Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
On first glance, one might think that there is little comparison between the 49ers tight end with blazing speed and the Ravens plodding tight end.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta was not even drafted to be the starting tight end in 2010. Ed Dickson was selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, while Pitta was taken one round later. However, over the past two seasons, Dennis has proved to have the better hands and in addition to being QB Joe Flacco's go-to receiver, is also his best friend on the team.
Meanwhile, Davis was the 6th overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. With the speed of a wide receiver, Davis would prove to be a match-up nightmare for defenses from the moment he stepped onto the playing field, catching a 31-yard TD pass on his very first NFL reception. Meanwhile, Pitta was virtually ignored his rookie season, catching only one pass for one yard.
Flash forward to this season where Pitta distanced himself from Ed Dickson as the Ravens starting tight end, due to a combination of his obvious skills and a serious case of poor hands by Dickson. Let's take a look at the comparisons between Davis and Pitta, both in the 2012 regular and post seasons, as well as comparing their first three season totals in the NFL.
In the regular season, Dennis Pitta caught 61 balls for 669 yards (11.0 average), with seven TD catches. He had a long of 61 yards, which went for a touchdown and eight of his receptions went for over 20 yards. Most importantly, 29 of his 61 catches went for first downs and he did not fumble the entire season.
Vernon Davis was a favorite of previously starting QB Alex Smith, but for whatever reason, became less so once current starter Colin Kaepernick took over. Davis finished the regular season with 41 receptions for 548 yards (13.4 avg.) and five TD catches. His long was 53 yards, he didn't fumble either and 26 of his receptions resulted in first downs.
In the three games of Pitta's post season, he's had ten receptions for 137 yards (13.7 avg.), two TDs and three catches of over 20 yards with a long of 24 yards. In Davis' two playoff games, he's caught six passes for 150 yards (25.0 avg.) and one TD, with four of his six receptions going for over 20 yards, the longest for 44 yards.
Taking a look at both of their first three seasons in the NFL, the similarities are uncanny, proving that they might have been looked at as very different people going into the draft and even now at this point of their respective careers. However, the numbers tell a different tale, one of virtually identical statistics.
Vernon Davis started off his career with 103 receptions in his first three seasons. He gained 1,132 yards and caught nine TD passes. Dennis Pitta's three-year totals show 102 receptions for 1,075yards and ten TD catches, with the most interesting reminder that his rookie season consisted of exactly one catch for one yard, meaning he put up the majority of his numbers last year and this season.
Anyway you choose to look at it, while speed and flashiness is what attracts the eye of the camera and most fans, the consistency and quality of these two guys make it obvious that one of these guys will play a pivotal role in their team winning Super Bowl 47. A lot will depend on the players around them, as well as the guys defending them. However, make no bones about it, both Dennis Pitta and Vernon Davis are among the best in the league at their positions and can definitely be the deciding factor in a game with so many other stars getting a lot more attention.
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