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WORDS FROM THE GURU
As my 1st blog for SportsMixed, I’ve been appointed the great responsibility of grading the Baltimore Raven’s draft. Now I’m not like some other bloggers from Baltimore who need Mike Mayock or Todd McShay to form an opinion (Stay classy Baltimoresun.com) With that being said…Let’s get to it… We’ll break it up in Day 1, 2, and 3. All of these grades are my own and were made as the picks rolled in.
If you’re like me and have seen every draft since 1992…you see how this works and why some teams will NEVER win consistently. (Looking at you Jacksonville Jaguars or should I say L.A. Jaguars) Ozzie pulled another one, found a team willing to trade back into the 1st round for a QB (UHH Tebow???) and restocked his picks. Picking up a high 3rd round pick and a high 4th round pick to drop 18 spots in what seems to be a very deep draft
DAY 1 grade: A
While not the sexy choice, to get more picks in a deep draft probably was the best move.
Patience is a virtue if you’re a Raven’s fan. Picking up Sergio Kindle with the 43rd pick is like stealing. It’s literally like DeNiro and Kilmer robbing a bank in Heat. Everyone agrees he’s a top 20 talent, but his knee has drawn a lot of concern. All I’ll say is Texas is on TV a TON…and I remember him making a lot of plays…so he wasn’t THAT hurt. Look for him to get in multiple packages rushing the passer and making plays. Probably won’t take JJ’s spot this season…but he projects to. Also have to remember, he came to Texas as a MLB and played in a NFL type system… where he was standing on running downs as a LB, and down at DE on passing downs. The Raven’s benefit from another “whisper” campaign, like with Mike Oher last year …gotta love it.
Ozzie just kept the thievery going by grabbing the Imposing NT Terrance Cody. Getting him at # 57 is just incredible value. Think getting a 52” LCD 1080p from Wal-Mart for 400 bucks on sale!!! Ngata and he on the interior just isn’t fair…. You can nit-pick all you want about his weight, but Vince Wilfork is AT LEAST 375 lbs and he’s the top NT in the game….Another pick that could have been made at 25 and wouldn’t have raised eyebrows.
And to finish off the grand larceny, TE Ed Dickson was picked 70th in the 3rd round. A big time play maker with great hands and the ability to spread out wide and create match-up problems. He has the body to develop into a decent blocker. He ran a low 4.6 at his pro-day and at 6’4” 250; he’s got all the measurables. (I really like this kid, Oregon is a team I watched 4-5 times this fall. Not sure why he wasn’t targeted more there, he’s a good player) On another note, coaching in the NFL is a big key here…proper technique, hand placement, and leverage must be taught.
Day Two Grade A+
When you trade down for more picks, then use said picks to get PROVEN players, at GREAT value, who were HIGH on the board. It’s what’s known as a W my friends.
At pick #114 the Ravens grabbed another TE in Dennis Pitta from BYU. While at 1st, I was highly agitated, since corner is the biggest need…OR SO IT SEEMS!!! When a team drafts the same position with 2 straight picks…they’re speaking… and they’re saying, “this position on our team SUCKS…and we need some dudes NOW” Todd Heap is the only TE on the team other than Devon Drew, who now, isn’t making the team. Pitta was a BIG-TIME target for BYU. The Ravens basically shored up this position for the short and long term. Between Dickson and Pitta the Ravens will get some plays out of the #2 TE.
David Reed was our pick at #156 and I think it’s a good one. He’s really sudden and explosive and brings something to the table in the return game. His 91 yard TD on YouTube is worth checking out. The key for him is learning how to run routes and get open in the league. If he can get on the SAME page with Flacco, look for him to play some. He has real tackle breaking ability. And even though he runs in the low 4.5 range, he plays a lot faster.
Art Jones was picked next at #157, and again it seems to be a nice value pick. With some other corners getting claimed they most likely figured get best available and that very well could prove to be Jones. Highly thought of, but got hurt and needed surgery in November. Also this kid was playing NT when he’s built to play 3-4 DE. Has good pass rush moves and as a 5 tech, would be a factor in the run game. If healthy, look for this kid to get into the rotation. I caught his game against Cincinnati and he consistently played on THEIR side of the line.
Ramon Harewood was the pick in the 6th round. Not much info on this huge Tackle/Guard prospect from Morehouse University. There are reports online he ran a 5.18 40 yard dash time at his pro day…..at over 340 lbs. Worth a pick in the 6th round to see if he can develop into a player in a few years.
Day 3 Grade: B+
Would have been an A, but they didn’t grab a corner. Anyone who watched the Ravens play last year wanted to see them grab at least one cover guy.
Overall Grade: A
The Ravens have stayed true to their board and made their team better for the short and long term. Not much more you can ask from a draft. Also don’t have to spend money on a 1st round pick. All these guys will be in camp, on time. When you couple these draft picks with guys who didn’t really contribute last year (Kruger, Phillips, Gerard, J. Riley, and M. Smith) the future looks real bright. If they can find 1 young corner who can contribute as an undrafted FA this draft is an A++. (This is VERY likely people, they find gems)