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Comparing the Rookie TEs



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Rookie tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta have done it all in the passing game during the Ravens' first two camps.

They've caught long passes down the seam for touchdowns. They've caught the short underneath route. They've lined up as wide receivers.

And most importantly, they've impressed their head coach.

"Ed and Dennis have shown us why we drafted them," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday.

"I mean, they're both very talented. You saw them make plays today downfield. They've got catch radius, they've got range, they've got good hands, [and] they're picking things up quickly. So, they've been a real plus so far."

Judging from this week's passing camp, Dickson and Pitta could help the Ravens break out the two-pass-catching tight end formation that hasn't been used often in recent years.

Both run routes as if they're receivers, are tall enough (6-foot-4) to reach tough passes and hands soft enough to come down with them.

"I think they're doing great," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "They're big, they're athletic, and they can catch the ball. As long as they continue to keep track with the offense, on the pace that they're doing, then we're going to be good."

They also have shown their versatility, which Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron loves adding to his offense. Both have run routes as receivers in the slot or even outside during camp. Pitta has lined up at fullback and even H-back.

So with all these similarities, what are the differences?

"They're a little bit different body-type-wise," Harbaugh said. "Ed is probably faster, Dennis is probably longer."

Another difference is where they were drafted. After setting an Oregon tight end record with 124 receptions for 1,557 yards and 12 touchdowns over his college career, Dickson was selected by the Ravens in the third round.

Pitta broke the Brigham Young receptions record previously held by the Colts' Austin Collie by snagging 221 career passes for 2,901 yards and 21 touchdowns. Yet he was taken in the fourth round.

While there are competitions at every position each year, the battle between Dickson and Pitta is especially unique.

"It's definitely interesting," Pitta said. "I think in their minds they drafted him first for a reason. I think it's my job to prove they were wrong. As harsh as that sounds, that's my objective."

Said Dickson, "It's going to be very competitive. On a daily basis we come in and compete until we're bruised and battered and go home and sleep. Then we come back and do it again."

But it's a friendly competition, evidenced by the fact that Dickson and Pitta were lunch buddies after Wednesday's practice. And they've also devised a new plan: to try to get both of them on the field with Todd Heap as much as possible.

"When there's three of us out there, it's fun," Pitta said with a grin. "Because we can all run and stretch defenses, that poses a big problem. Three tight ends out there, that could really put pressure on a defense."

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