After a year of tutelage under perhaps one of the greatest TE's to play the game in future H.O.F. Shannon Sharpe, all Heap accomplished in his second year was establish himself as one of the top pass-catching TE's in the NFL and garner a selection to the Pro-Bowl. At the same time he perhaps cost his former mentor a Pro-Bowl spot in the process.
One of the lone bright spots in an otherwise lackluster offense for the Ravens in 2002, Heap has shown that if you get the ball in his vicinity, he'll
consistently win the battle for the ball and make plays. Heap has arguably the best hands on the Ravens receiving squad and athleticism and quickness that's rare for a TE his size.
His versatility makes him a multiple threat as he can line up as a traditional tight end, a slot receiver, a blocking back, and a rushing back at any given time. Being able to move him around allows the Ravens to gain favorable match-ups over their opponents and place Heap into position to make big plays for the Ravens offensive attack.
The best part of all is that Heap is just starting to realize his full potential and should make an even bigger impact with the upgrades that the Ravens have made offensively this past offseason.
With the acquisition of receivers Frank Sanders and Marcus Robinson along with a determined and hungry Travis Taylor, the outside receiving threats that the Ravens will have in place should certainly alleviate some of the pressure that is consistently placed on Heap.
Since he's the offensive player who's clearly been regarded as the Ravens most consistent and therefore most dangerous receiving option, he usually will garner more double-teams and coverage from the defense's better coverage backs.
Having more of a deep passing presence on the field will only open up the intermediate portion of the field that much more allowing Heap more space to make bigger plays in the process. Heap has the potential to have a 1,000-yd season, which is phenomenal for a tight end in this league.
The stabilization of both the offensive line and the quarterback position can only benefit Todd as he'll have more time to get open which should allow for him to make even bigger plays than he did the year before.
There's little doubt that barring injury Todd Heap will become a regular patron of Hawaii and the Pro-Bowl every year if he's able to contribute to the level that his talent clearly indicates that he can. The Ravens are expecting great things from this young man, as to we. Heap is a shining example of what every team wishes they could have at TE. In Todd We Trust.