Some thoughts on the Ravens 2009 draft. I think they had a very good draft. I’d give it a B+/A-. I believe in the Ravens’ philosophy of “Best Player Available.” It would’ve been nice to get a blazing fast receiver. If Ozzie thinks we had better talent on the roster already, I’ll stick with him. We added depth, versatility, and some players who could strengthen our special teams.
#23: Michael Oher, Ole Miss OT Ht: 6-5 Wt: 309. Going into the 2008 college season, he was ranked as the #1 or #2 OT for the 2009 draft. Some scouts thought he didn’t have a great senior season. Depending on which draft guide/guru you read, he dropped to between the 4th and 7th rated tackle. He was an All American in 2008 and 3 time All SEC. He is a big, strong, athletic, and aggressive. He has a nice wing span to wall of the DE or a blitzing LB. The 2 knocks against him were: he will he trouble learning the playbook and he doesn’t always finish off his and blocks.
I love this pick. The Ravens had him listed as the 12th best player in the draft. We got him at #23 which makes this a great value pick. Although he isn’t a WR, Oher is the upgrade in the passing game we were looking for. He won’t need the TE or RB to stay in and help him with pass protection. We can now send 3 or 4 receivers out into the pattern. With his strength and push he will improve an already strong running game.
He will upgrade the RT position when he takes over from Willie Anderson. Let them go into training camp and battle it out to see who wins the starting job. If Oher wins, we can renegotiate Anderson’s contract or cut him to add cap space.
#57: Paul Kruger, Utah LB/DE Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 265. He recorded 10.5 sacks as a 2 year starter. He is a hard worker, quick, and plays with an attitude. He is this year’s version Jared Johnson. The plan is to develop him into a starter. He will be used as a situational pass rusher, on special teams, and work his way into the LB/DE mix. I heard a short snippet on the news that we may bulk him up and make him a full time DE
Another quick LB/DE with an attitude to go after Big Ben, Carson, Peyton, and Brady! Make them run for their lives. You can never have too much talent in the trenches. The first two picks were about strengthening our lines and we did.
#88: Ladarius Webb, Nicholls St CB Ht: 5-9.5 Wt: 179. He was the fastest CB in the draft, 4.4 in the 40. He is supposed to be one of the most instinctive DB’s in the draft. He had 7 Int & 15 PBU in his 2 years at Nicholls St .He plays smart football and was the leader of their secondary. He was a tremendous kick returner also. He is the only player in NCAA history to win his conference’s Offensive, Defensive, and Special Teams player of the week during his junior year. He transferred to Nicholls St after being dismissed from the team at Southern Miss. He says he no longer hangs with the people who got him dismissed. He is a developmental player who adds more depth at CB. We can use him on as a backup returner, a gunner on kickoffs, and in the dime package. Hopefully, we can develop him into a starter.
137: Jason Phillips, TCU LB Ht: 6-.0.5 Wt: 239. . I think this could be a steal pick. The more I read and hear about him, the more I like him. Another smart, strong, and fast football player to add into the mix! There will be a debate about his size and whether he should play as an ILB or OLB. He has a motor that’s always going and he never stops hustling. Get him into camp and figure out a way to utilize his talents. He could help on special teams and add some depth and heart at LB.
149: Davon Drew East Carolina, TE Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 256. He is an athletic pass catching TE with nice size and soft hands. He is an above average blocker but not strong enough to dominate at the point of attack. He is quick but not fast. A possible practice squad player who can be developed.
185: Cedric Peerman, UVA RB Ht: 5-9.5 Wt: 216. I really like this pick also. When he was healthy, he seemed to always have a big game against the Terps. He is a strong, tough, and hard to tackle. He waits for the whole to develop and follows his blocks. He has nice hands and catches the ball out of the backfield with the best in the nation. He could help us on special teams and at RB. If he cannot help out on special teams, he may have trouble making the team with a stacked backfield. Another possible practice squad player who can be developed.
I think Ozzie did a nice job with this group but we won’t know for 3 or 4 years. We will probably see a few Undrafted FA WR signed in the next few days. I think one reason we didn’t take a WR in the draft is because of Ray Rice. I can see Cam Cameron expanding his role as a flanker or in the slot on 3rd down. Also, if Demetrius Williams can finally stay healthy, he could be the speedy WR we didn’t draft.
The 3rd stage of the draft is happening now. The Ravens have always had success finding and signing undrafted players who fit our system. They are working the phone lines now trying to sign these players. If we can sign and develop one or two of these diamonds in the rough, our 2009 draft would be an A/A+
Finally, I think the other AFC North teams had good drafts also. Everyone filled needs and got great value on some of their picks. Cleveland added a lot of talent and depth by trading back and stockpiling picks. Alex Mack will anchor the middle of their line for many years. Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi give them 2 young talented receivers. Cincinnati’s draft could be boom or bust. Rey Maualuga and Chase Coffman were great value picks. If Andre Smith and Michael Johnson live up to their potential, this was a great draft. If not, they gambled and lost, and will still be the Bungles. Pittsburgh added more depth to a talented team. Evander Hood and Kraig Urbik are linemen that fit into the Steelers’ system.