When Ravens May Draft A Tight End


As Owner Steve Bisciotti told fans, perhaps the Ravens' most "desperate" need is at tight end.

With Owen Daniels' departure to Denver, rising rookie Crockett Gillmore and Phillip Supernaw are the only tight ends on the roster. In an offense that relies heavily on the tight end position, that's an issue.

The Ravens must find more pass-catching tight ends, but the problem is this isn't the greatest draft class to find them.

Still, Baltimore's confident it can unearth some talent.

"There are going to be guys in the later rounds and mid rounds that end up being pretty good football players, even if they may not be household names right now," Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "Our job is to find those guys and get them to Baltimore."

The top two tight end prospects are Minnesota's Maxx Williams and Miami's Clive Walford.

Williams was projected to the Ravens in some early mock drafts, but has slid into second-round consideration in recent weeks. The 6-foot-4 Minnesota prospect caught 36 passes for 569 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore before declaring early.

Walford is a 6-foot-4 Miami product who made 44 catches for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior season. He was particularly impressive at the Senior Bowl despite coming off an injury, showing good wiggle to get open down the middle of the field.

"Walford from Miami is a talented kid that will probably go in the middle rounds," said Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz. "And then below that there are going to be guys in the fifth and sixth rounds that end up helping their teams, whether they are blocking guys or receiving tight ends, but they will show up. We feel good about it."

The Ravens didn't name any of those players but some are likely.Ohio State's Jeff Heuerman, Souther Illinois' MyCole Pruitt, Rutgers' Tyler Kroft, Oklahoma's Blake Bell and Florida State's Nick O'Leary.

"It's certainly not a real deep class," Hortiz said. "I think two years ago or three years ago there was a really deep class. This year it's probably on the lighter side, but there are guys that we can target in the mid rounds."

The Ravens have done well finding tight end talent in the middle rounds.

Last year, they drafted Crockett Gillmore out of Colorado State in the third round. At the time, it was seen as a bit early for Gillmore, but the move worked out.

Gillmore played in all 16 games, was an aggressive blocker in the run and pass game, and even showed off his hands with 10 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. He improved as a receiver as the year progressed , and Bisciotti said he could even catch 30 to 40 passes next season.

In 2010, the Ravens selected tight end Ed Dickson in the third round and Dennis Pitta in the fourth. While Dickson didn't become a big pass-catching threat, Pitta was a definite hit, and later re-signed to a contract extension before suffering a second major hip injury.

"Coaches have projects or players they like that we might get later in the draft. We work out different guys and scouts have personal favorites," DeCosta said. "Coach [Gary] Kubiak loved Crockett last year."

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