Ravens Should Pass on Tight End in First Round


When a player is taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, the goal is for that player to have an immediate impact. The first round is supposed to be the best of the best. If a team hits a home run, they have a player who can make significant contributions at a minimal cost for four years. If they whiff it can set them back, and force them to sign expensive free agents to fill the holes that disappointing first round picks leave in the team.

There are no teams that accomplish this goal every year, but some have more success than others, the Ravens being one of them. Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Joe Flacco and Haloti Ngata come to mind, just to name a few. The Ravens consistent success on the field directly correlates with this formula.

If it’s a trend they want to continue, they should pass on Eric Ebron – or any other tight end – in the first round of this year’s draft.

This isn’t a knock on Ebron. Chances are he will have an incredibly successful NFL career and play a productive role at the pro level. Rather, this is looking at the tight end position in general and the impact that these players have had early in their careers.

Going back to 2006 there have been a total of seven tight ends taken in the first round. While some have had success, none have made immediate impacts.


  • 2006 Vernon Davis (6th overall)
  • 2006 Marcedes Lewis (28th overall)
  • 2007 Greg Olsen (31st overall)
  • 2008 Dustin Keller (30th overall)
  • 2009 Brandon Pettigrew (20th overall)
  • 2010 Jermaine Gresham (21st overall)
  • 2013 Tyler Eifert (21st overall)

It’s safe to say that Davis and Olsen have been the most successful of this bunch, but early on in their careers they both struggled as well.

In the first three years of his career, Davis had 265, 509 and 358 yards receiving, respectively, for a total of nine touchdowns. Not great production for a 6th overall pick.

Olsen has been very productive recently. However, in the first five years of his NFL career he amassed over 600 yards receiving just once – in 2009 when he had 612. He followed this up with 404 yards in 2010.

One of the biggest complaints you have heard the last couple of years from Ravens fans is they are tired of seeing the Ravens groom guys, who then leave town and cash in somewhere else. Players who spend their first couple years learning under Pro Bowl players, who then produce for one year and leave Baltimore to sign a big deal elsewhere.

With the recent signing of Owen Daniels, and Dennis Pitta locked up for the next five years, if the Ravens take Ebron in the first round he could likely take a similar path.

Instead the Ravens should pass and take a prospect who can play a major role starting Week 1 in 2014.

16 Raves on “Ravens Should Pass on Tight End in First Round

  1. Joshua on said:

    When it comes to the draft, I NEVER agree with looking at past selections to gauge future success. It all comes down to the prospect and team philosophy. If Ebron is sitting there at #17, I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t be our top-rated player at that point. And we all know it’s Ozzie’s M.O. to draft the best player available. Ebron has a unique skill-set, and would be a dynamic complement to Pitta.

  2. Rxdoxx on said:

    Add our #1 pick after the 1st SB #32 Todd Heap who had 16 receptions but that was virtually a high 2nd instead of a middle first rounder

  3. John P on said:

    Great idea, but who do you choose that fits in and starts? Elam & Smith weren’t exactly first year phenoms either.

    • Ryan Jones on said:

      I agree with your point about Smith but I think Elam played solid considering he was out of his natural position. Plus most players in the secondary take a year or two to progress. I’m a big fan of Zack Martin and think he will be there. He would solidify the line and would evolve into a great leader in the locker room. Brian Kelly called him the best lineman he’s ever coached.

      I think the biggest issue with Ebron is the same reason Jimmy Smith struggled his first couple years. He relies too much on his athletic ability and assumes that will be enough to succeed in the NFL. Jimmy learned the hard way that’s not the case, I think Ebron will as well

      • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

        I would be very surprised if Zack Martin is their pick. The Ravens learned from Yanda that you can get solid interior linemen later in the draft. Martin to me doesn’t look like an NFL tackle.

        • D-Rock on said:

          I Think Zack will be a stud in the NFL and immediately fill the RT position. I prefer Lewan but I think he’s gone. Martin will be better than taking a S in round one. Neither Haha or Pryor are worth pick 17 to me

  4. cheri on said:

    I know we need a RT and a FS but boy it sure would be nice if we took a wr early this year please please please do not let signing a 35 year old change that.

  5. D-Rock on said:

    Completely agree, no to Ebron. I also think he will bust as a 1st rounder but that’s another story. We need OL, FS, or WR round one. Possibly Mosely

  6. Mook on said:

    B.P.A. one-20 except Q.B. agreed or disagreed B.P.A. ranking!
    1.Jadeveon Clowney D.E.
    2.Khailil Mack D.E/O.L.B.
    3.Greg Robinson O.T.
    4.Jake Matthews O.T.
    5.Samny Watkins W.R.
    6.C.J. Mosley I.L.B.
    7.Louis Nix lll D.T.
    8.Anthony Barr D.E./O.L.B.
    9.Mike Evans W.R.
    10.Darqueze Dennard C.B.
    11. Eric Ebron T.E.
    12.Marquise Lee W.R.
    13.Ra’Shede Haberman 3-4D.E.
    14.Justin Gilbert C.B.
    15. Timmy Jernigan D.T.
    16.Kelvin Benjamin W.R.
    17.Jason Verrett C.B.
    18.Aaron Donald D.T.
    19.Odell Becham W.R.
    20.Kyle Fuller C.B.

  7. Terry on said:

    I agree. I’m def not a fan of Ebron. Just has bust written all over him. We need a game changer this year. Martin could certainly be a great player. Just personally not what I’m looking for with having out best draft position in many years. We have the opportunity to pull the trigger and either move up a couple spots if needed or if the feeling is a great one will fall to stay put. But they’re a solid bakers dozen guys that have immediate impact and possible ProBowl considerations. Hopefully their will be a run on this weak QB class as teams get desperate and one of the top of the tier guys falls into striking range. This is NOT the year to play conservative.

  8. O'Shea on said:

    I honestly think that if Gilbert or Dennard are there when we are on the clock then we should take them. I know that everyone wants us to take a FS in the first round especially because the FS pool is shallow this year but I think that may be just the reason not to take one. It’s possible that because FS is seen as our number 1 need that we feel so strongly about how effective Clinton-Dix or Pryor would be as immediate starters and I’m not 100% sold that they can contribute right away. Alternatively, taking a CB would allow us flexibility in negotiating a restructure of Webb’s contract and since they wouldn’t see the field every defensive snap, we would have a better chance at having a first round pick who can learn on the job without having their feet to the fire.

  9. Dunk on said:

    Not a fan of Ebron at all. Too much stock is being put into his workout. Look at his numbers. He’s average. If he put of 600 yards and 3 TDs as a rookie, he would be a bust. If he had caught 20 TDs in his career it would be worth it, but he didn’t even have half of that. Not to mention he can’t block. We don’t need another slot receiver. There are just so many better options, especially in the first.

  10. Big C the Guru on said:

    The thing is teams are going to reach… Someone is going to grab a QB in the 1st round, some team is that dumb. I’m also gonna disagree with your top 20 some. Brandin Cooks is a top 20 prospect, he’s a baby Steve Smith. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix is a top 20 prospect as well. Calvin Pryor is also knocking on the door, I’d lend to put him in there because of his coverage ability. Both safeties are better prospects than Matt Elam. I’m very interested to see what the Ravens do… I see them trading down honestly…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Hot off the street

CRAB BAG: Which Ravens Team Shows Up at Heinz Field?

Every time John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco have gone into Heinz Field for a regular season contest, the game has been decided by exactly three points. John and Joe lost by three in 2008, 2009, and 2013, ...read more

Ravens @ Steelers Injury Report & Game Status

RAVENS GAME STATUS Out: WR Michael Campanaro (thigh); CB Jimmy Smith (foot) Questionable: TE Owen Daniels (knee); DE Chris Canty (wrist); G Marshal Yanda (knee) Probable: LB Terrell Suggs (neck)...read more

BOLD PREDICTIONS: Ravens at Steelers

This game will follow the script of the Ravens 3 previous losses, in that the Ravens offense will start slow and get themselves in an early hole. They will again play much better in the 2nd half, and ...read more

Through 8 Games, Wagner Proving Ravens Right

The Ravens may be sitting at 5-3 and in second place in the division at the moment, but my how times have changed along the offensive line - especially at the right tackle position. Many fans and m...read more

RAVENS LINKS: Can Flacco Silence Pittsburgh Again?

Can Joe Flacco silence Heinz Field again? Joe Cool has enjoyed some success in Pittsburgh with late game heroics. Jamison Hensley gives us Joe's opinion on going in to Heinz Field and playing the h...read more

View More