With the Draft approaching, most of us Ravens fans have been looking towards the outer areas of both sides of the ball, WR and CB. Of course we all know that a little more explosion from our Wide Receivers would have maybe propelled us to a Superbowl or maybe a little better coverage from a better and stronger Secondary may have prevented Santonio Holmes from getting that wild touchdown in the AFC Championship. But those times are over now, including the season. We now enter the offseason wondering what the crazy Ozzie Newsome will be doing comp April 25th-26th. Whatever the man has been doing for us in the past, it sure as hell has worked as we have one of the top groups of talent on a TEAM in the league. But the question is, what exactly are Ozzie and Eric DeCosta really thinking come these next 3 months of all day and all night studying of raw talent and game film of hundreds of guys coming into Indianapolis this week?
An area that most of us have not really paid too much attention to would be Tight End. Sure, we love our Boy Band looking guy in Todd Heap because he brings so much to our style of football. Yet, Todd has seemed to lose that certain "something" that had him as a pro bowler for some years with freaking Chris Redman at Quarterback! I mean with Joe, we may be looking at the best QB that Baltimore has ever seen since Unitas. However, Todd's blocking this year has been stellar, as many of our coaches will also tell you that. We complain so much about how predicable our offense can be at times. What I ask you here is, will the Ravens make a run at a Tight End in this years draft? It is looking to be a very good possibility given the talent some of the guys have in this class. Lets take a look at some of the better Tight Ends that have entered the 2009 Draft
Brandon Pettigrew - Oklahoma State: Considered to be the best TE prospect of this group. Has the size you would want in a Tight End at 6'6" 260 pounds. In a conference loaded with tight ends, he was judged the best and was a first-team all-conference pick. Ok, he is not the elite athlete that everyone looks for, like Vernon Davis was/is but Pettigrew is the complete package in the Jason Witten mould. He blocks, he catches, he's big, he's strong; he is everything you want in a TE. He plays even bigger than his 6'6" frame with very long arms and huge hands and will catch any jump ball thrown in his direction. The Ravens will be looking for dominating players when they look at the Tight Ends this year. In an interview from www.BaltimoreRavens.com, Director of Player Personnel, Eric DeCosta had this to say, "Usually the top tight end is either an outstanding blocker or an outstanding receiver. If a guy is not outstanding in either regard, he is probably a back up Tight End. And if a guy excels as a blocker of a receiver, he's got a chance to really help a team. If he can do both, he's got a chance to be an elite guy." Well, that sure sounds like the type of guy that Brandon Pettigrew is. May not be the guy we are looking for to give us that explosion, but if he can help us win some football games, I am all for it.
Chase Coffman - Missouri: Pettigrew is considered to be the best prospect because he brings everything to the table that you want in an offensive player. BUT, Coffman stands out in one area over Pettigrew, and that is catching, running, and scoring. First off, Coffman is also huge, 6'6" 245 pounds and I read that some of his teammates said there is something scary going on in his head when he is on the football field. He is a firey competitor and a very good weapon.Coffman was able to catch 247 balls over his 4 year starting career, good for 2659 yards and 30 touchdowns. That sure as hell sounds like the type of "explosion" that our offense has been looking for. Yet, his blocking ability has been a huge question for many of the pro teams that have let him interview and work out. But Coffman is such a smart person, that he even openly admitted that he needs to work on his blocking.His size and speed created a ton of mismatches for the Tiger offense and he will continue to do that at the next level. Since the day he stepped foot on Missouri's campus, Chase Coffman was too dangerous of a pass catching threat to leave on the bench.
Right now is the time to think about how we can improve our team, and it started right after the clock struck zero in the AFC Championship game. Sure, the front office needs to fill so many holes all over the place, but is Tight End one of them? We will just have to wait and see.
Oh yea, Terps over Tar Heels tomorrow. 3:30 pm, ABC. Mark my word.