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This yearâ€™s crop of Tight Ends is especially disappointing, but Greg Olson appears to be the best available. Despite inconsistent performances at Miami, a head turning 4.5 40 yard dash has fans and scouts raving. Quite good in the screen and fade passing game Olson can use his 6â€™4â€ 250 plus pound frame to box out defensive backs or run over smaller players on the perimeter. Negatives are fairly typical in being unable to be the receiver who can challenge a team deep as a tight end like Jeremy Shockey of the Giants. Even though his timed speed is impressive, Olson is a player that doesnâ€™t have the big initial burst and doesnâ€™t appear to play up to his timed speed. Even with these few negatives and inconsistencies, Olson is the only first round tight end in the draft.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: There is a strong likelihood that Olson will be available for the Ravens at the 29th selection, but with Quinn Sypniewski, Daniel Wilcox, and Todd Heap, the team has one of the more impressive tight end lineups in the league and could keep the group in place for several years. Of course, if Olson is really that good, the team will find a way to take advantage of his talents though Olson doesnâ€™t measure up to the talent Todd Heap was coming out of college. Odds are if the Ravens take a tight end, it wonâ€™t be in the first round.
Zach Miller, 6’5", 256, Arizona State
Zach Miller took over for Todd Heap at Arizona State, but he simply isnâ€™t the player that the current Raven was at the time he left college. Miller may be larger and able to box out with more authority, but Heap is faster, a better drive blocker, and better leaper. Miller ran a disappointing 4.79 in the 40 yard dash and it has his stock falling rapidly. While this might knock him out of the first round, a tight end need not necessarily be speedy to play effectively on underneath routes especially at 6â€™5â€ 260. The real trouble with Millerâ€™s speed deficiency is that most linebackers will be able to keep pace with Miller and this could really limit mismatches and the overall impact of Miller on an offense. While these things may be true, it is important to note that Miller broke many of Heapâ€™s records at ASU and that shouldnâ€™t be ignored.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Miller appears to be competing for the #2 tight end slot with Ben Patrick out of Delaware. Many mock drafts have Miller going in the late 40s overall and with the Ravens picking at #61 and #29 that type of range doesnâ€™t fit into the draft strategy unless there is a draft freefall. If that is the case, Miller may be too good to pass up at #61, but the odds of a player with good credentials lasting that long despite less than desirable measurables is unlikely.
Ben Patrick, 6’3", 252, University of Delaware
Patrick never showed much during his three years at Duke. Yet as a Delaware Blue Hen, he showed some flashes that caught the attention of NFL scouts. At Duke, Patrick was used as an H-back and he never having an adequate quarterback to get him the ball. Unfortunately, despite impressive size at 6â€™4â€ 270 Patrick appears to be more of a finesse player than a physical in your face blocker. Patrick is also a slow target, even slower than Miller, which may further limit his impact on a teamâ€™s game, especially if he cannot develop into a superior blocker as well. Even so, he has good hands and is an excellent short range target, especially inviting as a red-zone threat or in helping to create a lower layer to further open up the middle of the field if a team has a deep threat on the roster.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Patrick may be a second or third round pick and he has been earmarked by some for Seattle where Jeremy Stevens has worn out his welcome. Given the type of player Patrick is and considering the Ravensâ€™ depth at the position coupled with Ozzie Newsomeâ€™s affinity for Sypniewski, it is highly doubtful that the Ravens will spend a first day pick on Patrick.