBFF-TV), Steve Davis (105.7 The Fan), John Eisenberg (Baltimore Ravens website), Pete Gilbert (WBAL-TV), David Ginsburg (Associated Press), Brent Harris (Comcast SportsNet Baltimore), Brett Hollander (WBAL Radio), Luke Jones (WNST Radio), Joe Platania (the Press Box), Gerry Sandusky (WBAL-TV), Mark Viviano (WJZ-TV), Aaron Wilson (Baltimore Sun), Matt Zenitz (Carroll County Times), Jeff Zrebiec (Baltimore Sun) and Jamison Hensley (ESPN.com).

Recapping the Ravens' countdown so far:

No. 10: Justin Tucker
No. 11: Daryl Smith
No. 12: Steve Smith
No. 13: Ray Rice
No. 14: Eugene Monroe
No. 15: Jacoby Jones
No. 16: Kelechi Osemele
No. 17: Matt Elam
No. 18: Marlon Brown
No. 19: Owen Daniels
No. 20: C.J. Mosley

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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