1st Day Complete: Ravens select OT Michael Oher, DE Paul Kruger

April 25, 2009 | Luke Jones

9:29 — With the 57th overall pick, the Ravens select defensive end Paul Kruger from Utah.  He’s another high-motor guy along the lines of a Michael McCrary.  He’ll be a nice player coming off the edge to create some pressure on the quarterback.

This was a position to address with the age of Trevor Pryce.  As I said with the Michael Oher pick, the key to success is winning the battle upfront, and Kruger is a great addition in boosting the pass rush on the defensive line.

At 265 lb, it will be interesting to see if the Ravens ask him to gain some weight to play defensive end or convert him to outside linebacker.  Either way, he figures to put a hand on the ground to rush the quarterback in passing situations.

You have to love Jon Gruden saying he plays “like Freddy Krueger.”  Great line.

Barring any trades, the Ravens will now wait until tomorrow to make their next pick, the 88th overall pick.

***

The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books and took about 3 1/2 hours to complete.  The 10-minute clock is a huge improvement over the 15-minute span that existed for years.

The biggest surprises have to include Darrius Heyward-Bey being taken over Michael Crabtree at No. 7 by Oakland, Rey Maualuga and Everette Brown going undrafted in the first round, and Jeremy Maclin slipping to the Eagles at No. 19.

The Ravens traded up to No. 23 to select offensive tackle Michael Oher from Mississippi.  While drafting an offensive lineman is never going to get a fan base excited, it provides the Ravens with two young studs to bookend the offensive line.  Football games are won and lost upfront, and Ozzie Newsome has certainly built a strong offensive line to protect Joe Flacco.

It will be interesting to see if the Ravens target a receiver in the second round such as Derrick Williams from Penn State.  He was a player of interest to the Ravens throughout the pre-draft process.

7:32  — The Pittsburgh Steelers select defensive tackle Ziggy Hood from Missouri.  The Steelers needed to get younger on the defensive front, so Hood will help in that regard.

It’s nauseating seeing the Steelers pick at No. 32, but the Ravens are aiming to do it next season.

7:27 — The Arizona Cardinals still have Anquan Boldin on their roster and have drafted running back Beanie Wells from Ohio State with the 31st pick.  It was surprising to see Wells fall all the way to end of the first round, so the Cardinals must be pleased to have him.

I still think the Cardinals are fielding offers for Boldin, but it’s clear they’re not going to get nearly as much for him as they wanted.  Who knows?  He might just end up staying in Arizona.

7:19 — Tennessee selects receiver Kenny Britt, a huge weapon for Kerry Collins and the Titans offense.  The junior receiver has inconsistent hands but has plus size and a huge upside.

7:11 — The Giants take receiver Hakeem Nicks to replace the departing Plaxico Burress.  Eric DeCosta was high on Nicks when talking about him at the Pre-Draft Show a couple weeks ago.  I thought the Giants might take Kenny Britt, the local product out of Rutgers.

I’ll be sticking with the blog until the end of the first round before I switch over to the Orioles game.  When the Ravens are getting close to making their second round choice, I’ll be sure to post my thoughts.

7:01 — Indianapolis takes Donald Brown (27th overall) to boost their poor running game.  This will definitely push Joseph Addai.  It’s interesting to see that Britt and Nicks are both on the board, two receivers linked to the Ravens in many mock drafts.

6:49 — The Ravens traded the No. 26 pick and their fifth-round pick to the Patriots to move up to 23 to take Oher.  Giving up a fifth to move up three spots late in the first seems a bit pricey, but if the Ravens really wanted Oher–much like they did with Joe Flacco–you pull the trigger to make sure you get your guy.

Baltimore will now wait to pick 57th overall in the second round.

6:37 — The Ravens select offensive tackle Michael Oher, a player that nobody was really talking about as a strong possibility for the Ravens.  Mayock thinks he’s great value at No. 23.

With Jared Gaither and Oher, the Ravens are set up to have a menacing combination of tackles on the offensive line for years to come.

6:34 — The Ravens have traded up to No. 23.  Who’s the pick here?  I’m guessing Maualuga.

6:25 — At No. 21, the Browns select center Alex Mack, one of the best interior offensive lineman in the draft.  Not a sexy pick, but he’s a good football player.

The Browns are accumulating picks, because they need players.  If Kokinis can hit on some later picks, perhaps he can turn that franchise around.

6:20 — The Lions have ended the Ravens’ hopes of getting tight end Brandon Pettigrew, selecting him at No. 20.  There are plenty of good players still on the board.

The Ravens could still end up trading down, which was my prediction two weeks ago.

6:12 — Are the Browns ever going to make a choice?  They’ve now traded with the Philadelphia Eagles.  It’s clear to see the Browns are in the midst of a major rebuilding effort, and it’s a smart decision. Those late-round picks can then be used to jockey for position in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

The Eagles take receiver Jeremy Maclin instead of Brandon Pettigrew, leaving him on the board a bit longer for the Ravens.

6:07 — Broncos fans have to be disappointed.  You trade Jay Cutler for two first-round picks, and you net running back Knowshon Moreno and defensive end Robert Ayers.

Both are nice players, but they failed to get one of the quarterbacks in this draft.  As a Broncos fan, I wouldn’t be happy taking a running back so highly after seemingly finding someone off the street to come in and rush for 1,200 yards almost every year.

Ayers is definitely a quality pick, and Mike Mayock believes he could be the best defensive player to come out of this draft in a few years.

6:00 — Kokinis and Eric Mangini are at it again, trading down with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Bucs take quarterback Josh Freeman.  You know Jon Gruden is smiling somewhere even though he’s no longer the man in Tampa.

The Browns will now pick at 19 and receive an extra sixth round pick for their trouble.

5:55  — The Chargers’ combination of Shawne Merriman and Larry English is downright scary.  You have to figure the Chargers chose English as an insurance policy for Merriman coming back from the knee injury.

The Browns’ 17th pick (acquired in the earlier trade with the Jets) is coming up next.

5:48 — There are 10 picks to go until the Ravens are on the clock at No. 26.  Players still on the board include Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Brandon Pettigrew, Vontae Davis, Rey Maualuga, James Laurinaitis, Kenny Britt, and Hakeem Nicks.

The Ravens could still elect to trade down, but it looks like one of these players could be there at 26.

5:32 — It’s surprising the Redskins actually picked at No. 13.  After the Jason Taylor experiment was an utter failure, Washington selects defensive end Brian Orakpo.

Their defensive line is looking pretty formidable now with Albert Haynesworth and Orakpo upfront.

5:23 — The first 10 picks are in the books.  Three offensive tackles and two defensive linemen were selected, proving that it’s all about winning the battle upfront in the NFL.

The 49ers got great value selecting Michael Crabtree at No. 10.  The Raiders can have Heyward-Bey’s speed, but Crabtree is the best receiver in this draft.

4:56 — I knew it.  Al Davis cannot resist speed.  Good luck to Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey, but picking him at No. 7 is a poor decision, especially with Michael Crabtree still on the board.

I’m guessing the phones are ringing in Jacksonville for teams trying to trade up to get Crabtree.  I wouldn’t think the Ravens have enough to move up to No. 8.

4:52 — The Bengals select offensive tackle Andre Smith.  He has all the talent in the world, but his offseason issues at the NFL Combine and his pro day have been well-documented.

This is truly a boom-or-bust pick.  The kid can play, but he needs to mature to have success at the next level.  The Bengals needed help at offensive tackle, so skeptics will be watching Smith’s performance compared to Eugene Monroe’s over the next few seasons.

4:46   — The Browns traded the No. 5 pick for the Jets’ 1st and 2nd round picks along with defensive end Kenyon Coleman, quarterback Brett Ratliff, and safety Abram Elam.  Not a bad haul for George Kokinis, making a splash in his first draft as general manager of the Cleveland Browns.

4:37 — Cleveland has traded its pick to the New York Jets.  Mark Sanchez might be heading to Gang Green.

This figures to be a good move for the Browns, as they need more than one player and figure to be in decent shape at quarterback with Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.

4:34 — No real surprises overall in the first four picks of the draft.  Tyson Jackson going at No. 3 to Kansas City is a reach but not surprising.

The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals are the next two teams due to pick.  Could the Browns be taking Michael Crabtree?

I’ll be sharing my thoughts about the NFL Draft throughout the day, especially when events pertain to the Ravens.

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