Ravens go for a Duck

Street Talk Ravens go for a Duck

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OWINGS MILLS – Todd Heap is no longer the only legitimate tight end on the Baltimore Ravens’ roster.

The Ravens drafted ultra-productive Oregon tight end Ed Dickson in the third round, acquiring a player who could immediately provide a complementary presence to Heap and perhaps eventually succeed him as the starter.

An athletic 6-foot-5, 243-pounder who runs the 40-yard dash under 4.6 seconds, Dickson is a first-team All-Pac 10 selection who’s the Ducks’ all-time leader in every receiving category for tight ends. He caught 124 career passes for 1,557 yards and a dozen touchdowns.

Dickson isn’t regarded as a bruising blocker, but he’s an accomplished pass-catching tight end. His style is similar to how Heap plays the game.

"He’s very athletic," Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "He can stretch the field. He’s got very good hands and catching range. He’s a big target. We think he’s got loads of promise as a receiving tight end.

"We think he’s a pretty good blocker, too. He’s going to develop in that regard. He’s often detached from the line of scrimmage. We think this is a guy who’s going to be a three-down tight end for us."

Heap, 30, started every game last season, but has had durability issues.

Just as Heap was an understudy to Shannon Sharpe during his rookie season, Dickson could benefit from some mentoring, too.

He caught 42 passes for 551 yards and six touchdowns last season.

"One thing we learned this year, playing against some of the teams that we played against, they had really good tight ends," DeCosta said. "They pose big matchup problems for your defense, and we think Ed Dickson can do the same thing. So, it’s exciting."

The Ravens drafted the Inglewood, Calif., native with the 70th overall selection, a pick obtained in a trade from the Denver Broncos.

Dickson is a converted defensive end and wide receiver who once caught 11 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns against Cal.

Dickson, who took an official pre-draft visit to the Ravens’ training complex, was the third-fastest tight end at the NFL scouting combine.

He’s regarded as a clean prospect in terms of character and health.

Plus, the Ravens plan to move tight end Edgar Jones to fullback and Davon Drew is an unproven former fifth-round pick who spent last year on the practice squad.

"Right now, we only have two tight ends on the roster," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "To be able to get Ed Dickson to add to that stable of guys we had was another need."

Instead of trading up one spot to get Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski, the second-ranked player at his position, the Ravens didn’t move up from their 43rd overall spot.

And the New England Patriots selected Gronkowski one pick before the Ravens got University of Texas outside linebacker Sergio Kindle.

"We had very little motivation to move up," Newsome said. "We did have some conversations with some teams because we felt like once we stacked the board that we were going to get a good player."

NOTES: For the second consecutive day, Newsome said that he didn’t have any teams contact him about prospective trades for players on the Ravens’ roster. … The Ravens are still in need of a cornerback due to Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb recovering from torn anterior cruciate ligaments and being question marks to be ready for the start of the regular season. "We have some corners on the board that we like," Newsome said. "When we get to the pick, if they’re the highest-rated player, we’ll turn the card in."


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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