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Late For Work 4/30: Kiper: Pitta Can Make Immediate Impact

Plus the best Draft executives and Foxworth and Lewis deliver an anti-steriods message.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 9:04 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Kiper Believes Pitta Can Make Immediate Impact

The later rounds of the 2009 NFL draft produced some immediate help in several offenses.

Case in point:  Colts rookie receiver Austin Collie caught 60 passes for Indianapolis last season after being picked in the fourth round (No. 127 overall) out of BYU.

In reviewing impact players from the later rounds in the 2010 draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. believes Collie’s former teammate and the Ravens’ fourth-round selection tight end Dennis Pitta has the chance to make an early impact too.

“[Pitta is] another player who was drafted too late considering his skills and production,” Kiper said.

Kiper said the reason Pitta fell to the fourth round is simply because of his birth certificate. Pitta, 24, is older than most prospects because he took a two-year LDS service mission to the Dominican Republic before returning to the gridiron in 2007. 

However, Kiper believes that while Pitta’s age hurt his draft stock, it may also be the reason he can immediately produce for the Ravens next season. At least that same recipe worked for Collie, who also entered the NFL as an elderly 24-year-old rookie.

“Pitta lost some draft standing because of his age, but he also might be ready to contribute sooner than a tight end the Ravens took earlier, Ed Dickson,” Kiper said. “Pitta has the best hands of any tight end in the draft, and could see the field sooner because even if he’s not blessed with significant bulk on a 6-foot-4-plus frame, he’s extremely willing to hit people.

“Oddly, the same reason Pitta may have fallen (age) is the same reason he should see the field quickly (maturity) as an understudy to Todd Heap and a favorite target of Joe Flacco.”

While Baltimore fans are crossing their fingers in hopes that Kiper’s prediction comes true, here’s a more personal video on Pitta. He and his wife explain the unique circumstances under which they met.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Who Is Best At The NFL Draft?

USA Today’s Nate Davis ranked the league’s 20 decision makers who have been on the job at least three years with their current team in an effort to find the best of the best at the NFL draft.

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome was listed at No. 4 behind the Pats’ Bill Belichick, Chiefs’ Scott Pioli and Colts’ Bill Polian.

Here’s Davis’ take:

In the Ravens’ first-ever draft in 1996, he took offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden and linebacker Ray Lewis, two near sure-fire Hall of Famers. Newsome has continued to be one of the league’s savviest talent evaluators, finding stars in the first round (Joe Flacco, Jamal Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs among them) and front-line contributors as late as the sixth round (Derek Anderson, Chester Taylor and Adalius Thomas). He even secured Ogden’s replacement at left tackle, Jared Gaither, in the fifth round of the 2007 supplemental draft. Newsome was the architect of Baltimore’s 2000 Super Bowl team and consistently has the franchise in playoff contention year in and year out.

Best pick: Ray Lewis — He’s been the face of the franchise since the Ravens arrived in Baltimore.

Worst pick: Kyle Boller— Newsome traded back into the first round of the 2003 draft (he’d already picked Suggs) to add Boller, who was supposed to be the long-term answer at quarterback the Ravens have struggled to find. Boller wasn’t.

Foxworth, Lewis Deliver Anti-Steroids Message

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Domonique Foxworth delivered an anti- steroids message yesterday to 700 high school athletes at a hotel conference center, according to Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun.

Lewis’ message — “Don’t ever put anything in the body that changes who you are.”

Experts believe young athletes have pressure to bulk up and some fear youth are turning to supplements with potentially dangerous side effects.

“I don’t think everyone wants to be bigger, but they want to be the best one way or another,” Lewis told the Sun. “And they’re going to try to find any way to do it. So if you don’t educate them on it, then they might find steroids.”

Foxworth said coaches must be part of the first line of defense.

“You should be completely prepared and educated if you’re going to lead kids in anything, especially in your field. I mean, the idea of a coach not knowing the ins and outs of steroids is like having an English teacher who doesn’t know where to put a comma,” Foxworth said.

Quick Hits

  • Tweet from RavensInsider (Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson): “The Broncos have re-signed former Ravens linebacker Nick Greisen.”
  • Tweet from RayRice27 (Ravens running back Ray Rice): “Night night people got a photoshoot for espn the magazine in the am.” (sic)

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