The 2009 Ravens draft is now in the books and, like yesterday, it definitely was not flashy. It was a day to get our depth, to build up our team, and to get players who the Ravens thought were both physically and mentally tough. The Ravens went for the best available, solid players on the board, and it still surprised me that none of them were WR. I know that they should not draft purely for need, but I thought as the rounds went on, they might of taken a chance on someone. Ozzie is doing his best to confuse all of us with what his plan is. Yesterday, he said “There are still some receivers on the board that we could potentially draft. I will again say this: We went to the AFC Championship game with the guys that we had, and Demetrius [Williams] was not healthy. We get a healthy Demetrius Williams back, and he’s working toward that, then with the way we’re going to able to protect it, the way Joe [Flacco] can throw it, the way our running backs can run it, and the way we play defense and special teams, we’ll be around at the end of December and January just with the team we have right now. I feel very good about that.” Then, in the next breath, when asked about potentially trading for Anquan Boldin for picks next year, he said “With me, if the opportunity presents itself, and it’s the right thing for us to do, that fits into the structure of our football team that allows us to continue to build and keep some of our good, young talent – because we’ve got a lot of players that are going to be coming to the end of their contracts, and we’ve got to look at that. So, if all of that falls into place, then yes.” And that is the most important point…we have alot of players coming to the end of their contracts…Mason, Williams, Clayton…who will be resigned? And will there be any trades involved? I think Ozzie and the Ravens are probably leaning towards keeping our staff intact and going with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. I can understand his point that we went as far as we did last year, without a big-time WR, and that all we need to do is give Flacco more time to throw deeper and more accurately. That’s why the first-round pick was Oher, and not Nicks or Britt. I also think the Ravens don’t want to swallow a contract as big as what Boldin is asking for. If the Ravens go for the trade with Boldin, it wouldn’t surprise me, but I feel they want to keep everything the same and just improve our “behind-the-scene” positions.
In round 3, we got Lardarius Webb, a double-threat corner who also is a kickoff returner. He can give us depth at CB and can also compete with Figurs and Carr for KR. He has the ability to read the quarterback well and gets his hands on the ball, but the big question is why did he have to transfer from Southern Miss to Nicholls State.
In round 5, we took Jason Phillips, a naturally instinctive ILB who can tackle well, drop in coverage, and is very aggressive. I like naturally instinctive players because it’s much easier to teach these college guys the game of professional football, with the speed and different schemes, etc. You cannot teach instinct…you either have natural ability or not. He would of probably gone in the 3rd round if not for tearing his meniscus at the combine. If he can rehab effectively and get back to being 100%, he has the potential to be a good starter for us in a couple years.
Later in round 5, we took Davon Drew, tight end out of East Carolina. The best tight end of this draft was of course Brandon Pettigrew—teams are now looking for TEs that are not only good pass catchers, but can also block and play on the line. Drew has the potential for being this hybrid TE with some work on his technique and size. But scouts feel he would be better suited as a h-back at the pro level.
Lastly, we took RB Cedric Peerman out of Virginia. He seemed to be good value for where he was taken. He runs well and gives us some more versatility at that position. He does have fumble issues and is not an every down RB because of his endurance and injuries.
Overall, I think we had a solid draft, especially for the amount of picks we had and where we had them. I hope to see some great competitions in training camp this year and that these players contribute to another Ravens playoff run.