In a surprising move the Baltimore Ravens selected tight ends in both the 3rd and 4th rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. It was not surprising to see the Ravens come away with 2 TE’s from a need perspective, but it was surprising that the team did not use either of the picks to address other team needs. Obviously, the Ravens felt they were getting strong value with the selections and it is hard to argue based on the abilities and college productivity of Dickson and Pitta.
Height/Weight: 6’4″ 249 lbs.
Strengths: Dickson has great size and mobility for a pass catching TE. At times Dickson was used as a hybrid WR/TE in college, which is a testimony to his speed and quickness. Dickson also has long arms and good body control, making him a true big target who could be huge in the red zone. Dickson has great passion for football and is a competitor. Dickson is also good with the ball in his hands. He has the potential to be a big play TE in the passing game.
Weaknesses: Despite his size and desire, Dickson is not a great blocker. He needs to improve his strength in order to be more of a factor in run blocking. Some scouts question whether he has the frame to add the mass need to improve as a blocker. In college, Dickson also had struggles catching the ball in traffic. He needs to improve his concentration and willingness to take a hit when going for the ball.
Grade: A- Many considered Dickson to be the 2nd best TE in the draft behind Jermaine Gresham. The Ravens got good value in the 3rd round with Dickson and he could bring similar productivity in the passing game to Todd Heap. While he may not be as good at going after the ball as Heap was early on, Dickson is more dynamic with the ball in his hands.
Height/Weight: 6’4″ 245lbs
Strengths: Like Dickson Dennis Pitta is known as a strong pass catching tight end. Although not as explosive as Dickson, Pitta has great hands and a knack for route running and finding open spaces. Pitta is a consistent performer and a hard worker who knows how to use his body to keep defenders from making plays on the ball. Pitta is also a mature player having been at BYU for 5 years and having serve on his 2 year mission. Pitta will be 25 during the coming season.
Weaknesses: Pitta is a not a strong blocker and lacks the bulk to become one. Pitta will also have to learn some of the nuances to the TE position at the NFL level. Operating in the pass-happy BYU offense, Pitta was regularly lined up outside in a 2-point stance. For the Ravens, Pitta will need to adjust to lining up on the line in a 3-point stance. He will need to learn how to get off the line and beat coverage with his hand in the dirt. Pitta also lacks the speed to stretch the defense.
Grade: C+ While Pitta has many skills that lend themselves to being a productive TE in the NFL, he is also lacking the mobility to make him a dangerous target. I also feel some of his productivity in college was based on how he was used in the BYU offense. He will be asked to to different things for the Ravens. Based on need I was a bit down on this pick, but the Ravens did need more than one TE. I just expected them to pick another one up later in the draft.