Sunday, April 25, 2010

Baltimore Ravens Draft Grades!

2(43)/ Sergio Kindle/ OLB/ Texas- I think this has the potential to be the biggest steal of the draft. There are two knocks on Kindle that have people down on this pick, concerns about his character and his knee. The character concerns don’t bother me as much as they would if he were a 1st round pick because the financial obligation is substantially less. And make no mistake character is only a concern because of the money involved. I have to admit the knee worries me, especially given the Ravens history of wasted 2nd round picks like Dan Cody and Dwan Edwards the first 5 years of his career. The Ravens medical staff cleared him but I am not giving the benefit of the doubt on this one. I think he’ll be a guy that can upgrade the pass rush immediately but, until proven otherwise, is not a long term solution which is a shame. Of course, if I am wrong and he stays healthy, the Ravens have a great pass rush talent on their hands. This is a high risk/ high reward pick.

Grade: C+, with the potential to turn into an A+.

2(57)/Terrance Cody/ DT/ Alabama- Cody is a monster in the run game and I think when teamed with Ngata, he gives the Ravens one of the best run stuffing duos in football. A duo that in a few years could take the title of best running stuffing duo away from the Williams Wall of Minnesota. Cody is also good for the Ravens for practical reasons. The Ravens lost Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan in free agency and Corey Redding, can only replace one of them. So, they lost depth that they simply needed to replace and Cody does that. Cody also gives them some much needed youth at the position because Kelly Gregg, Trevor Pryce, and Corey Redding are not young players. The knock on Cody is that he sometimes takes plays off and he has weight issues. This is a common complaint about defensive tackles coming out of college. Haloti Ngata had some of those same red flags attached to his name and ESPN ridiculed the Ravens for taking him. Albert Haynesworth, Shawn Rogers, and Casey Hampton are some of the best DT’s in the business and they have all either struggled with weight at times or been accused of taking plays off. That makes me completely comfortable with this pick. At best the Ravens have a long term DT on their hands at worse they replaced a rotational guy.

Grade: A

3(70)/ Ed Dickson/ TE/ Oregon- Dickson adds much needed depth at the TE position and another weapon for Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco. The beauty of this pick is that he doesn’t have to step in and contribute right away. He can sit behind Heap and contribute on a marginal basis. He needs to work on his blocking but so did Heap coming out of college and he seems to do just fine now.

Grade: B+

4(114)/ Dennis Pitta/ TE/ Brigham Young- This was a bold move by the Ravens and one that many people have been critical of but I am not one of them. I love that the Ravens picked up two good young TE’s. In SD, Cam Cameron used a multitude of TE’s in that offense. Gates was the main guy but they got contributions from several other guys at the position. Heap is getting older and the Ravens just need the depth. Before picking up Pitta and Dickson, Edgar Jones and Davon Drew were Todd Heaps backups. Jones, came into the NFL as a DE/LB hybrid and Davon Drew was cut by two teams, including the Ravens, after being drafted last year. Long story short: The depth behind Heap has just not been good and this Ravens fan has been thanking his lucky stars that Heap has stayed healthy. Losing him could have been catastrophic. Now it doesn’t have to be.

Grade: A

5(156)/ David Reed/ WR/ Utah- I am not a huge fan of this pick, mainly because the Ravens will have about 4 guys in training camp that are very similar to him. This guy is the 6th wideout that the Ravens have drafted in the last 5 years and the only guy that is no longer with the team is Yamon Figurs. Yet, the projected top 3 WR’s for the Ravens come from other teams. Do you see where I am going with this? The Ravens have failed miserably at drafting wideouts. They just have. I am not suggesting that they stop trying but they’ve got 5 “project” receivers on the roster right now. They need to be patient and see if one of them can emerge before drafting another project. The wideouts that the Ravens should be drafting now and within the next 2 or 3 years need to be as close to sure things as they can possibly be. They have enough projects at WR, they don’t need more.
Grade: D

5(157)/ Arthur Jones/ DT/ Syracuse- This pick adds more youth to the defensive line. If he can remain healthy, he’ll be able to help fill the void left by Edwards and Bannan, as well as be a solid starter or reliable rotation guy in the future. This is a low risk, high reward pick.

Grade: B+

6(194)/ Ramone Harewood/ OL/ Morehouse- He’s a project but he has a lot of raw talent and he’s massive. Given Ozzie’s history of taking project lineman early in the draft , Chris Chester and Adam Terry come to mind, I am very happy to see this pick made here in round 6 as opposed to round 2. I think this guy needs a lot of coaching and help with his mechanics but the good thing about going to the Ravens is that they have a great OL coach and they are set on the offensive line. They can afford to take the time to develop him properly. Another low risk/ high reward pick.

Grade: B

Overall Grade: B. The great thing about the Ravens is that they are a very deep football team, so none of these guys have to start right away. There are a couple of project players in there but the Ravens can bring them along slowly, without compromising their ability to win now. They also managed to get talented players at positions of need. The only player that did not fill a need is Sergio Kindle. In fact, linebacker is the deepest position on the Ravens roster. But with his pass rush abilities, even that pick sort of filled a need. Overall, I think the Ravens had a good draft.

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