Well, I was wrong.
The Ravens went super offense-heavy with their picks in this year’s draft, which is very uncharacteristic of the typically defensive-minded franchise.
But I think in this case, it’s good to be wrong. The Ravens just tied a bow on a great draft which will surely provide two immediate starters on offense, some depth in the front seven, and a possible work-horse running back. They systematically addressed every need in the draft and didn’t overextend for any particular player. Instead, they let the draft come to them, and it paid off.
I had the Ravens going for cornerback depth in the first and looking for depth behind their aging pass rushers and relatively inexperienced defensive line. They flipped the script on me and opted to add two very talented pieces to their passing game in WR Breshad Perriman and TE Maxx Williams.
An absolutely explosive player, Perriman offers the big play potential they lost with Torrey Smith and should step into the starting lineup right away. He is an ideal compliment to the steady Steve Smith Sr. who, at this rate, should continue playing at a high level when Brett Perriman’s grandchildren are set to enter the draft (get it? Steve Smith is old).
The Ravens then deftly traded up to snag Maxx Williams, likely stealing him from the clutches of their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Again, Williams should immediately step into the starting lineup and provide an underneath and short-yardage outlet to the passing game. With two picks, the Ravens shored up two gaping holes on their offense with day one starters.
Then came a bit of luck. Highly touted DT Carl Davis somehow fell to them all the way at pick 90. This is a kid that some mocks had going in the first round. Davis adds some much-needed depth to that interior line which now looks to be pretty stacked with last year’s second rounder Timmy Jernigan and second year pro Brandon Williams.
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But that’s not all, folks! In round four Baltimore grabbed energetic linebacker/defensive end Za’Darius Smith from Kentucky. My favorite scout’s note on him was that “he played like his hair was on fire.” And, not to brag, I had him going to the Ravens in my seven round mock.
Three picks later the Ravens added USC RB Javorius “Buck” Allen. This kid has great size at 6’1, 220 lbs and though he doesn’t have a ton of wiggle, he’s a bruiser who projects to be much better in the NFL than in college. He adds some great depth to a very interesting running back situation.
With their third pick in the fourth round, the Ravens (finally) got some cornerback depth in Texas Southern CB Tray Walker. He’s a big corner at 6’2 but apparently doesn’t like to mix it up in the run game. He’ll need to be more aggressive and learn how to be a pro, but he has time to take it all in behind current Ravens’ starters LaDarius Webb and Jimmy Smith.
The Ravens opened up the fifth round by selecting Delaware TE Nick Boyle. The Ravens were thrilled to get this kid as Boyle really excelled in blocking from the tight end position. He has the athleticism to also be a factor in the passing game, but the Ravens really brought him in to help in running situations. “We got two of the best guys on different spectrums with pass-catching with Maxx and Nick Boyle with what he can do on the line,” Tight Ends Coach Richard Angulo said.
“We got two of the best guys on different spectrums with pass-catching with Maxx and Nick Boyle with what he can do on the line.”–Tight Ends Coach Richard Angulo
With their second pick in the fifth round, the Ravens got gigantic G Robert Myers from Tennessee St. This is a massive human being at 6’5, 330lbs. Both starting guards Marshall Yanda and Kelechi Osemele are in the final years of their contracts, so adding guard depth here is a nice insurance policy. This gives Myers a year to study to possibly jump into the starting lineup in 2016.
With their final pick, the Ravens got another offensive weapon in 6’6 WR Darren Waller out of Georgia Tech. Projected to go in the third or fourth round, the Ravens got a steal here with Waller in the sixth. A physically gifted player, Waller uses his body to box out defenders and he has the height to win jump balls against smaller cornerbacks. He’s raw in his route running and needs to learn, but the Ravens might have gotten themselves a secret weapon at the end of the draft.
So that’s it! The draft is officially over! I’m not sure if I’m relieved or upset that I’ll have to find something else to obsess over until the season starts. One thing is for sure, the Ravens really aced this draft. Hats off to the master, Ozzie Newsome, for continuing the great tradition of Ravens excellence!
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