OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said it last week: New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak runs a tight end-friendly offense.
Coach John Harbaugh and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels have all talked about that as well since Kubiak was hired in January.
And while the Ravens have already added Daniels this offseason to go along with Pitta, they would like to add even more talent at that position.
They hope to do so during the NFL draft next week, and they may even take a tight end as early as the first round.
“There are some, we think, elite skill set players in this draft at tight end and at wide receiver,” DeCosta said. “If one of those guys is there and he’s the best player, we’ll take him for sure.”
The Ravens have other more glaring needs — notably running back, free safety and right tackle.
However, adding another tight end would make sense for two reasons.
First, the team wants to add a better blocker at the position. Pitta and Daniels are both productive pass-catchers. They are not known for their prowess as blockers.
Harbaugh defended the blocking of Pitta and Daniels earlier in April, but he did say, “If we end up with some punishing, dominating, end-of-the-line-of-scrimmage blocker, you’ll see me smiling.”
Even aside from that, though, Daniels will be 32 in November, and Baltimore could find a long-term partner for Pitta in the draft.
That player might not play a prominent role as a rookie with Pitta and Daniels already on the roster, but it’s not like that player would necessarily just go unused.
According to Daniels, there was one year with the Houston Texans that Kubiak used a lot of three-tight end formations.
“The league has really changed,” DeCosta said. “It’s become a tight end league.”
Eric Ebron seems to be the consensus top tight end in this year’s draft.
The Ravens like him and would likely take him if he still available when they are up at pick No. 17, but some pundits projects him to be selected as early as the top-10.
Ebron had 973 yards last season, an ACC record for a tight end.
“I think he’s one of the premier players in this draft,” former NFL scout and current NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said during a conference call. “I have him as my 13th-overall player. It’s rare you’d say a tight end is worth a top-10 pick, but I wouldn’t have any problem at all if he was a top-10 pick in this draft class.
“I think he’s kind of tailor-made for today’s brand of football at the tight end position. I think he’s going to be outstanding.”