With both of the aforementioned gone by the Ravens 4th rounder (114th overall) they selected current #2 tight end Dennis Pitta, one pick behind Aaron Hernandez who was taken by New England at #113.
This was the “year of…” a lot of things, including the emergence of the tight end in big time passing games. Every quarterback who staged an assault on the record book in 2011 (and there were lots of them) seemed to do so with a game changing tight end or two in his offensive cache.
Gronkowski led all tight ends in 2011 in receiving yards (1327) and touchdowns (17), Graham put up respectable second place finishes in both categories (1310 yards and 11 touchdowns) and Hernandez finished 4th in both categories (910 yards and 7 touchdowns). Meanwhile Ed Dickson finished the regular season with 528 yards (20th) and 5 touchdowns (tied for 12th) with Pitta adding 405 yards (26th) and 3 TD (tied for 23rd).
Maybe the answer is there already and we just haven’t acknowledged it yet. In the great tight end grab of 2010 the Ravens got two, and might be in the market for two more soon. The size imposing power forward at tight end not only represents a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses, it’s also becoming part and parcel to big time passing numbers in the now “wide open” NFL. So far Dickson and Pitta haven’t lived up to that type of performance.
The Ravens young tight ends would surprise everyone if they were suddenly able to out produce their Patriots counterparts even if only for one day. If they do it on Sunday they could make a statement about their place in the suddenly prolific 2010 tight end draft class, they might also help Ozzie Newsome to feel a bit better about the ones who got away.