Tag Archive | "NFL Draft"

Thyrl, Ryan envision Ravens going O-Line in first round

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Thyrl, Ryan envision Ravens going O-Line in first round

Posted on 08 May 2014 by Ryan Chell

Thyrl Nelson’s 

1st rd (17)- Taylor Lewan, OT-Michigan

Analysis: The Ravens retained their left tackle in Eugene Monroe in the off-season, but the belief is that the Ravens would run to the podium to draft Michigan OT Taylor Lewan. The belief is that he could be off the board well before Baltimore drafts, but he is a guy that has been called a “beast” by members of his Wolverine coaching staff and would start immediately at right tackle with the hopes that one day he would be the dominant left tackle of the future for the Ravens.

2nd rd (48)-Jimmie Ward, FS-Northern Illinois

Analysis: A 3-time all-MAC selection and 2013 All-American, the clear-cut 2nd FS on the board behind Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. In 2013, he led Northern Illinois in tackles (95), interceptions (7) and pass deflections (12).  Taking Ward or another free safety would allow 2013 1st rd-pick Matt Elam to return to his more natural strong safety position and would likely relegate free agent acquisition Darian Stewart to backup duty or create a nice training camp battle.

3rd rd (79)-Jarvis Landry, WR-LSU

Analysis: Landry, who has made it known that he’s a Ravens fan, would become the first ever LSU Tiger to be drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. Leaving after his junior year, he and Odell Beckham combined to be one of the better dynamic duos in a receiving corps. He finished 2013 with 77 receptions, 1,193 yards and 10 TDs. Has the ability to go up and get a ball, but is only listed at 5’11.

3rd rd (99)-Tre Mason, RB-Auburn

Analysis: Thyrl Nelson expects that the Ravens will take a RB that could be a fit in Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme. Tre Mason, 5’8-207, has the build of a Ray Rice and ran in a similar offense at Auburn. A physical back with a hidden burst of speed as well.

4th rd (134)-Antonio Richardson, OT-Tennessee

Analysis: While the Ravens draft Taylor Lewan and immediately put him in the starting lineup, the Ravens like to take tackles on occasion to develop  and have a project to work on. It’s tough to not immediately start a 6’6, 336-lb tackle, but his game might be raw at the NFL level.

4th rd (138)-Zach Kerr, DT-Delaware

Analysis: The Ravens have gone down to the FCS level the last couple years to find players that might not be getting some attention from other NFL teams. Most of these players were capable of starting at the FBS level, but just weren’t getting the playing time or lost tight competitions. The Ravens are all too familiar with the University of Delaware having reached out there to draft both their quarterback, Joe Flacco and center, Gino Gradkowski. Zack Kerr, who transferred out of Maryland after Ralph Friedgen’s departure, would be expected to be a key piece in replacing Arthur Jones, who left in free agency to the Indianapolis Colts.

5th rd (175)-Tajh Boyd, QB-Clemson

Analysis: Boyd, a three-year starter for Clemson and ACC Player of the Year in 2012, has fallen down the draft boards. Or isn’t the hyped-up QB this year. He holds school records in touchdowns (107) and passing yards in 11,904, and would be a better backup option for Joe Flacco than Tyrod Taylor due to his skills as a passer. Taylor, a 6th-rd pick of the Ravens in 2011, is entering the final year of his deal and may have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.

6th rd (194)-Chris Davis, CB/KR-Auburn

Analysis: Nelson has the Ravens taking not only a CB, but a KR here as well. If Asa Jackson and Jacoby Jones are expected to be bigger parts of the defense and offense respectively, the Ravens would like to have other options on special teams to return the ball. Would be interesting though for the Ravens to take two Auburn players with a GM in Ozzie Newsome hailing from their Iron Brown rivals in Alabama.

Ryan’s Picks

1st rd (17)-Zack Martin, OG-OT, Notre Dame

Analysis-Reportedly, the Ravens-especially offensive line coach Juan Castillo-love Zack Martin. They love him so much-they didn’t bring him in for a visit to Owings Mills because they didn’t want to telegraph their interest in Martin-a three-year starter on the Irish offensive line. There also may be a bigger possibility that Martin is available to the Ravens at 17 as opposed to Lewan. He could be a candidate to start immediately at right tackle for the Ravens, or play left guard and swing Kelechi Osemele out to RT.

2nd rd (48)-Jimmie Ward, FS-Northern Illinois

Analysis: I agree with Thyrl that the Ravens agree they can wait and address their free safety need later in the draft. If they do pass on Clinton-Dix with the first selection, they likely will see where the market lies and circle in on Jimmie Ward quickly-maybe being forced to move up and get him.

3rd rd (79)-Martavis Bryant, WR-Clemson

Analysis-Everyone talks about Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, but junior WR Martavis Bryant, who visited Owings Mills, brings size and sure hands to the NFL level. He stands at 6’4, 211 and would pair with Marlon Brown in becoming another potential red zone target for Joe Flacco.

3rd rd (99)-Keith McGill, CB-Utah

Analysis: Like death and taxes, the Ravens drafting a CB is a given. Utah CB Keith McGill would be called upon to fill the void left by Corey Graham in free agency. Standing at 6’3, 214 lb,  he’s a more physical corner back that would pair nicely and allow CB Lardarius Webb to move inside and play the slot receiver in nickel situations. Missed the 2012 season with a shoulder injury but returned to have 12 pass breakups in 2013.

4th rd (134)-CJ Fiedorowicz; TE-Iowa

Analysis: With the Ravens need to get bigger, Iowa TE CJ Fiedorowicz stands at 6’6, 265 lb and could be an intriguing weapon for Joe Flacco to throw the ball to down the field and in the end zone. Familar with the Ravens coaching style having played under former Ravens assistant Kirk Ferentz at Iowa, he would be a nice pairing with Dennis Pitta, free agent acquisition Owen Daniels, and H-back Kyle Juszczyk. Numbers were not as impressive in the Hawkeye offense due to the ball-control tempo ran at Iowa.

4th rd (138)-Ka’Deem Carey, RB-Arizona

Analysis: Much like with Thyrl’s projection with Tre Mason, Ka’Deem Carey has the same size as Ray Rice. Could either take over for Rice or be the next Ray Rice in this offense. Had back-to-back 1800-yard seasons for the Wildcats with 41 TDs.

5th rd (175)-Preston Brown, ILB-Louisville

Analysis: Provides the Ravens with some depth at the inside linebacker after the loss of Jameel McClain to free agency. Arthur Brown and Daryl Smith will likely start for the Ravens but need backups in the team’s 3-4 scheme.

6th rd (194)-Keith Wenning, QB-Ball State

Analysis: Wenning, a four-year starter at Ball State, holds the Cardinals passing records for touchdowns (92), and set a school record for touchdowns in a season with 35 in 2013. Came to Owings Mills on an official visit, and the only MAC QBs to finish with more passing yards in their careers were Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich. Likely would spell the end of the Tyrod Taylor era in Baltimore.

 

If you missed our explanations of the projected picks, check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault!

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Brett, Barry both see Ravens taking tackle in first round

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Brett, Barry both see Ravens taking tackle in first round

Posted on 08 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Brett and Barry gave their thoughts on possible Ravens draft picks last Saturday.  Listen to there audio segment HERE.

Here is Barry Kamen’s mock draft for the Baltimore Ravens:

 

1 (17): G/T Zack Martin, Notre Dame

The Ravens think very highly of Martin, who can be the team’s left guard or right tackle for years to come.

 

2 (48): SS Deone Bucannon, Washington State

NFL Combine star would be a great addition to the secondary. Physical style, coupled with being a three-time captain in college is exactly what the Ravens seek.

 

3 (79): Edge player Trent Murphy, Stanford

With great height and large hands, Murphy can be a pass-rushing threat in the mold of a Paul Kruger. Can learn from two of the best edge rushers in the NFL (Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil) and be a starter in a couple of years.

 

3 (99): RB Devonta Freeman, Florida State

A pending suspension for Ray Rice makes running back a need. Freeman is a great scheme fit, and was not given a heavy workload in college. The more tread on the tires, the better.

 

4 (134): WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers

Prince George’s County native would be a first round pick if he had better hands. This pick will be a great project for new wide receivers coach Bobby Engram.

 

4 (138): CB Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

Has experience playing cornerback and safety, in addition to special teams prowess. Depth player who could steal the third corner job from Asa Jackson or Chykie Brown.

 

5 (175): TE A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State

Character concerns with this selection, but a raw talent who could really benefit from a year with Owen Daniels as his mentor.

 

6 (194): QB Keith Wenning, Ball State

I am not buying the Ravens drafting a quarterback any higher than this selection. Wenning was brought in for a visit, and the time has come for Tyrod Taylor to be tested or replaced.

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Here is Brett Dickinson’s mock draft for the Baltimore Ravens:

 

1 (17): OL Zack Martin, Notre Dame

Martin is not only a good athlete to fit the zone blocking scheme, but provides versatility as he can play any position along the line. The Ravens will have to decide what his best position will have, but either way he helps upgrade a porous unit from last year.

2 (48): WR Javis Landry, LSU

The Ravens have tried to upgrade the weapons around Joe Flacco all off season and will need to bring in some youth as well.  Landry has good hands and is a strong wide out to catch balls over the middle.

3 (79): FS Terrance Brooks, Florida State

The free safety spot is in need of desperate help, in order to move last year’s first round pick back to his natural strong safety spot.  Brooks is a good coverage defensive back that can play the “Ed Reed role” in the center of the field.

3 (99): RB Devonta Freeman, Florida State

After last year’s debacle in the running game, and Ray Rice’s off field issues, the Ravens need depth in the backfield. Freeman is a one cut back that fits in the zone blocking scheme, while having good hands to catch the ball as a check down option.

4 (134): CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon

The loss of Corey Graham has thinned out the cornerback core.  Mitchell not only adds depth, but versatility with his ability to play all over the defensive backfield.

4 (138): LB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut

Even after drafting Arthur Brown last year, the Ravens could use extra depth at the MLB position in their 3-4 front.  He is a good tackler that can fill in gaps in the middle of the defense.

5 (175): DT Shamar Stephen, Connecticut

With Art Jones now in Indianapolis, the Ravens need to find a replacement for his spot on the depth chart. Stephen is a big body but does have some ability to penetrate the backfield and open things up for Elvis Dummervil and Terrell Suggs.

6 (194): OLB Khairi Fortt, California

Even though the Ravens are set at starters for the OLB position, but need to inject youth into the position.  Fortt is a situational pass rusher that has experience on the edge in a 3-4 scheme.   Side Note: A change in my original pick to provide more depth to a position of need.

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manziel

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Houston, there’s no problem: Johnny Manziel is the No. 1 pick

Posted on 06 May 2014 by johngallo

I really wanted to dismiss Johnny Manziel as the top pick.

I wanted to justify knocking him down a few rungs on the board because he’s a “running quarterback,” and you know what running quarterbacks don’t do? Win Super Bowls. I heard Manziel’s name, and I thought of Michael Vick – a guy who will get your team on ESPN’s top plays but not a Lombardi Trophy.

I thought it was just too risky to take Manziel No. 1 because that’s what history told me. Since 1990, 14 quarterbacks have been taken first overall, yet just two – Peyton and Eli Manning – have won the Super Bowl. But what’s even more glaring is that eight – Tim Couch, David Carr, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford and Cam Newton – haven’t won a playoff game. That leaves Drew Bledsoe, Vick and Jeff George and Andrew Luck as top picks who have won at least one playoff game, though in fairness, Luck likely won’t be on this list long.

Super Bowl winners Joe Flacco (18th), Ben Roethlisberger (11th) and Trent Dilfer (sixth) weren’t even the first quarterbacks taken in the first round in 2008, 2004 and 1994, respectively. Aaron Rodgers was picked 24th overall in 2005. Drew Brees was picked in the second round in 2001. Tom Brady went in the sixth round, after 198 players had been selected. Hell, Kurt Warner wasn’t even drafted and would have taken $6 an hour if a team offered, which would have been 50 cents more than he was making an hour stocking shelves at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

I read about Manziel’s celebrity lifestyle and thought he’s too busy being the man off the field to be the man off it, much like I did when Mark Sanchez thought he was the biggest thing to hit New York since King Kong.

But then I did some research, looking past Manziel’s highlight-reel plays and ability to hang with so many hot chicks that he’d make Hugh Hefner envious.

Manziel’s running fuels his passing. Without his legs, Johnny Football would be just plain ol’ Johnny.

There’s a difference between being a “running quarterback” and one who uses his speed to extend plays.

Consider: Manziel had 521 more rushing yards and 27 more first downs on scrambles more yardage than any quarterback from a BCS automatic qualifying conference – ACC, American Athletic, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 – in the past two years. He had 29 rushes for at least 20 yards, which led the SEC, the nation’s best league, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

“I don’t know really who you would compare Jonny Manziel too,” George Whitfield, Manziel’s personal quarterback coach, told ESPN during an interview on May 6.

Try Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. As a senior at Wisconsin in 2011, he led all BCS automatic qualifying conference quarterbacks with 416 rushing yards on scrambles, including 18 that went for at least 10 yards.

All Wilson has done since entering the NFL as a third-round pick is win a Super Bowl and more games than any other quarterback the past two seasons combined.

Maybe Manziel is really Wilson’s long lost twin who just lives a vastly more public lifestyle? It’s scary because the statistical comparison is there.

“I don’t see them as an exact match, but I definitely do get it,” Whitfield told ESPN. “Russell Wilson came into the league seasoned, mature and played an awful lot of football and played a lot of baseball and Johnny looks up to him. I just don’t know if those two are carbon copies.”

Maybe not carbon copies, but very, very close, according to measurements.

Height: Manziel: 5-11¾; Wilson: 5-11

Weight: Manziel: 207; Wilson: 204

Hand size: Manziel: 9 7/8; Wilson: 10¼

Arm length: Manziel: 31 3/8; Wilson: 31

40-yard dash: Manziel: 4.68; Wilson: 4.55

Broad jump: Manziel: 113 inches; Wilson: 118

Vertical jump: Manziel: 31.5; Wilson: 34

Three cone drill: Manziel: 6.75; Wilson: 6.97

I wasn’t too high on Russell entering the 2012 draft. Maybe it was because I thought – and still do – the Big Ten is inferior to the SEC. Or maybe, it was because I never saw him win a big game since the Badgers lost to Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon. And maybe, it was because Wilson didn’t carry the Badgers.

Regardless, I was wrong.

But I’m right about Manziel.

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They Might Be Ravens: Taylor Lewan

Posted on 02 May 2014 by WNST Staff

He’s big, smooth, and funny.

Yea, Taylor Lewan can crack up a room.  During his tenure at Michigan, he became well-known for his finger-mustache “Englishman” impression.

The down-side is that he has a bit of legal baggage stemming to an alleged fight last December.  According to Lewan, speaking on his own behalf, he denies any altercation, dismissing the notion that he was doing anything beyond breaking up a fight between others.

It’s plausible, the only problem is that he faces three charges–one which includes the more serious tag of “aggravated assault.”

For now it’s a he-said-he-said incident, but it’s a red-mark heading into the draft; not to mention that there is chatter out there about a past incident of intimidating a rape victim.  Certainly not the type of SEO Tags you’d want as a first-round pick.

The Good:  Being a former d-lineman, he’s quick and possess above-average foot-work.  Much has been said about his mean-streak, which is a great thing when it comes to offensive tackles.  He’s big enough and athletic enough to play either side of the line.

The Bad:  Legal issues aside, he’s only been playing offensive tackle since his senior year of high school.  There’s a question over whether or not he’s willing to work at his craft, as–with many gifted athletes–he relies a lot on his flat-out talent, rather than developing the necessary skill.

The Reality:  Lewan will like go in the top 15 picks–perhaps even as high as mid-top-10.  While it initially looked like he’d be a possibility for the Ravens at pick 17, it seems as if that idea–or as Ozzie Newsome would say,”ship”–has sailed.

 

See the initial “They Might Be Ravens” post here.

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McCrary to announce Ravens’ second round pick at NFL Draft

Posted on 02 May 2014 by WNST Staff

The National Football League announced today that 32 NFL former players, one representing each team, will announce live on Friday, May 9, second-round Draft picks from Radio City Music Hall. This marks the fourth year in which each selection in the second round is announced by a former player.

The list of players scheduled to make selections includes 11 Pro Football Hall of Famers, with five from the Class of 2014. Combined, these players have nearly 20 Super Bowl championships and 150 Pro Bowl appearances between them.

Arizona Cardinals, Aeneas Williams (S)**

Atlanta Falcons, Claude Humphrey (DE)**

Baltimore Ravens, Michael McCrary (DE)

Buffalo Bills, Andre Reed (WR)**

Carolina Panthers, Mark Carrier (WR)

Chicago Bears, Mike Singletary (LB)

Cincinnati Bengals, Ken Riley (CB)

Cleveland Browns, Eric Metcalf (WR)

Dallas Cowboys, Dat Nguyen (LB)

Denver Broncos, Gene Mingo (HB)

Detroit Lions, Herman Moore (WR)

Green Bay Packers, James Lofton (WR)

Houston Texans, Chester Pitts (G)

Indianapolis Colts, Marvin Harrison (WR)

Jacksonville Jaguars, Brad Meester (C)

*Kansas City Chiefs, Curley Culp (DT)

Miami Dolphins, Larry Little (G)

Minnesota Vikings, Joey Browner (S)

New England Patriots, Willie McGinest (DE-LB)

New Orleans Saints, Morten Andersen (K)

New York Giants, Harry Carson (LB)

New York Jets, Chad Pennington (QB)

Oakland Raiders, Willie Brown (CB)

Philadelphia Eagles, Mike Quick (WR)

Pittsburgh Steelers, Terry Hanratty (QB)

St. Louis Rams, Kevin Carter (DE)

San Diego Chargers, Jamal Williams (DT)

San Francisco 49ers, Dennis Brown (DE)

Seattle Seahawks, Walter Jones (T)**

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Derrick Brooks (LB)**

Tennessee Titans, Kevin Dyson (WR)

Washington Redskins, London Fletcher (LB)

Hall of Famers are listed in bold and the class of 2014 is indicated by **. The Kansas City Chiefs, marked with a *, do not have a second-round selection, barring a trade into Round 2. Curley Culp will announce their Round 3 pick.

The 2014 NFL Draft will continue the three-day format introduced in 2010, with the first round broadcast in primetime at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, May 8. Rounds 2 – 3 will air at 7:00 pm ET on Friday, May 9. The Draft concludes with Rounds 4-7 on Saturday, May 10 at 12:00 pm ET. The NFL Draft will be broadcast on NFL Network and ESPN/ESPN2. Fans also may watch the live NFL Network stream on NFL Mobile from Verizon and follow the NFL Draft conversation on Twitter with #NFLDraft.

In addition, Round Two of the NFL Draft will be sponsored by Bud Light, the official beer sponsor of the NFL. To kick off the fourth year of its sponsorship, Bud Light will provide 32 NFL fans – one representing each team’s fan base – a VIP experience at the Draft including a dinner reception with the players. Additionally, one of the winning fans will receive the opportunity to announce his or her favorite team’s second round draft pick on stage with the player, and the other 31 fans will serve as card carriers for their teams’ pick.

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B&B Big Story Banter: All-Time Ravens Draft Team

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B&B Big Story Banter: All-Time Ravens Draft Team

Posted on 02 May 2014 by WNST Staff

By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen

As the NFL Draft is nearly upon us, we decided to take a look back at the history of the Ravens during this event.  Many believe general manager Ozzie Newsome to be one of the greatest draft manipulators in the history of the game.  But how good has he really been? The only stipulation for our picks was to only look at the players tenure while in Baltimore.  Barry took care of the offensive picks, while Brett handled the defensive side of things.

Take a look at our All-Time Baltimore Ravens Draft Team

LT: Jonathan Ogden (1996)- 1st round (4th overall)
 
LG: Ben Grubbs (2007)- 1 (29th)
 
C: Jeff Mitchell (1997)- 5 (134th)
 
RG: Marshal Yanda (2007)- 3 (86th)
 
RT: Michael Oher  (2009)- 1 (23th)
 
QB: Joe Flacco (2008)- 1 (18th)
 
RB: Jamal Lewis (2000)- 1 (5th)
 
FB: Le’Ron McClain (2007)- 4 (137th) 
 
TE: Todd Heap (2001)- 1 (31st) 
 
WR: Torrey Smith (2011)- 2 (58th) 
 
WR: Brandon Stokley (1999)- 4 (105th) 
 

BK: There were plenty of easy decisions when creating this offense. Jonathan Ogden was this biggest no-brainer of them all; the first pick in franchise history was an 11-time Pro Bowler who would get much more attention if it wasn’t for Ray Lewis.  As a whole, creating this offensive line was much easier than I expected. The Pro Bowl appearances for Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda made the guard position an easy decision, while the only real debate I had was deciding between Casey Rabach, Jason Brown, and Mitchell to play center. When push came to shove, for multiple positions. I went with the guy who won a Super Bowl.

Running back and wide receiver were the two positions that gave me the hardest time. I went with Jamal Lewis over Ray Rice, the position that has meant so much to this franchise since its inception. Lewis was a phenomenal power back that struck fear into divisional opponents, and he averaged 1,300 yards rushing in his six seasons in Baltimore. Some people will take Rice’s versatility over Lewis’ power, but Jamal never had a bad season with the Ravens. The same cannot be said for Mr. Rice. At wide receiver, I struggled with who would play opposite Torrey Smith. Wide receiver is the one position that the Ravens have constantly struggled with, so the talent pool was quite small. My theory on picking the Super Bowl winner prevailed, as Brandon Stokley earned the other spot, beating out the likes of Mark Clayton and Jermaine Lewis (known mainly for his return skills).

What strikes me about this offense is just how many first round picks there are. When I think of the “Wizard of Oz” never missing in the first round, my mind immediately think defense; Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed…you get the idea. But my All-Time offense has six first round picks, three of those being offensive lineman. The genius of Ozzie Newsome, Phil Savage, and Eric DeCosta over the years has been finding great players, no matter where they draft. Whether it was Jamal Lewis 5th overall, or Todd Heap with the last pick in the first round, the Ravens have always found quality players early in the draft.

 Here is the All-Time Draft Defense, presented by Brett Dickinson:

DL: Dwan Edwards (2004)- 2nd round (51st overall)

DT: Haloti Ngata (2006)- 1 (12th)

DL: Arthur Jones (2010)- 5 (157th)

OLB: Peter Boulware (1997)- 1 (4th)

MLB: Ray Lewis (1996)- 1 (26th)

MLB: Jaimie Sharper (1997)- 2 (34th)

OLB: Terrell Suggs (2003)- 1 (10th)

CB: Chris McAlister (1999)- 1 (10th)

CB: Duane Starks (1998)- 1 (10th)

FS: Ed Reed (2002)- 1 (24th)

SS: Dawan Landry (2006)- 5 (146th)

BD: Though the Ravens seem to take a defensive lineman almost every year, they do not have the best track record. Besides selecting Haloti Ngata in the first round, no one else has made a Pro Bowl from that position. While on the other hand, they have obviously hit the mark taking linebackers, as this list includes four pro bowlers, two defensvie players of the year (Lewis, Suggs) and a future Hall of Famer in Lewis (along with being one of the best players in the history of the game).

The toughest decision was at the second cornerback slot, after Chris McAlister. Though Jimmy Smith or Lardarius Webb could surpass Starks in the future, his four straight seasons with at least 4 INTs is still best in franchise history. Add in making a crucial interception to essentially seal a Super Bowl victory and he was the obvious choice.

Overall the Ravens have dominated the first round, when it comes to selecting defensive talent, but surprisingly have not done much else beyond that. Selecting two players in Lewis and Reed (that could be the greatest at their position), late in the first round, certainly makes Ozzie look better than what his track record would lead you to believe.

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NFL Draft: Who will the Ravens take 17th overall?

Posted on 02 May 2014 by johngallo

In less than a week, we’ll know.

We’ll know who’s the Ravens’ first pick in the draft, a player who history says should be Pro Bowl-level good.

Of the Ravens’ 18 all-time first-round picks, 10 have gone on to make at least one Pro Bowl. The 10 players have been selected to 51 Pro Bowls as a group, led by Ray Lewis’ 13 and Jonathan Ogden’s 11.

But recent history paints another picture: The Ravens’ past four first-round picks – safety Matt Elam (2013), cornerback Jimmy Smith (2011), tackle Michael Oher (2009) and quarterback Joe Flacco (2008) – have yet to make a Pro Bowl. Flacco, however, is a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, which in my book – or whatever one you are reading – is more valuable than making a Pro Bowl.

The Ravens are picking at No. 17, which represents their highest pick since taking Flacco at No. 18 in 2008 – and all he did was turn into a $100 million dollar man with a Super Bowl ring.

The Ravens, clearly, have needs after going 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the first time in the John Harbaugh Era. But this year, the Ravens’ needs are much more glaring.

The media’s projection regarding who will be the next Raven is all over the place. While some agree on the position, they don’t agree on the player. How many different names have you seen linked to the Ravens at No. 17?

Harbaugh basically said the Ravens want to add a good person at every position. Really, like what was he going to say – that the Ravens were looking to enter training camp with gaping holes and a roster that includes mediocre draft picks?

“It’s important to add a running back, but we’ve got some other spots, too. It’s important to add an offensive lineman, a wide receiver, a tight end and some depth at quarterback. It’s important to add a safety, a corner, inside backer and a defensive tackle,” Harbaugh said at pre-draft press conference. “So, that’s where I’m at right now.”

Which is where, exactly?

Harbaugh and the Ravens have a list of guys they’re targeting, but they are not sharing.

I am.

Here are three guys I’d love to see don a Ravens cap after hugging Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York City on May 8.

No. 1: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 309 pounds

What he did at the NFL Combine: Raise his draft stock considerably. His.4.87 time in the 40-yard dash, 30.5-inch vertical jump. 117-inch broad jump and 7.39-second three-cone drill all ranked in the top four among offensive linemen. He proved at the combine – and as a four-year starter at the University of Michigan – he has the speed to play in the NFL. However, his 39 reps of lifting 225 pounds tied for 11th with Notre Dame’s Zack Martin, well behind the 42 reps put up by North Carolina’s Russell Bodine. But it’s easier to improve a players’ strength compared to speed.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: Quickly: If the season started tomorrow, who would start at right tackle? Raise your hand if you had Ricky Wagner, a fifth-round pick who played in all 16 games with two starts as a rookie last year. Upgrading an offensive line that was terrible in protecting Flacco and just as bad in creating holes for Ray Rice is critical if the Ravens are going to return to the playoffs. The Ravens have been superb at picking offensive linemen in the first round. Ogden (1996) played in 11 Pro Bowls and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, while Ben Grubbs (2007) made one. The odd man out: Oher, who never lived up to his lofty expectations and signed with the Titans during the offseason.

No. 2: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Measurements: 5-11, 199

What he did at the NFL Combine: Enough to justify being a first-round pick. His 4.51 in the 40-yard dash tied for 13th in his position, well behind the 4.37 put up by Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert, who is regarded as the draft’s best defensive back. But Dennard’s best work was on the field, where he was an All-American and Jim Thorpe (nations best DB) winner at Michigan State who took away the receiver he covered.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: The loss of Corey Graham creates a void in the secondary, as the Ravens need to address safety and defensive back. Dennard’s physical ability and toughness make him too good to pass up if he slides to the Ravens. With Dennard, the question could be, is he the next Chris McAlister, a three-time Pro Bowler the Ravens took in 1999, or the next Jimmy Smith?

No. 3: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

Measurements: 5-11, 207

What he did at the NFL Combine: Show he’s one of the strongest safeties in the draft, which makes him attractive to the Ravens since they need a complement to the speedy Matt Elam. Pryor’s 18 reps of 225 pounds tied for fourth at his position, well behind Brock Vereen’s 25, but Pryor is faster than Vereen. Pryor’s 4.58 in the 40-yard dash tied for eighth among safeties, well behind Florida State’s Terrence Brooks, who ran a blistering, 4.42.

Why he’s a great fit for the Ravens: Because the Ravens need someone to fill the huge shoes of future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, a former defensive player of the year and eight-time Pro Bowler. Reed was an absolute steal when the Ravens selected him 24th overall in 2002. Pryor could immediately replace James Ihedigbo, who signed with Detroit during the offseason.

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They Might Be Ravens: A Look at the 2014 Draft

Posted on 01 May 2014 by WNST Staff

Draft prognostication could easily re-brand itself as mental masturbation.

Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Walt Cherepinsky, and anyone else regarded as an “expert” on who might choose who in next week’s NFL Draft, is merely taking a wild guess.

Things change.  Deals evolve.  GMs get pick-happy.  No one really knows what’s going to unfold in next Thursday’s first round, let alone the next six rounds that will carry on through the weekend.

Considering the track record of GM Ozzie Newsome, as well as today’s new that he openly stated the team is already fielding calls and offers to trade out of its first round spot, it’s nearly impossible to predict–with any degree of accuracy–who the Baltimore Ravens will select.

Instead of predicting via traditional mock-draft style, in this series, we’ll do a deep-dive into some of the potential early-round picks and their likelihood of donning a purple jersey this fall.

The following players, in one way or another, have the best shot at being the Ravens’ first draft pick–whether that pick comes at 17 or doesn’t happen until the second-round, these are the players that it’s safe to assume the Ravens have the most interest in–partly due to position, mostly due to talent on the board.

In the coming week, this series will highlight each of these players individually.

Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan:  Will likely be long-gone by pick 17–unless his off-the-field issues turn out to be more troublesome than originally thought.

Zach Martin, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame:  Originally thought as a mid-first-rounder, it’s looking more likely that he will be closer to the first-half of the first-round.

Morgan Moses, Offensive Tackle, Virginia:  Depending on who you talk to and who you read, Moses is a fringe-first-rounder with a lot of upside.  The only issue is that he is a true left tackle–where the Ravens need a right.

Cyrus Kouandijo, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: Even though he has tremendous size (6-6, 322) he’s been labeled as un-athletic and slow–also has a history of knee issues.

JaWuan James, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee:  A smart, high-character player, he lacks footwork and polish.

Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina:  A true playmaker and matchup nightmare, there’s little chance he’ll be available after pick 12.

Troy Niklas, Tight End, Notre Dame:  Not a first-rounder, he could be a player the Ravens consider if they do trade out of the first round and pick up a second, second-round pick.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama:  Originally thought to be one of the Ravens’ favorites, he’s crept much further up the board, perhaps into the top-10.

Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville:  It’s possible he’ll be available at pick-17, the only problem is that he’ll be there because other teams are shying away from him due to his inability to make big defensive plays.

Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback, Michigan State:  One of the most talented corners in the draft, it’s likely he won’t fall as far as 17, but if he does, don’t be surprised if the Ravens don’t take a hard look.

Bradley Roby, Cornerback, Ohio State:  It’s unlikely the Ravens would take him at 17, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech:  See comment on Roby.

Justin Gilbert, Cornerback, Oklahoma State:  A fringe-first rounder, he’s more likely a candidate to be taken in the second-round, should be be there when the Ravens hit the clock.

Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State:  An absolute burner, the Ravens will certainly kick the tires if players like Lewan and Clinton-Dix are off-the-board.

Cody Latimer, Wide Receiver, Indiana:  It’s possible, barring a trade out of the first round, armed with two second-round picks, the Ravens would take a flier on this boom-or-bust pick.

Carlos Hyde, Running Back, Ohio State:  Probably not really on the Ravens’ radar, but he’s the number-one back in the draft–a true position of need.

Terrance West, Running Back, Towson:  The local product could very well be a second-round target for his hometown team.

CJ Mosely, Linebacker, Alabama: Considering Newsome’s affinity for his alma mater, this isn’t too much of a stretch.

Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UCLA:  This could be a dark horse pick, as Barr is a pass-rushing specialist with a ton of upside–he could be the “best player on the board” by the time the Ravens pick at 17.

Stay tuned for individual analysis–“MM”–on each of these players.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Ozzie we Trust, in #WNSTSweet16 we recognize no one is perfect

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In Ozzie we Trust, in #WNSTSweet16 we recognize no one is perfect

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Glenn Clark

The list belongs to me this week. Not all of our lists are going to be pleasant. Some are going to be like this one. Here’s the list preview if you missed it.

Our list this week is the #WNSTSweet16 worst Draft picks in Baltimore Ravens history. Here’s what I’ve got. It’s brought to you by Jerry’s Automotive (Jerry’s Chevrolet and Jerry’s Toyota Scion).

16. Michael Oher

I had a bunch of folks suggest I include him. I really didn’t want to but ultimately decided I could justify it. The 23rd pick overall in 2009 has had a much more legitimate career already than most of the others on this list and was a starter for a Super Bowl championship team. But the Ravens traded up in ’09 to find their left tackle of the future and Oher was just never that guy. The former Ole Miss standout will have further opportunity to justify being worthy of his spot as his career continues in Tennessee, but with the door closed in Baltimore his career just did not make him worthy of the pick.

(Continued on next page…)

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Former NM State WR Franklin says he can digest playbook quickly

Posted on 28 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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