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The Competition: Tight Ends


PLEASE NOTE:The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

When it came to on-field production, last year's tight end corps consisted of Todd Heap, Todd Heap and Todd Heap.

After a one-year trial with L.J. Smith, the Ravens drafted rookies Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta in the third and fourth round, respectively.

Now, tight end is one of the most interesting positions to watch entering training camp.

Heap still leads the pack following a resurgent season. So the battle will be at No. 2, where Dickson, Pitta and second-year player Davon Drew are all looking to make their first NFL impact.

Here's how the competition is sizing up:

Todd Heap, 10th seasonWhat He's Done:  Heap had a comeback season in 2009, notching 53 receptions for 593 receiving yards and six touchdowns – his best marks in each category since 2006.
What He's Going For:  He doesn't have to worry about his No. 1 spot. Part of Heap's duties, however, will be mentoring Baltimore's young tight ends. Getting back to the Pro Bowl would be a perk.
What He Needs To Do:  Stay healthy. Heap played in all 16 games for a second straight year, but was pretty banged up by the tail end of the season. He says he feels better than usual this offseason.

Ed Dickson, 1st seasonWhat He's Done:  The third-round pick and Mackey Award semifinalist (given to college football's top tight end) showed his athleticism during Ravens Organized Team Activities. He's a big target with soft hands and speed.
What He's Going For:  Dickson would love to be Heap's backup, a position that could see a lot of action in an upgraded passing attack. He'll have to beat out Pitta if he's going to get there.
What He Needs To Do:  Once the pads come on, Dickson's must show he's fearless over the middle and can separate from NFL defensive backs. He's also got to block and play special teams.

Dennis Pitta, 1st seasonWhat He's Done:  Pitta (BYU's career receptions leader) is known for his toughness and great hands. He showed both during OTAs, and spent extra time working with Joe Flacco during their time off.
What He's Going For: The fourth-round pick has a legitimate shot at the No. 2 slot, but he has to beat out a player drafted right ahead of him. He has been learning multiple slots, so Pitta could target a versatile role.
What He Needs To Do:  The pass-catching machine made a good first impression. Pitta needs to continue that vibe and work on his blocking and special teams skills.

Davon Drew, 2nd seasonWhat He's Done:  Drew was released after being selected in fifth round of the draft last year. He came back to Baltimore after a brief stint in Miami and spent the entire year on the practice squad.
What He's Going For: A roster spot. The East Carolina product was at the bottom of the totem pole last year, so the additions of Dickson and Pitta give him a steeper hill to climb.
What He Needs To Do:  First off, Drew needs to pass his physical (something he didn't do at the start of last year's camp). He also is going to have to stand out on special teams if he's going to remain on the active roster.

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