Ravens draft analysis, position by position: Tight end

From now until May 8, the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, The Sun will look at where the Ravens stand at each position, the likelihood that they will address that spot early in the draft and some of the prospects that they may consider.

The Ravens have eight total picks in the three-day draft: one in each of the first, second, fifth and sixth rounds, and two each in the third and fourth rounds.

Today we'll be examining tight end:

Current tight ends under contract: Dennis Pitta, Owen Daniels, Matt Furstenburg, Nathan Overbay.

Chances that the Ravens draft a tight end in first three rounds: Decent. The tight end position is like running back and wide receiver in that it’s not a huge need in the present for the Ravens, but it’s an area where the team would like to add depth to for the future. The February, five-year contract extension for Pitta solidifies the spot and if healthy, Daniels could be an upgrade to Ed Dickson who signed this offseason with the Carolina Panthers. However, Daniels has only a one-year deal and he struggled last year to stay healthy. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak also loves multiple tight end sets so there is still a need for another tight end that blocks well. But it’s not a pressing need,

Possibly on Ravens’ radar: Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), Alex Bayer (Bowling Green), Eric Ebron (North Carolina), C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa), Troy Niklas (Notre Dame)

Outlook: The Ravens have kicked the tires on just about all the top tight ends in the draft class and several further down the line. At some point, they figure to draft at least one, knowing Kubiak’s offense relies heavily on tight ends and Daniels may only be a one-year stopgap. Ebron is the consensus top tight end available though it’s not impossible that he’s still on the board at 17. The Ravens, who would love to add a big and athletic playmaker on offense, would think long and hard about taking him if that scenario plays out. But if they wait a round or two, a guy like Niklas, who gets high marks for his physicality at the line of scrimmage, would be a great fit because neither Pitta or Daniels are known for their blocking ability. The Ravens are going to have tight ends that they like in each round. The bet here is that they pull the trigger on one early on the third day. Of course, if Ebron is available at 17, that could change their plans.      

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