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The Competition 2014: Tight Ends

Posted Jul 13, 2014

Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels lead the group that has high expectations for the season.


“The Competition” is a series that breaks down every Ravens’ position battle leading up to training camp.

Returning Players

Dennis Pitta (6-foot-4, 245 pounds, fifth season)

Pitta is the leader of this group and expected to be one of the offense’s most productive players. He signed a five-year extension reportedly worth $32 million this offseason, and he is one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s most reliable targets. Pitta is back to full strength after last season’s hip injury, and the hope is for him to return to his 2012 form when he led the Ravens with seven touchdown grabs.

New Additions

Owen Daniels (6-3, 249, ninth season)

The Ravens signed Daniels this offseason and he has a history with new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak throughout their time with the Houston Texans. Daniels was a highly productive player in Houston, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler. Daniels has been a key resource during the installation of Kubiak’s system, and the Ravens could likely use a heavy dose of two tight end sets with him and Pitta this season.   

Phillip Supernaw (6-5, 248, first season)

Supernaw is another Texans transplant who signed with the Ravens this offseason. Supernaw was an undrafted prospect out of Texas’ Ouachita Baptist in 2012, and he was then signed to Houston’s practice squad. Supernaw did get on the active roster last season, when he played in one game but didn’t register any statistics. 

Nathan Overbay (6-5, 255, first season)

Overbay was an undrafted prospect in 2010 out of Eastern Washington and bounced around seven teams during his time in the NFL. He was also on Houston’s practice squad last season, and has previously been with the Steelers, Lions, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Broncos. Overbay has primarily been a practice squad player during his career, and has not yet played in an NFL game. 

Rookie

Crockett Gillmore (6-6, 260)

The Ravens took Gillmore in the third round of this year’s draft, and he could immediately jump into an important role for the offense. He’s a big tight end known as a reliable blocker, which is critical to have in Kubiak’s system. He’s also a threat as a pass catcher, hauling in 47 receptions for 577 yards last season at Colorado State. Gillmore has the reputation of a hard-nosed player, and he showed that during offseason practices by mixing it up with a few of his teammates. 

Frontrunners

Pitta and Daniels are the clear leaders of the class at tight end, as they are expected to be critical pieces of Kubiak’s offense. The Ravens surrounded Flacco with more weapons this offseason, and having two pass-catching tight ends at his disposal could lead to impressive results for the offense. Kubiak has a history of using two tight end sets, and that is expected to be the case again this season.

Gillmore is also a virtual lock to make the team, likely as the No. 3 tight end. The third tight end has traditionally played more of a blocking role for the Ravens, which fits Gillmore’s style. He’s the biggest tight end on the roster, giving him the size to go up against defensive ends and outside linebackers that he would have to block to clear holes in the running game.

For Supernaw and Overbay, it will be an uphill battle to earn spots on the 53-man roster. The Ravens typically carry three tight ends on the active roster, and they have more invested in the other three options. But Supernaw or Overbay have been around the NFL long enough to know that circumstances can change quickly because of injuries or transactions, so they will be out to show they’re up to the task if a spot opens up in front of them.

 

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