Dennis Pitta

2010 Draft Grades: Ravens

The Ravens did a great job trading out of the 1st round and still managing to land a 1st-round talent in the 2nd round.

Sergio Kindle is a perfect fit at outside linebacker in Baltimore. While their defense is still based off the 3-4 scheme, they have been running more 4-3 sets lately and Kindle is a much better fit at outside linebacker in those formations than Jarrett Johnson. He’ll likely backup Johnson this upcoming season, but he should see significant playing time as part of the rotation.

Terrence Cody was a great pick in the late 2nd-round. He obviously doesn’t fill an immediate need, but he can be used in a rotation at nose tackle with 33-year-old Kelly Gregg. That combination will suit both players well and should improve what was already one of the best defensive lines in football.

I’m not crazy about the selection of Ed Dickson. He can contribute immediately as a receiver, but his blocking needs a lot of work. He just isn’t the complete package that the Ravens like at tight end. However, I think they got great value for Dennis Pitta in the 4th round. He’s much closer to a Todd Heap-type tight end and I like his chances of eventually replacing Heap better than Dickson’s. That said, I don’t like the fact that they grabbed two tight ends in spots where other contributors could have been added.

David Reed is an intriguing prospect, but I felt the reached a little bit in the 5th round. Fortunately he won’t be relied on this upcoming season. For the short term, the Ravens are set a receiver, allowing them to develop Reed without throwing him into the fire.

Arthur Jones was a great late 5th-round pick. Entering the 2009 season he was viewed as a potential 1st-round pick. However, he has a long history of knee injuries which scared off most teams. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be an instant contributor at defensive end for the Ravens. He’s a very nice addition to their rotation on the defensive line and well worth the risk in the 5th round.

Ramone Harewood is a developmental prospect and landed in the perfect place in Baltimore. He fits the mold of a typical Ravens tackle (6’7″, 360 pounds) and they’ll try to groom him for a starting job two to three years down the road. He may spend the 2010 season on the practice squad, but in the 6th round they could afford to grab a developmental prospect that won’t bring any immediate returns.

Overall, this was a very solid draft for the Ravens. For the most part, they got excellent value at each slot and a few players that can contribute immediately. The only downside is that they didn’t land any immediate difference makers. They have every reason to believe that they can be a Super Bowl contender in 2010, so it was surprising to see them fail to address more needs early one. They have a number of injury concerns at cornerback (Lardarius Webb, Dominique Foxworth) and adding some insurance at that position would have made sense.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Ravens Comments Off

East/West Shrine Game Interviews

shrinegameMike Band is hanging out at the East/West Shrine Game practices this week. On Monday he got a chance to catch up with some of the prospects. Here’s what they had to say…

O’Brien Schofield, LB Wisconsin

How do you feel about the transition from defensive end to linebacker?
I came out here today to show that I can stand up and play on the outside. It’s been a great time showing my skills and that I can make that transition. I’m gonna show I’m a coverage linebacker.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in this morning at 6’2, 242. I was listed at 250 but I lost weight during the year.

How was today’s practice different than at Wisconsin?
The biggest thing I noticed was that these coaches are keeping it simple. They’re allowing everyone to understand the situation.

What’s your biggest asset when you step on the football field?
I will be able to cover well, man on man and stuff like that.

What scouts have showed interest in you the last few days?
I had interviews from Scouts from Carolina, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta and New England.

Most of the teams are 43 teams, how do you feel about that?
I’m likely gonna have to stand up and play strong side linebacker and I feel I can work in any scheme. But I would love to put my hand down and just get up and go.

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Freddie Barnes, WR Bowling Green

Where are you training to develop your skills?
I’ve been working with Tony Valeri from XPE in South Florida for my training. I’ve been there for two weeks. I didn’t get invited to the combine so I’m just getting ready for my pro day which is on April 18 th

What scouts have showed interest in you the last few days?
Scouts from the Falcons, Bears, Panthers, Bucs and Chiefs all have approached me.

150 catches in one season is a feat no one has ever accomplished. Who do you attribute to your success?
I thank God first and foremost because I’ve been injured for the majority of my first four years. Me and Tyler Sheehan have been together for three years now and we just have a great understanding of each other.

You’re not a blazing fast wideout, nor are you the tallest, what’s your biggest asset and what allows you to get so open so often?
I played quarterback all throughout high school and through my sophomore year at Bowling Green. That allowed me to develop a great knowledge for the game. I feel like I’m much better at going through reads because of it.

What has your experience been like here at this All-Star Game?
It’s been nice here in Orlando because for years it was always about the team and making the group better. Now scouts are getting to know me and hopefully I can show what I can do on the field.

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Greg Hardy, DE Ole Miss

How has the draft process been for you?
It’s fun to be out here. I’m certainly excited to be out in this great weather.

You missed some time with a wrist injury. Has that effected your play at all?
My wrist feels good, I’m not having too much of a problem with it, there aren’t any lingering effects and it’s for sure 100%.

Where are you training to develop your skills?
I’m currently training at Michael Johnson’s speed camp to work in preparation for the combine

How crazy does this whole process get and what kind of questions are you getting?
It’s been very repetitive, most of these scouts ask the same basic questions, but it’s still fun. You just gotta have a good attitude out here and good things will happen.

Where do you feel more comfortable, on the right or left side?
I’m more natural on the right, that’s where I’ve always played but I can also play on the left. But I do believe I have the versatility to stand up and play linebacker and do all that.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I weighed in at 279, I dropped 9 lbs since the start of the season.

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Patrick Simonds, WR Colgate

What do you expect to run in the 40 time?
If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. I’ve been running a 4.48, 4.49 which is pretty impressive at my size. I have the size and athleticism and I’m willing to work at it to get better.

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Darrell Stuckey, S Kansas

I read a recent KU article labeling you the ‘Tim Tebow’ of the Kansas defense. How do you feel about that?
I’m not as vocal as Tim is, but I do lead by example and I’m heard when I need to. But he’s a great guy and he’s made a great impact on the game.

Where are you training to develop your skills?
Right now I’ve been training for the combine and just reflecting what I want to do with the rest of my life.

How has Kansas prepared you for the next level?
Coach Bowen has done a fantastic job in preparing us throughout my career.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in at 5’11, 207

Do you prefer strong or free safety?
I played both Free and strong throughout my career but I played strong as a senior because we didn’t have much else. I do feel comfortable at either position though.

Which wide receiver was the toughest you faced all season?
Jordan Shipley would probably be the guy, he’s the toughest receiver we faced all season, he’s versatile and strong yet he finds ways to get open.

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Seyi Aijrotutu, WR Fresno State

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in at 6’3, 211, not quite the 6’4 I was listed at. I’ve never even been 6’3!

What’s it like out there during practice and do you feel you’re prepared for the next level?
I feel like I have what it takes. It’s a mindset that you have to put yourself in. Everyone’s on the same skill level, same quickness out here. Everyone just makes plays. Luckily I didn’t drop a ball out here today so I’m feeling good.

Where are you training for the combine?
I’m training in West Lake, California

What are you expecting to run in the 40?
I think I can run a 4.5, that’s been my main focus just running 40′s after 40′s. 4.5 would be adequate for my size so I’m just working hard.

What would you like to take out of this week of practice?
I’m just looking forward to having fun. I just want to come out here and play and play well.

It looked like you and Verran Tucker were having some laughs out there. Is he your biggest competition out here?
Absolutely, I think Tucker and I are the top dogs out here and we’ve were going back and forth all day. He’s a Cal guy, I’m from Fresno State so the whole rivalry thing is making this fun.

Any of these corners have your number today?
No way. Hah, no but Brian Jackson and I had some fun out there. We train at the same place together so it’s been a good time.

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Dennis Pitta, TE BYU

How has your college experience prepared you for the road ahead?
I feel like I’m very well prepared, I’m much more mature in age than some of these guys and certainly my college experience has prepared me the right way.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in at 6’4, 245.

What’s it like having Max Hall throw you passes out here?
It’s nice because it feels comfortable. It’s obviously going to be an adjustment when you have new quarterbacks throwing to you.

Where are you training for the combine?
I’ve been training at Velocity, it’s in Urbine, California.

What’s your biggest asset on the football field?
Just being able to catch the football. I’ve been the go-to guy at BYU and I feel like I can continue that role. I want to be the guy that a quarterback can count on when needed.

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Max Hall, QB BYU

So what do you think of former teammate Dennis Pitta?
He’s a great player. He was my main target for three years and we had a blast together.

If I’m an NFL GM, why should I draft you?
I can make all of the throws necessary and I know I can command and lead a huddle. I may be a little small but I can stand in the pocket and make the throws they ask of me.

Where are you training for the combine?
I’ve been training in Scottsdale, Arizona, just trying to get bigger and stronger while still improving my arm strength.

How has this week of practice helped you develop as a player?
Learning from these coaches is very helpful. These guys know what they’re talking about and they are certainly preparing me for the next step.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off