With the Draft complete, lets take a pick by pick analysis of the Ravens class.
I will be issuing grades here, but understand these grades are based off of perceived value and upside. They are not concrete and should be considered preliminary, i will update these at the start of the season and at various points during the season.
Pick 32, Matt Elam, SS, Florida
As I have said before, Elam was not my preference for a 1st round prospect because of his size(he was 46th on my board). That said I recognize that the Ravens clearly coveted him as a player and I am willing to admit that Ozzie Newsome and company are correct much more often than I am. Even so, this is grading based on perceived value and my perception was that Jonathan Cyprien, taken one pick later, was a better prospect with more versatility than Elam. I would have taken Cyprien. That said, Only time will tell if i was right or if the Ravens brass was right. early betting lines have me as a heavy underdog.
Pick 56- Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas St.
I love this pick. I wasn’t crazy about Brown in the first round, but that was mostly because with him being the 30th ranked player on my board and the fact that at least 4-5 teams take a non-first round talent in the first round every year I doubted Brown would be the best available. In the second round however, he was a great value, after all, he was the 30th player on my board. The Ravens had to sacrifice 2 picks(a 5th and a 6th) to go get him, but Peter King reported this morning that the Texans and Falcons were going to draft him if he was available so the move was worth it. Any trade where you go up to get a guy you believe in, especially a high character guy like Brown, is worth it, no matter the cost.
Pick 94- Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern
This is another pick I love. Williams, to me, was the hidden gem of the draft. He has top 10 talent, he is just very raw and comes from a small school. With some solid coaching, Williams could be the next Vince Wilfork. Having a Vince Wilfork type guy on your roster is never a bad thing. Williams is impossibly strong and tends to just bull his way around, hence the raw part of his game. In that respect Williams strength has been a detriment to his growth, it is like a WR with ridiculous speed who has never learned to run routes because he has never had to do anything but use his speed to out run people. Williams has never had to develop technique because he can easily throw 250-300lb guys out of his way. That wont work in the NFL where players have technique and are closer to being as strong as he is. Once this guy learns how to really play football, he is going to be unstoppable.
Pick 129- John Simon, DE/OLB, Ohio St.
Simon is a guy who i didnt do a ton of scouting for before the draft, but i knew his reputation and had seen one of his game tapes. I have since watched 2 more games. This guy is a football player. period, no other words for it. The guy has an incredibly high motor and has surprisingly proficient technique. He isnt a great athlete and therefore probably has a relatively low ceiling, but he also has a very high floor, at worst he is probably a really good special teamer and a solid role player for your defense. He is also a high character guy and a good locker-room presence according to Ohio St. HC Urban Meyer who once said he would name his child after Simon.
Pick 130- Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard
Juice is one of the more interesting picks of the Ravens draft. He doesn’t really have a position because he played WR, TE, HB and FB during college and has good upside at all of those. The Ravens will probably let him learn for a year under Leach while using him as a 3rd TE and situational RB(maybe around the goal line) and then he will replace Leach in the Ravens lineup. That said, I feel like the 4th round is a bit rich for a FB, even if he is the best one in the draft.
Pick 168, Ricky Wagner, OT/G, Wisconsin
This was a great value pick for the Ravens. Wagner was being hailed as a future first round pick coming into last season, but some poor play early in the season dropped him to the 5th. That said, everyone on the Wisconsin line played poorly this year and it was impossible to judge any of them because of their collective lack of cohesiveness as a unit. Wagner could be a steal and I wouldnt be terribly surprised to see him starting week one at either LG(with Osemele at LT and Oher at RT) or RT(With Oher at LT and Osemele at LG).
Pick, 200- Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame
I said long before the draft that i didnt think the Ravens roster could carry more than 9 rookies. The Ravens finished with 10 picks, but found a clever way to get high value and save a roster spot by taking the likely IR candidate Kapron Lewis-Moore. Lewis-Moore was the engine behind the success of the Notre Dame defense before he got injured in the BCS championship and the entire thing fell apart causing Manti Teo to take a draft tumble due to his poor play in the game. Lewis-Moore isnt a flashy player, but he has a really high floor if he gets healthy. He will be a productive player and being likely to spend his first season on injured reserve, he probably wont be taking up a roster spot. brilliant move.
Pick, 203- Ryan Jenson, OT/G/C, Colorado St. Pueblo
I won’t lie, I know almost nothing about Ryan Jenson. I basically have to go off of what other people have said about him. The Ravens drafted him to compete at center. I have heard he is highly athletic and his size, for a center, is absurd(as in he is huge). Centers are typically the smallest players on the OL, as the Ravens roster stands right now, he would be the second biggest player in the position group. he is substantially bigger than current Starter Gino Gradkowski and former starter Matt Birk. thats pretty much all I know about him. I am giving him basically a middle of the road grade until i learn more.
Pick, 238- Aaron Mellete, WR, Elon
I like Mellete a lot. I would have taken him over Aaron Dobson, who the Patriots took in the second round. Mellete was an excellent value in the 7th round. He is a big bodied guy with strong hands and has the ability to play both outside and slot receiver. Mellete played against mediocre competition, but he excelled there and dominated racking up 18 TDs last season and 44 over his 3 year career. I like his hands and his nose for the endzone, he also is a very good jump ball player.
Pick, 247- Marc Anthony, CB/S, Cal
I am not a fan of Anthony at CB. He doesnt have the recovery speed to keep up with NFL WRs, he likes to play press man, but if a more physical WR gets off his jam at the line then anthony gets burned. however, I do like him at FS. he needs to make the transition to be a serious option on defense, but either way he will be a good special teamer because he has great pysicality. maybe we can finally get Jimmy Smith off of special teams and on defense where he belongs.
Overall Class Grades
the Ravens got value with every pick, this was a big time value draft.
Needs addressed: B
This would be an A or an A+ if the Ravens had addressed WR earlier, even so, B+ is nothing to turn your nose up at.
Elam and Brown could be lynchpin defenders for the next decade. Williams, in my opinion had as much upside as any player in this draft and getting Kapron Lewis-Moore was a huge boon late in the draft.