Oregon Tight End Completes Ravens' First Day
TEAM HAD GOALS AND SEEMINGLY MET THEM
By Joe Platania
Friday, April 23, 2010 - 9:40 p.m.
OWINGS MILLS -- For the Baltimore Ravens, Day Two of the draft is over.
But the way they approached this year's selection meeting, it felt a lot like Day One.
The Ravens had several missions going into this year: to get younger on defense, to get a good pass-rusher, to acquire a run-stuffing defensive tackle and to nail down another tight end.
More than anything else, however, was the mission to acquire more picks.
"It felt empty," general manager Ozzie Newsome said after a Thursday first round that saw the Ravens trade out, but acquire two extra picks instead of a player.
"It's like preparing for a Monday-night football game," Newsome said, comparing the process to a game day that sees players wait around all day before getting on the bus and taking the field.
"We made a list of players (for Day Two) that we targeted," the general manager said. "At the top of that list were five players. We got three of the five."
Player personnel head Eric DeCosta agreed, mindful that the Ravens still have a fourth-, two fifth- and one sixth-round pick on their agenda for Saturday.
"We created some depth today," he said. "That is what we hoped we'd do."
The third pick of the day was Oregon tight end Ed Dickson, the Ravens' first offensive draft choice and the fourth alumnus of that school to be drafted by Baltimore. He was selected with the 70th overall pick.
Dickson was originally a defensive end before switching to tight end as a sophomore. He also punted several times as a collegian.
"He's very athletic," player personnel head Eric DeCosta said. "He ran a sub-4.6 (dash) at the combine, which is very good for a tight end."
Dickson ended his senior season on the watch list for the John Mackey Award and was named first-time All-Pacific Ten Conference.
He is expected to be Todd Heap's main backup, what with the release of Quinn Sypniewski and the disappointing performance of former Philadelphia Eagle free-agent pickup LJ Smith.
The media's main talking point of the day were the eventful conference call interviews with first-round linebacker Sergio Kindle -- a lively, talkative sort -- and the laconic Terrence Cody, whose weight-oriented issues dominated the conversation.
"We got some different personalities on this football team," Newsome said. "When we met with (Kindle), his personality did come out.
"We want people who will fit in in our locker room."
Newsome shot down the various reports that Kindle's knee -- which has undergone four procedures already -- would need the kind of microfracture surgery that sidelined nose guard Kelly Gregg for an entire season.
As for Cody, Newsome confirmed that he had lost 50 pounds since leaving Mississippi Gulf Coast Academy, where the coaching staff included former Ravens safety Stevon Moore.
The Ravens admittedly gambled when trading out of the first round and missing out on defensive players like Jared Odrick and receivers such as Dez Bryant.
But, as is usually the case, Baltimore's brain trust had a draft plan and it stuck to it.
"We got guys we didn't want to play against," DeCosta said.
And in past drafts, the Ravens have been mostly glad their picks have been on their side.
Here is a thumbnail sketch on third-round pick Ed Dickson
(Third round, 70th overall selection)
Height/weight: 6'4", 250
Position: Tight end
Strengths: Good size and hands with quick feet, a consistent target
Weaknesses: Not very strong, route-running and run-blocking needs work
Quotable: "(He is) more of an oversized wide receiver than a true tight end." -- USA TODAY draft guide
TRIVIA TIME ANSWER: With the 70th pick in 1970, the Baltimore Colts selected split end and placekicker Jim O'Brien of the University of Cincinnati.
Were it not for his status as a receiver, O'Brien may not have been drafted at all. That, of course, would not have put him in position to kick the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl V at the Orange Bowl against Dallas.
At that time, the Orange Bowl had a PolyTurf artificial surface, on which most kickers were unaccustomed to working.
Factor in O'Brien's spotty rookie year, and it's no wonder many of the Colts couldn't even watch as O'Brien --with his chin strap unbuckled -- lined up the 32-yard field goal that beat Dallas, 16-13.
Had O'Brien missed, it would have been the first Super Bowl to go to an overtime period, a distinction that still eludes the year's biggest game.
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ABOUT JOE PLATANIA
PressBox football beat writer Joe Platania, 46, is a Baltimore native and has been a multi-award-winning sports journalist for over 30 years, covering many different sports at all levels with insight, humor, a near-photographic memory and a keen, prescient eye.
A longtime member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Pro Football Writers Association of America, Platania (pluh-TAN-ee-uh) will in 2010 enter his 17th season covering professinal football, having manned the CFL Stallions beat for The Avenue Newspaper Group of Essex (1994-95) and the Ravens beat for PressBox and The Avenue, as well as several other publications and radio stations.
Platania is a much-sought-after veteran contributor to many talk-radio and television programs, and most recently was a contributor on WMAR-TV's "Good Morning Maryland" show last fall.
Previously, he frequently appeared on Comcast SportsNet's "Washington Post Live" and WJZ-TV's "Football Talk" post-game program with Marty Bass from 2002-04.
Also, Platania makes occasional appearances with PresssBox publisher/founder Stan “The Fan” Charles on Channel 2’s”Inside PressBox”, which airs Saturday nights at 11 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m.
He is one of only three Baltimore-based print reporters to have covered the Ravens during their entire history.
Platania is a four-time Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association award winner and was named Maryland Sportscaster of the Year in 1998 for his work on WCBM-AM (680).
Platania, a graduate of St. Joseph's, Cockeysville (1977), Calvert Hall College High School (1981) and Towson University (1985), is single and lives in Cockeysville.