Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Ravens' hidden treasure: Tight ends
By Jamison Hensley
Examining a position group that could exceed its preseason expectations:
The Baltimore Ravens made a risky move when they decided to cut Todd Heap last season and went with two inexperienced tight ends. The result: Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta more than held their own. Dickson exceeded Heap's 2010 receptions total by 14, and Pitta matched it.
The problem is, no one outside of the division really noticed what Dickson and Pitta did. That's what happens when New England is putting up big numbers with its tight end combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who were both taken in the same draft as Dickson and Pitta. While no one is saying Dickson and Pitta will become as prolific as the Patriots' tight ends, there's a sense that the Ravens only scratched the surface with their duo.
Dickson and Pitta both finished strong, combining for seven touchdowns in the second half of the season. Dickson has great athleticism and can stretch the field, and Pitta has a chance to be a weapon in the red zone. Quarterback Joe Flacco looked to them in pressure situations last season. Dickson and Pitta both ranked in the AFC's top 15 in third-down catches. Now, Baltimore has to get them more consistently involved the rest of the time.