With Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta out for the season with a dislocated hip (reported by ESPN), former-Oregon Duck Ed Dickson now finds himself the de-facto starting tight end for the defending Super Bowl champions. Entering a contract year (playing for a payday), Dickson has the opportunity to put up some big stats in offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s offense. Joe Flacco’s two-most dependable targets in Anquan Boldin and Pitta will no longer be catching balls, so expect a career year from Dickson.
After giving Flacco his mega-extension (6-year, $120+ million) the Ravens will be dedicated to the pass, and the aging Ray Rice probably won’t match his total of 61 receptions from last year. With a lack of depth at tight end (though the Ravens just signed 33 year-old Visanthe Shiancoe to a minimum contract) expect Dickson to at least match his totals of 54 receptions, 500+ yards and 5 TD’s from 2011, when he started all 16 games as a second-year player.
Dickson doesn’t have the same ceiling as Pitta (whom I compare to Colt Lyerla as a pro), but he’s a proven tight end who can block and average around 10 yards-per-reception. If speedsters Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones can stretch the field, expect Dickson to find room underneath and catch about 75 passes for 650+ yards. TD’s are hard to predict, but Jones and Smith aren’t big threats in the red-zone, so he could potentially develop into the go-to-guy when the Ravens look to pass inside the 20.
It’s never a good thing when someone gets injured, but that’s the name of the game and a risk professionals take. Wishing a full-recovery for Pitta from all Ducks Fans, but can’t be more excited to see Dickson and Ngata do their thing as they pursue another Lombardi Trophy!