2012 Players To Watch: Dennis Pitta

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens and Ray Lewis #52 shake hands with fans after the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 16-6 at M&T Bank Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Through out tight end Dennis Pitta's short NFL career he has had to play second fiddle to fellow tight end Ed Dickson. Dickson was drafted one round earlier than pitta. He is also a hair taller and a bit faster than the BYU standout. So there are plenty of reasons the Ravens have had Dickson ranked higher on the depth chart the past two seasons. The only problem is, Pitta may be the better tight end.

In college Pitta showed a natural tendency to get open and find the holes in zone defenses. He also showed some of the best hands in his draft class. The Ravens drafted him in hopes that his skills would translate to the NFL and it looks like they are.

The first one to really notice how much of a difference Pitta can make in a game was quarterback Joe Flacco. Not only has Pitta become one of his closest friends on the team but he looks to be becoming his favorite target as well.

Dickson played well at the beginning of the season but started to have some trouble with drops about half way through the year. Enter Dennis Pitta. Pitta saw more and more playing time as Dickson's struggles continued. In his time on the field he showed why the Ravens took two tight ends in the same draft. With Dickson on the field the Ravens felt they had a player capable of making game changing plays down the field. Now, with Pitta on the field, they see a player that knows how to get open and catches everything thrown his way. In short they had a safety blanket for Joe Flacco. Someone he trusts, the perfect compliment to his counterpart, as he may not be the down field threat that Dickson is but he is way more consistent and sure-handed.

Both Dickson and Pitta will be sure to see the field a lot in 2012 but with the way last season ended it would not surprise me to see the majority of the passes to start to swing in the direction of Dennis Pitta. Not that Dickson isn't going to be the player we all have hoped and expected he would be but I think the team is starting to realize what they have in Pitta as well. The chemistry that he and Flacco share can not be understated.

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