Tag Archive | "NFL Draft"

Draft prospects being mocked to Ravens at 26th overall

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Draft prospects being mocked to Ravens at 26th overall

Posted on 13 February 2015 by Luke Jones

Despite the NFL draft being more than two months away, many pundits haven’t wasted time in putting together their mock drafts before commissioner Roger Goodell finally steps to the podium in Chicago and announces the first pick on April 30.

The Ravens currently have needs at cornerback, wide receiver, tight end, running back, and safety, so it will be interesting to see which priorities remain in the spring, especially with a very tight salary-cap situation.

Below is a look at five players who have recently been mocked to Baltimore with the 26th overall pick in different publications:

WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Rob Rang of CBSSports.com)
My take: Even if the Ravens are able to re-sign Torrey Smith, taking a wide receiver early in the draft would be wise with Steve Smith turning 36 later this year. There’s no denying that Green-Beckham’s size (6-foot-5 and 225 pounds) and speed are intriguing, but multiple marijuana-related arrests led to his dismissal at Missouri and raise red flags about his maturity and commitment to football. Draft pundits have compared him to A.J. Green, but the 21-year-old will really need to impress during the interview process to make teams comfortable in taking him, especially in the first round.

TE Maxx Williams (Mel Kiper of ESPN.com)
My take: Should veteran Dennis Pitta attempt to continue his NFL career, the Ravens would still have a need at tight end with Owen Daniels a free agent and 2014 third-round pick Crockett Gillmore not showing enough to indicate he can become a No. 1 option just yet. Williams is regarded as the top tight end in this year’s draft class even though he was part of a run-oriented attack at the University of Minnesota. He has excellent hands and made several highlight catches in his collegiate career, but some experts believe he needs to add strength to become a better blocker despite a 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame.

RB Melvin Gordon (Charles Davis of NFL.com)
My take: Considering a running back hasn’t been taken in the first round since 2012, the choice of Gordon feels underwhelming after the stout Baltimore offensive line opened running lanes for journeyman Justin Forsett to rush for over 1,250 yards this past season. However, Gordon became the second all-time single-season rusher in FBS history with 2,587 yards in 2014 and played under current Ravens running backs coach Thomas Hammock at Wisconsin, meaning the organization should know him very well. If the Ravens take Gordon, you assume they would have visions of him quickly becoming one of the best backs in the NFL.

WR Devin Funchess (Matt Miller of BleacherReport.com)
My take: The 6-foot-5, 230-pound former tight end would be a matchup nightmare for most cornerbacks and will use his leaping ability and frame to attack the football, which would give the Ravens the giant weapon inside the red zone that they’ve lacked for years. Funchess is still regarded as raw in terms of route-running ability and needs to develop more consistent hands. Much like Kelvin Benjamin in last year’s draft, the Michigan product is considered a high-risk, high-reward prospect, but he doesn’t carry the off-field baggage of a wide receiver like Green-Beckham.

CB Quinten Rollins (Eric Galko of SportingNews.com)
My take: Other mock drafts have linked the Ravens to cornerbacks such as Marcus Peters and Jalen Collins, but Rollins would be an intriguing choice considering he played only one year of college football at Miami of Ohio, which is John Harbaugh’s alma mater. The former basketball player had a standout 2014 for the RedHawks, earning MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors with 72 tackles and seven interceptions. The pre-draft process will be critical for the 5-foot-11, 193-pound Rollins with a limited body of work behind him, but his toughness and natural gifts will make teams think upside while he tries to refine his technique.

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NFL releases list of players invited to combine in Indianapolis

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NFL releases list of players invited to combine in Indianapolis

Posted on 06 February 2015 by Luke Jones

With the 2015 NFL scouting combine less than two weeks away, the Ravens brass as well as representatives from the 31 other teams will soon be descending on Indianapolis as draft preparation kicks into high gear.

Baltimore’s greatest positions of need — in early February — include (in no particular order) wide receiver, cornerback, running back, safety, and tight end. Of course, that list will change and evolve as salary-cap cuts are made and free agency opens next month.

The 2015 draft begins in Chicago on April 30 and runs through May 2. The Ravens own the 26th overall pick in the first round and are currently slotted to have six choices, but they are also projected to receive three compensatory picks, bringing the total to nine.

Below is the full list of players invited to the combine:

QUARTERBACKS
Anthony Boone, Duke
Brandon Bridge, South Alabama
Cody Fajardo, Nevada
Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
Connor Halliday, Washington State
Brett Hundley, UCLA
Sean Mannion, Oregon State
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Nick Marshall, Auburn
Bryce Petty, Baylor
Blake Sims, Alabama
Jameis Winston, Florida State
Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana (throwing quarterback to assist with drills)
Shane Carden, East Carolina (throwing quarterback to assist with drills)
Jerry Lovelocke, Prairie View A&M (throwing quarterback to assist with drills)

RUNNING BACKS
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Jay Ajayi, Boise State
Javorius Allen, USC
Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn
Dominique Brown, Louisville
Malcolm Brown, Texas
Michael Burton (FB), Rutgers
B.J. Catalon, TCU
David Cobb, Minnesota
Tevin Coleman, Indiana
John Crockett, North Dakota State
Mike Davis, South Carolina
Michael Dyer, Louisville
Jahwan Edwards, Ball State
Jalston Fowler (FB), Alabama
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Todd Gurley, Georgia
Dee Hart, Colorado State
Braylon Heard, Kentucky
Kenny Hilliard, LSU
Joey Iosefa, Hawaii
David Johnson, Northern Iowa
Duke Johnson, Miami (Fla.)
Gus Johnson, Stephen F. Austin
Matt Jones, Florida
Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
Terrence Magee, LSU
Marcus Murphy, Missouri
Thomas Rawls, Central Michigan
Josh Robinson, Mississippi State
Ross Scheuerman, Lafayette
Tyler Varga, Yale
Karlos Williams, Florida State
Trey Williams, Texas A&M
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama
Zach Zenner, South Dakota State

WIDE RECEIVERS
Nelson Agholor, USC
Mario Alford, West Virginia
Dres Anderson, Utah
Kenny Bell, Nebraska
Da’Ron Brown, Northern Illinois
Kaelin Clay, Utah
Sammie Coates, Auburn
Chris Conley, Georgia
Amari Cooper, Alabama
Jamison Crowder, Duke
Davaris Daniels, Notre Dame
Devante Davis, UNLV
Geremy Davis, Connecticut
Titus Davis, Central Michigan
Stefon Diggs, Maryland
Phillip Dorsett, Miami (Fla.)
Devin Funchess, Michigan
Antwan Goodley, Baylor
Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri
Rashad Greene, Florida State
Rannell Hall, Central Florida
Justin Hardy, East Carolina
Josh Harper, Fresno State
Christion Jones, Alabama
Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas
Tony Lippett, Michigan State
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Deon Long, Maryland
Donatella Luckett, Harding
Vince Mayle, Washington State
Tre McBride, William & Mary
Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Keith Mumphery, Michigan State
J.J. Nelson, Alabama-Birmingham
DeVante Parker, Louisville
Breshad Perriman, Cental Florida
Ezell Ruffin, San Diego State
DeAndre Smelter, Georgia Tech
Devin Smith, Ohio State
Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
Darren Waller, Georgia Tech
DeAndrew White, Alabama
Kevin White, West Virginia
Cam Worthy, East Carolina

TIGHT ENDS
Blake Bell, Oklahoma
E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State
Nick Boyle, Delaware
Gerald Christian, Louisville
Cameron Clear, Texas A&M
A.J. Derby, Arkansas
Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State
Jesse James, Penn State
Ben Koyack, Notre Dame
Tyler Kroft, Rutgers
Nick O’Leary, Florida State
MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois
Wes Saxton, South Alabama
Jean Sifrin, Massachusetts
Randall Telfer, USC
Eric Tomlinson, UTEP
Clive Walford, Miami (Fla.)
Maxx Williams, Minnesota

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Al Bond (T), Memphis
Brett Boyko (T), UNLV
Jamon Brown (T), Louisville
Trenton Brown (G), Florida
A.J. Cann (G), South Carolina
T.J. Clemmings (T), Pittsburgh
Takoby Cofield (T), Duke
La’el Collins (T), LSU
Rob Crisp (T), North Carolina State
Reese Dismukes (C), Auburn
Andrew Donnal (T), Iowa
Jamil Douglas (T), Arizona State
Cameron Erving (T), Florida State
Tayo Fabuluje (T), TCU
Jon Feliciano (G), Florida
B.J. Finney (C), Kansas State
Jake Fisher (T), Oregon
Ereck Flowers (T), Miami (Fla.)
Andy Gallik (C), Boston College
Max Garcia (C), Florida
Laurence Gibson (T), Virginia Tech
Mark Glowinski (G), West Virginia
Hroniss Grasu (C), Oregon
Chaz Green (T), Florida
Chad Hamilton (T), Coastal Carolina
Jarvis Harrison (G), Texas A&M
Bobby Hart (T), Florida State
Rob Havenstein (T), Wisconsin
Sean Hickey (T), Syracuse
D.J. Humphries (T), Florida
Tre Jackson (G), Florida State
Arie Kouandjio (G), Alabama
Greg Mancz (C), Toledo
Ali Marpet (T), Hobart
Josue Matias (G), Florida State
Darrian Miller (T), Kentucky
John Miller (G), Louisville
Mitch Morse (T), Missouri
Robert Myers (G), Tennessee State
Cedric Ogbuehi (T), Texas A&M
Andrus Peat (T), Stanford
Terry Poole (T), San Diego State
Jeremiah Poutasi (T), Utah
Corey Robinson (T), South Carolina
Ty Sambrailo (T), Colorado State
Brandon Scherff (T), Iowa
Adam Shead (G), Oklahoma
Austin Shepherd (T), Alabama
Donovan Smith (T), Penn State
Tyrus Thompson (T), Oklahoma
Laken Tomlinson (G), Duke
Daryl Williams (T), Oklahoma

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Henry Anderson (DE), Stanford
Arik Armstead (DE), Oregon
Tavaris Barnes (DE), Clemson
Vic Beasley (DE), Clemson
Michael Bennett (DT), Ohio State
Angelo Blackson (DT), Auburn
Malcom Brown (DT), Texas
Anthony Chickillo (DE), Miami (Fla.)
Frank Clark (DE), Michigan
Xavier Coooper (DT), Washington State
Christian Covington (DT), Rice
Corey Crawford (DE), Clemson
Carl Davis (DT), Iowa
Tyeler Davison (DE), Fresno State
Ryan Delaire (DE), Towson
B.J. Dubose (DE), Louisville
Mario Edwards (DE), Florida State
Kyle Emanuel (DE), North Dakota State
Trey Flowers (DE), Arkansas
Dante Fowler (DE), Florida
Markus Golden (DE), Missouri
Eddie Goldman (DT), Florida State
Randy Gregory (DE), Nebraska
Marcus Hardison (DE), Arizona State
Eli Harold (DE), Virginia
Zach Hodges (DE), Harvard
Danielle Hunter (DE), LSU
Martin Ifedi (DE), Memphis
Grady Jarrett (DT), Clemson
Derrick Lott (DT), Tennessee-Chattanooga
Joey Mbu (DT), Houston
Ellis McCarthy (DT), UCLA
Rakeem Nunez-Roches (DT), Southern Mississippi
Owamagbe Odighizuwa (DE), UCLA
Nate Orchard (DE), Utah
Leon Orr (DT), Florida
David Parry (NT), Stanford
Jordan Phillips (DT), Oklahoma
Darius Philon (DT), Arkansas
Shane Ray (DE), Missouri
Cedric Reed (DE), Texas
Bobby Richardson (DT), Indiana
Ryan Russell (DE), Purdue
Danny Shelton (NT), Washington
Deon Simon (NT), Northwestern State
Preston Smith (DE), Mississippi State
Za’Darius Smith (DE), Kentucky
J.T. Surratt (DT), South Carolina
Lynden Trail (DE), Norfolk State
Louis Trinca-Pasat (DT), Iowa
Davis Tull (DE), Tennessee-Chattanooga
Zack Wagenmann (DE), Montana
Leterrius Walton (DT), Central Michigan
Leonard Williams (DT), USC
Gabe Wright (DT), Auburn

LINEBACKERS
Kwon Alexander (OLB), LSU
Stephone Anthony (ILB), Clemson
Neiron Ball (OLB), Florida
Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (OLB), Maryland
Aaron Davis (ILB), Colorado State
Paul Dawson (ILB), TCU
Trey DePriest (ILB), Alabama
Xzavier Dickson (OLB), Alabama
Bud Dupree (OLB), Kentucky
Alani Fua (OLB), BYU
Geneo Grissom (OLB), Oklahoma
Obum Gwacham (DE), Oregon State
Bryce Hager (ILB), Baylor
Ben Heeney (ILB), Kansas
Amarlo Herrera (ILB), Georgia
Jordan Hicks (ILB), Texas
Mike Hull (ILB), Penn State
A.J. Johnson (ILB), Tennessee
Taiwan Jones (ILB), Michigan State
Eric Kendricks (ILB), UCLA
Hau’oli Kikaha (OLB), Washington
Lorenzo Mauldin (OLB), Louisville
Benardrick McKinney (ILB), Mississippi State
Mark Nzeocha (OLB), Wyoming
Denzel Perryman (ILB), Miami (Fla.)
Hayes Pullard (ILB), USC
Edmond Robinson (OLB), Newberry
Jake Ryan (OLB), Michigan
Martrell Spaight (OLB), Arkansas
J.R. Tavai (OLB), USC
Shaq Thompson (OLB), Washington
Max Valles (OLB), Virginia
Tony Washington (OLB), Oregon
Damien Wilson (ILB), Minnesota
Ramik Wilson (ILB), Georgia

DEFENSIVE BACKS
Adrian Amos (S), Penn State
Detrick Bonner (S), Virginia Tech
Ibraheim Campbell (S), Northwestern
Alex Carter (CB), Stanford
D.C. Celiscar (CB), Western Michigan
Justin Coleman (CB), Tennessee
Jalen Collins (CB), LSU
Landon Collins (S), Alabama
Justin Cox (S), Mississippi State
Ronald Darby (CB), Florida State
Quandre Diggs (CB), Texas
Lorenzo Doss (CB), Tulane
Kurtis Drummond (S), Michigan State
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (CB), Oregon
Durell Eskridge (S), Syracuse
Charles Gaines (CB), Louisville
Clayton Geathers (S), Central Florida
Jacoby Glenn (CB), Central Florida
Senquez Golson (CB), Ole Miss
Doran Grant (CB), Ohio State
Ladarius Gunter (CB), Miami (Fla.)
Chris Hackett (S), TCU
Anthony Harris (S), Virginia
Troy Hill (CB), Oregon
Gerod Holliman (S), Louisville
Kyshoen Jarrett (S), Virginia Tech
A.J. Jefferson (CB), UCLA
Kevin Johnson (CB), Wake Forest
Byron Jones (CB), Connecticut
Craig Mager (CB), Texas State
Dean Marlowe (S), James Madison
Bobby McCain (CB), Memphis
Tevin McDonald (S), Eastern Washington
Steven Nelson (CB), Oregon State
Garry Peters (CB), Clemson
Marcus Peters (CB), Washington
Cody Prewitt (S), Ole Miss
Damarious Randall (S), Arizona State
Jordan Richards (S) Stanford
Quinten Rollins (CB), Miami (Ohio)
Eric Rowe (CB), Utah
James Sample (S), Louisville
Josh Shaw (CB), USC
Jacorey Shepherd (CB), Kansas
D’Joun Smith (CB), Florida Atlantic
Derron Smith (S), Fresno State
Tye Smith (CB), Towson
Damian Swann (CB), Georgia
Jaquiski Tartt (S), Samford
Trae Waynes (CB), Michigan State
Kevin White (CB), West Virginia
Jermaine Whitehead (S), Auburn
P.J. Williams (CB), Florida State
Julian Wilson (CB), Oklahoma

SPECIALISTS
Will Bauman (P), North Carolina State
Kyle Brindza (K), Notre Dame
Joe Cardona (LS), Navy
Kyle Christy (P), Florida
Sam Ficken (K), Penn State
Will Johnson (P), Texas State
Josh Lambo (K), Texas A&M
Kyle Loomis (P), Portland State
Justin Manton (K), Louisiana-Monroe
Trevor Pardula (P), Kansas
Jared Roberts (K), Colorado State
Spencer Roth (P), Baylor

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2015 Senior Bowl – Ravens guide

Posted on 24 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

As I prepare to watch the 2015 Senior Bowl, here is a list of players – by position – that the Ravens scouting department has interviewed. It tips the Ravens hand in the direction the team is leaning towards in terms of needs:

  • RB – David Cobb – Minnesota
  • FB – Zach Zenner – South Dakota State
  • TE – Nick Boyle – Delaware
  • WR – Justin Hardy – East Carolina, Tyler Lockett – Kansas State, Devin Smith – Ohio State
  • G – Tre Jackson – Florida State, Laken Tomlinson – Duke, Jamil Douglas – Arizona State
  • DT – Grady Jarrett – Clemson
  • DE – Nate Orchard – Utah, Lorenzo Mauldin – Louisville,  Owamagbe Odighizuwa - UCLA, Henry Anderson – Stanford
  • ILB – Stephone Anthony – Clemson, Bryce Hager – Baylor
  • CB – Craig Mager – Texas State, Eric Rowe – Utah, JaCorey Shepherd – Kansas, Quinten Rollins – Miami (Ohio)

The Ravens like mature players. They gravitate towards team captains, as leadership is a trait that they value. They also love game film, and the Senior Bowl presents an opportunity to evaluate these players against their peers. Should be fun to watch, as there is no doubt that we will see a handful of these players in a Ravens uniform sometime between April 30 – May 2, at the conclusion of the 2015 NFL draft.

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Marcus Peters

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Ravens 2015 Mock Draft 1.0 +

Posted on 24 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

It’s never too early and it’s always fun to project an NFL mock draft, particularly on a day when the Senior Bowl will be broadcasting live from Mobile, Alabama. Draftniks such a myself simply live for this kind of stuff, and will keep a close eye on this game at 3:00 p.m. on the NFL Network. We’ll look for rising and falling players, to see who would look good in a Ravens uniform on April 30, 2015.

The Ravens has 6 picks in the 2015 draft, one in rounds 1 – 4, and 2 in the 7th. They got the extra 7th when they traded away Bryant McKinnie. The Ravens don’t have a 5th because they used it to acquire center Jeremy Zuttah, and they also gave up a 6th for a 7th rounder in a trade with the Browns in last year’s draft to acquire Michael Campanero.

The Ravens should get 3 compensatory picks due to the loss of Arthur Jones, Michael Oher, Corey Graham, and James Ihedigbo. Plus the Ravens should receive a 6th round draft pick from the Dallas Cowboys for the Rolando McClain trade. That should give the Ravens a total of 10 picks in this year’s draft. Since 1994 when the league started handing out compensatory draft picks, the Ravens have acquired 41. The next closest teams are the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers with 33. The Ravens have done a great job – easily the best in the league – in restocking their roster with compensatory draft picks.

I expect the Ravens to get a 4th, 5th, and 6th round compensatory pick from the league in the 2015 draft. Here is the direction that I think the Ravens are going to in the draft:

1. CB Marcus Peters – Washington.  The 6′ 198 pound junior was suspended from his team November 6, due to arguments with the coaching staff.  He’s not a bad guy, just very immature. The Ravens have a history of drafting immature prospects such as Terrell Suggs and Jimmy Smith.  Peters is arguably a top 15 prospect, and would certainly represent a “boom or bust” pick for Ozzie Newsome and company. The Ravens like to draft “red star” players, particularly this early in the draft. They also like to draft senior captains, and  Peters is neither a captain (obviously) nor a senior.  However, the Ravens were a shutdown corner away from advancing to the AFC Conference Championship, something that is not lost upon Newsome/DeCosta and company.  The much less riskier pick – Trae Waynes  - will be off of the board way before the Ravens pick, and the best of the rest (Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, PJ Williams) are undersized and have a future at nickel back in the NFL, and don’t make sense for what the Ravens are looking for in this spot. The Ravens could pick Ekpre-Olomu here (he’s a senior captain), but to me it would be a bit of a stretch.

2. WR Justin Hardy – East Carolina. He comes in at just under 5’11 and 190 pounds. He is the FBS career leader in receptions, he is a senior and a team captain. Hands like glue, great instincts, and feisty competitor. In the Senior Bowl practices this past week he’s displayed another gear while the ball is in the air. He has also shown the ability to gain separation, particularly when he is getting in and out of his breaks. The only weakness I’ve seen is that he’s about 50/50 on jump balls, where his (lack of) height is a bit of a hinderance. Other than that, Ozzie Newsome turns in his draft card quickly if Hardy is still there at #56 in round 2.

3. DE Nate Orchard – Utah. A 6’3″ 252 pound senior, Orchard signed with Utah as a wide receiver. That was obviously before his growth spurt, but it also shows the type of athlete that he is. With Dumervil and Suggs getting up there in age, and with the probable loss of Pernell McPhee to free agency, this pick makes sense here. He’s had a good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, and has really helped his draft status. Another name that we could possibly see here is Owamagde Obdighizuwa, a 6’4″ 266 senior DE from UCLA.

4. TE Maxx Williams – Minnesota. Only a redshirt sophomore, the 6’4″ 250 Williams looks an awful lot like Jason Whitten when your roll the tape. He is a bruising TE that does everything well. If he is gone by the time the Ravens pick, I still think they go TE in this slot, and take Jeff Heuerman, the 6’5″ 255 pound senior TE out of Ohio State. Heurman can flat out play, as his biggest problem in college was that the ball wasn’t thrown much in his direction.

4. RB David Cobb – Minnesota. A 5’11″ 229 pound senior, Cobb has been another Senior Bowl standout during practices. He has good vision, and he is a downhill runner – traits that will endear him to coach John Harbaugh. He doesn’t do anything particularly great, but does everything well, including pass blocking. With uncertainty at the running back position (Forsett, Pierce), this pick makes sense here.

5. DT Marcus Hardison – Arizona State. 6’3″ 311 pound senior, is a very active and agile player. With uncertainty with age and cap space consideration along the defensive line (Ngata, Canty) coupled with injury concerns (Lewis-Moore, Urban), the Ravens could use some young moldable clay here.

6. CB Nick Marshall – Auburn. The Ravens take a shot here with Marshall, Auburn’s starting QB who’s attempting to make the transition to CB at the pro level. At 6′ 2″ 205, he has desirable length for the position. He’s also a very good athlete, and is a worthy gamble. Plus the Ravens need corners you know.

6. ILB Taiwan Jones – Michigan State. 6’3″ 258 pound senior, he’s an “old school” linebacker who has been the most physical player at the East-West Shrine Bowl practices. He’s also proving that he can be a 3 down linebacker, and with Daryl Smith approaching the end of his career, Jones is a fit here.

7. CB Byron Jones – Connecticut. The 6’1″ 196 pound senior missed the entire 2014 senior with shoulder surgeries. His career has been plagued by injuries, but when healthy Jones has shown the ability to play. Good size and speed, he tackles like a safety and he was also a senior captain.

7. P Kyle Loomis – Portland State. At 6’2″ 222 pounds, the senior punter absolutely booms the ball. The Ravens can save $2.5 million dollars by cutting Sam Koch, and would only absorb a $600k cap hit. Koch is a heck of a punter, but Ravens make a business move here.

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Ravens Rookie RB Taliaferro excited to complement team’s backfield unit

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Ravens Rookie RB Taliaferro excited to complement team’s backfield unit

Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio

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NFL.com’s Rosenthal thinks LB Mosley is plug and play starter

Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio

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Prediction Machine’s Richner believes TE Gillmore might be best pick for Ravens

Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio

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Ravens Rookie S Brooks wants to make own legacy with organization

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Ravens Rookie S Brooks wants to make own legacy with organization

Posted on 13 May 2014 by WNST Audio

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Colorado State HC McElwain thinks Raven Gillmore is rare natural TE in NFL

Posted on 12 May 2014 by WNST Audio

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Ravens’ picks aren’t sexy, but they’re steady

Posted on 12 May 2014 by WNST Staff

It’s hard to be excited about another linebacker, more defensive lineman, and several blocking role-players on offense.

Then again, success isn’t always sexy.

Take the Dallas Cowboys for example—or the Oakland Raiders.  Sexy picks, potential “impact players,” and year-after-year, both franchises routinely sit on the couch in January.

A quick Google search of the term “Ravens 2014 Draft” will feature attempts subjecting the Ravens’ draft to a standard system of gradation.

It’s nonsense.

Grading the NFL Draft is as effective as drinking perfume because it smells like it would taste great.  It’s irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Back in 1996, the Ravens received Cs and Ds for passing up Lawrence Phillips and opting for Johnathan Ogden.  The team was ridiculed for blowing its second first-round pick in that same draft on a linebacker who was deemed too small to be an impact player.

Looking back, nearly two decades later, it’s safe to say that both of those players turned out pretty well, alas voiding the premature  “expert grades.”

Earlier today, on The Happy Hours, Nestor talked at-length about this very topic.  Perhaps the most important point he made was that of drafting Joe Flacco.  Like he mentioned, when you land a Super Bowl, All-Pro-caliber quarterback in the first round, as a team, you’ve had a pretty good decade.

When you look for comparisons, since the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco in the first round of 2008, teams like the Browns have landed multiple quarterbacks to try and fill the void left by striking out on Brady Quinn in the first round, just one year prior to Flacco’s class.

Now, if you want to hammer teams like the Browns off-the-bat, it’s probably within the realm of possibility that you’ll turn out to be right—but that doesn’t mean you’re a NFL Draft expert—it means you’re smart enough to look at the writing on the wall.

The same can be said for Jacksonville, who reached up to grab quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall selection.  I’ve seen the Jaguars subjected from Fs to As, based on whether or not pundits and pinheads believe Bortles is the next Big Ben, or another abysmal signal caller cut from the same cloth as Blaine Gabbert.

Looking back at the Ravens drafts over the last 10 years, it’s safe to say that there hasn’t been a year full of total misses.  Even the 2010 draft, as disappointing as it turned out to be, still landed Art Jones—who recently signed a Pro-Bowl caliber contract in Indy, and Dennis Pitta, an integral part of the Ravens’ Super Bowl run in 2012.

Perhaps the idea should be to grade teams in five year blocks.  It seems a lot more realistic and accurate.

Over the last five years, present draft excluded, the Ravens have landed arguably 13 starting-caliber players.  13 starters in five years isn’t a bad number—as it pans out to drafting two potential starters per draft.  Realistically any front office would take that in a heartbeat.

This year’s draft is really more of the same.  Quality talent with potential to play significant roles.  And, like I mentioned at the top, there’s nothing sexy about role-players.

Arguably, success and sexy might be mutually exclusive—and if that’s the case, I’ll take success every time.

If drafting more role-players and making boring, un-sexy picks is what it takes to continue to compete with the elite teams in the league, that’s perfectly OK.

Even though many fans might be jazzed up over their team’s sexy picks in May, it’s much more fun to be excited and jazzed up in January.

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