DRAFT TALK: Ravens could consider TE early in 2014

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The recent injury to Dennis Pitta is devastating in a lot of ways.  Not only was he coming off of a 60+ reception season where he was often the go-to guy in the red zone for Joe Flacco, but Pitta was also expected by many to pick up a lot of the targets that went to Anquan Boldin last year. Now, it will be up to Ed Dickson to fill the void left by Dennis Pitta.  I don’t know about you guys, but Ed Dickson kind of scares the you-know-what out of me.

Dickson is an outstanding athlete; he’s got excellent size, quickness and nice vertical speed.  His best season was in 2011 when he hauled in 54 receptions and five TDs, so clearly the guy can be an effective receiver.  One play that constantly comes to mind was when the Saints were visiting and he caught a pass down the seam and barreled over a Saints defender on his way to a TD.

Dickson, for whatever reason, has a knack for making those tough, contested receptions.  What scares me are the routine catches that hit him right in the hands or chest and he drops.  There are a lot of different variables as to why Dickson has had issues with dropping those routine catches, but ultimately it seems like they are mostly due to a lack of focus on making the catch.  That can be coached, but it still is scary to think about when Joe is looking for someone to throw it to in Pittsburgh on a critical third down and Dickson is the primary target.

Now, let’s assume that Dickson has a monster year.  Who do the Ravens re-sign? Both?  They may not have the cap space to do that and will likely have their hands full figuring out how to handle the contracts of Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs, both of which will be very costly next year.

Frankly, I think that Pitta would probably be the one to be re-signed since he has been the more consistent player, but his injury history could play into this and if Dickson has a stellar season then he could be looked at as the better investment since he is two years younger than Pitta.  Either way, the Ravens will likely have to choose one or the other and that is why I think that they’ll have to tailor their draft next year to looking at a tight end early, possibly even in Round 1.

Here are some guys they could look at:

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington, 6’6” 255lbs.

“ASJ” is super athletic and is a natural receiver.  He is also a decent blocker.  He has character concerns though as he was arrested for a DUI in April of this year.  Still, no one can discount his ability on the field.  The Ravens have taken chances on guys who have made mistakes (Jimmy Smith) and – hopefully – learned from them in the past.

CJ Fiedorowicz, Iowa, 6’7” 265lbs.

I really like what CJ brings to the table as an all-around tight end.  He is an accomplished blocker and he can run for his size.  Nice hands as well with a large catch radius.  I think he is a borderline 2nd/3rd round pick right now, but if he puts up Rob Gronkowski-type numbers I could see him in Round 1.  He is my favorite tight end prospect in next year’s draft right now and I have written about him in previous Russell Street Report blogs.  Additionally, the Ravens have a connection with Iowa Head Coach, Kirk Ferentz, so they will probably have a very good idea of the type of player CJ could be in the NFL.

Colt Lyerla, Oregon, 6’5” 240lbs.

I like this kid a lot too and he may have the most upside out of any of the tight ends in the 2014 class.  He will only be 21 years old by the time the draft rolls around and he could wind up being the first tight end off the board.  He is an outstanding receiver and has big play capability.  However, he is not used as a blocker at Oregon, so that may be something he has to really work on at the pro level.

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About Paul Lukoskie

Paul Lukoskie
Paul (aka WickedSolo) has been an avid football fan since he was a little kid. As former player himself (through college only...turning pro and having million dollar contracts and fame just sounded too overwhelming...or he's just a 5'11" 200lb guy who was only good enough to play D-3 ball...but who's...more

8 Raves on “DRAFT TALK: Ravens could consider TE early in 2014

  1. Rxdoxx on said:

    Later round maybe a TE/H-Back to spell Jusczyk if he develops and is used like we suspect he might be.
    Possibility of Wisconsin’s Jacob Peterson dropping far enough to be BPA? for a 4th round comp slot?

    I’m not sure we will have a “heap” of confidence for a 1st round TE but drafting at #32 ASJ may still be there
    Otherwise I’m feeling we may be replacing another D $$tarter through the high draft slot.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      Tight Ends are kind of the new hotness right now. A lot of them coming out of college are so versatile and really are more or less big receivers more than traditional tight ends.

      I like Pitta a lot and I like Dickson too, though I am not convinced that he is anything more than a decent #2 TE. I think if everyone pans out on D (Elam, Brown, Williams, etc) and they are able to keep guys like Art Jones then looking for a play maker on offense might be a big priority for them. Especially considering there is such a huge question mark at receiver and who knows what will happen with Pitta and Dickson.

      If Dickson has a big year, I think he’s gone. He’ll have played himself out of a contract here in Baltimore and some other team like Oakland or the Redskins will pay a huge chunk of change for him because of 1 good year. Additionally, Pitta may be looking for a bigger contract than the Ravens want to pay a (then) 29 year old tight end with a history of concussions and other injuries.

  2. Jones Jacoby on said:

    I like CJ alot to, him or ASJ would be a great fit with this team. the next Draft talk you can do WR. I like Cody Hoffman and Jordan Matthews as players they really have a shot at next year also Brandon coleman.

    • Paul Lukoskie on said:

      I think Jordan Matthews is arguably the best receiver in next year’s draft. Considering his size, speed, and production in the SEC, I doubt he is around when the Ravens pick unless the Ravens have a crap year and are picking in the top 20.

      Cody Hoffman…I’m not sure. He is intriguing. You have to love the size, but I’ve seen a lot of big receivers come out of college and never develop in the NFL because they don’t know how to run routes.

      • Jones Jacoby on said:

        well cody run great routes even though he plays for BYU remember Dennis pitta came from there so they mght dip in that pool again for a WR.

        • Paul Lukoskie on said:

          I’ll have to go back and look at Hoffman some more. I liked the guy’s size and he is a smooth runner, which is nice.

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