Remember when the Baltimore Ravens drafted two tight ends in Dennis Pitta, and Ed Dickson in the 2010 NFL Draft, while people believed the New England Patriots selecting Rob Gronkowski in the second round, and Aaron Hernandez in the fourth round that same year were better deals? I do. And the Ravens seem to have won the war.
If we are talking about the battle between the two pairs of tight ends from 2010 through 2012, the Patriots duo was more productive by a significant margin. But at the end of the day, the Ravens won the war from the stand point of winning the Super Bowl, as well as the health and legal concerns the Patriots have with Gronkowski and Hernandez, respectively, up until Wednesday morning when the Patriots decided to release Hernandez following his arrest. And we should not forget the financial ramifications the Patriots have with Hernandez signing a five-year deal that was worth $40 million in 2012, and Gronkowski signing a six-year deal worth $54 million last year as well.
Gronkowski has been a top-three tight end in the game, but has had nagging injuries over the course of his young career, a situation that raised red flags from teams around the league in 2010 of him being injury prone. Hernandez being one of the top tight ends in the game in his own right, had red flags around him as well coming out of the draft, and he seems to keep getting into trouble. If not for the off the field troubles with Hernandez, the Patriots win this battle in a landslide. But we all know that is not the case now.
The Ravens, on the other hand, have had disappointing results on the field with Dickson who was drafted in the third round in 2010, but have also gained great value from Pitta who was drafted in the fourth round that year, and delivered heroic efforts in the Ravens run to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season.
For the Ravens, both Pitta and Dickson are on one-year tenders with the expectation that Pitta will receive a contract extension in the coming months coming off the best season of his career with 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. Dickson is at a cross roads production-wise with the Ravens, because if he doesn’t improve, he may just be gone a year later than Hernandez.
The Ravens duo of tight ends may not have been as productive and flashy as the Patriots duo from 2010-2012, but they were quiet off the field, healthy enough and productive enough to help the Ravens earn their second Super Bowl trophy in franchise history while the Patriots did not achieve that goal.