Columnists: Justin Max
The Ravens started off the draft as the only team with no first round pick, after trading it to the New England Patriots as part of the Kyle Boller deal. By the end of the round, they were joined by quite a few teams- Dallas, Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Kansas City. By the time the Ravens picked, at #51, they had known who the selection would be. According to defensive line coach Rex Ryan, they knew that Dwan Edwards would be the pick over an hour before the selection was made. This was a surprise to many, but for the wrong reason. 90% of draftniks had themselves convinced that a receivers name would be called out, even after the Ravens publicly stated that they would pick the best player available. Devery Henderson was a possibility, and a popular choice in mock drafts, but he was selected directly before the Ravens selection to New Orleans. Rather than reach for a receiver, they stuck to their word and took the best player remaining.
By Sunday afternoon, the Ravens made their last selection of the weekend, but not before coming away with a defensive end, an outside linebacker, a 3rd string quarterback, an offensive tackle, and four new receivers! Ozzie Newsome made a lot of exciting picks, but never touched on a few areas of concern.
Two positions that were expected to be chosen, offensive guard and the secondary, were not touched upon appropriately. Justin Smiley and Chris Snee, two guards the Ravens were reportedly high on, were gone well before the Ravens had a chance to select them. They still passed on many guards, opting to go receiver instead. They did, however, pick up Brian Rimpf with the last pick. Rimpf converting from tackle though, his college position. Secondary was not addressed either. Ozzie Newsome said, after day one, that they will be looking at a cornerback, but one was never selected.
After a surprising and exciting first day of the draft, the Ravens came away with some decent players. Here is my breakdown of the Ravens draft:
2nd round- Dwan Edwards, defensive end, Oregon State. First off, let’s get one thing out of the way. Dwan Edwards will play defensive end, NOT tackle. I remember right after he was selected, somebody started mocking the Ravens for “selecting a nose tackle.” He will play end, and will only play tackle on 4 lineman downs. Interesting pick, seeing as how they past on local product Randy Starks, and quite a few other highly rated defensive ends. Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you don’t question the Ravens scouting, who apparently had Edwards ranked as the 34th best player. Newsome is among the best, and I’m sure he knows what he is doing. Edwards was projected as an early second rounder, with a possibility of late first. Edwards lines up at 6’3” and 310 lbs, quite a bit bigger than current ends Adalius Thomas and Marques Douglass. According to head coach Brian Billick, the main goal set for Edwards is for him to be in the rotation on the line, and eventually replace Marques Douglass. Edwards is a great run stuffer, but is soft in rushing situations. The selection was obviously influenced by the departure from the playoffs, where the Titans ran all over them. Dwan has great leg strength and is quick off the snap. He’s a good tackler and has a great work ethic and attitude. He has no glaring weaknesses, but has less upside then many other linemen in the draft.
3rd round- In the third round, the Ravens
traded up to select Devard Darling, a wide receiver out of Washington
State. Darling is 6’1” and 213 lbs. Devard started his career
at Florida State, but transferred after his twin brother died during an
off-season conditioning program. Obviously since his brother died, there
are going to be some medical concerns about Devard. The Ravens, however,
have checked him out and he appears to be alright. Darling comes from
a very athletic family. His uncle won a gold medal in the Bahamas for
the triple jump, and many other relatives of his are Bahaman sprinters.
Darling is a very good runner also. He makes good strides and has great
first step. He has great field awareness and runs solid routes. He still
needs to work on his hands, as he catches many balls in his chest, and
his blocking must improve. Along with Edwards, Darling is a character
guy. Newsome stated in a press conference that he carried himself very
well in his interview. Darling is sort of a project and it might take
him 3 years
4th round- This pick was traded to the Jaguars for wide receiver Kevin Johnson. Johnson was released by the browns last season and was quickly picked up by the Jaguars, after the Ravens failed to get him off waivers. Johnson is a perfect fit for the Ravens. He is one of the few veteran receivers on the team and should work well with Boller. Unlike many other Ravens, Johnson runs good routes and has some of the best hands on the team.
5th round- The Ravens selected Roderick Green in this round. Green is an outside linebacker from Central Missouri, who played defensive end in college. This is a very questionable pick, since the Ravens traded up to get him. Green is probably not the smartest guy in the draft, and may very well be one of the dumbest. All players take the Wondelic Test before they are drafted. This is basically an IQ test with relatively easy questions. The highest score is a 50 and the lowest is zero. So what did Roderick Green score? A whopping THREE! 3/50! This was the lowest score of all players at the NFL Combine! I’m not even sure that this guy can read! Anyway, Green looks to be a solid player. He is new at linebacker and will take time to adjust Physically, Green looks good. He is very athletic and has good speed. He can tackle too. One problem is he needs to add some bulk and he is very slow at reading defenses. Should be used similarly to Terrell Suggs last year, only with a lot less production.
The other 5th round pick was traded to get Devard Darling
6th round- With their first pick of the round, the Ravens selected Josh Harris, a quarterback from Bowling Green. Harris was brought in to be the third string quarterback, behind Boller and Wright. Harris is a huge sleeper. He lacks ideal size, but has great athleticism and a strong arm. He is fast, has good form and accuracy, and is a student of the game. Harris played against weak competition though and has worked mostly out of shotguns. Josh Harris is not very polished, and could define his muscles a bit more. Harris wasn’t the greatest pick for the team for a number of reasons. Mainly, they could’ve gotten him or a quarterback just as good in the seventh round or even undrafted. Still, it wasn’t an awful pick and the team can easily live with it.
With the second pick of the round, the Ravens selected Clarence Moore from Northern Arizona. Moore is the third receiver picked by the Ravens, and probably has the most potential. Moore’s biggest attribute is his size. At 6’5”, he is one of the taller receivers in the NFL, as well as the tallest receiver in the 2004 draft. He also has surprising speed for a guy his size, though he is no burner. He has decent hands, but they could use work. Same goes for his routes. If he concentrates more, he could be a solid receiver off of the Ravens bench. Probably won’t contribute much this year.
7th round- Their first pick of the round was traded to get Roderick Green.
With their next compensatory pick, the Ravens selected receiver Derek Abney from Kentucky. He is the fourth wide receiver drafted by the Ravens, but was mainly brought in as a direct challenge to Lamont Brightful for the kick and punt returning jobs. So who says white boys can’t run? Abney combines a 38 inch vertical with 4.37 speed! Abney is actually a similar player to former Raven Jermaine Lewis. He is a great returner and is good for the occasional fly route. Not much of a receiver at 5’9”, but he should definitely make the team as a returner.
With their final pick, the Ravens selected offensive tackle Brian Rimpf out of East Carolina. I personally, would’ve rather seen them pick Carlos Joseph out of Miami, the steal of the draft, but Rimpf is okay. Rimpf is projected as a guard in the NFL, and was supposed to go early day 2. Rimpf is very strong, but doesn’t have great technique. At 6’5”, he gets pushed around a surprising amount. He’s good in pass protecting, but not in run blocking. I’m not a huge fan of this pick, but they were obviously intrigued by his potential, but he might not even make the team.
The biggest part of this draft was the overload of receivers. There are eight main receivers who could make the roster, but only 6 or 7 will probably make it. As of right now, Travis Taylor, Kevin Johnson, and Devard Darling are the only locks to make the team. Fighting for the other spots will be Javin Hunter, Randy Hymes, Derek Abney, Ron Johnson, Clarence Moore, and a few inexperienced practice squad players. Frank Sanders had his contract terminated, which comes as no surprise. Ron Johnson seems likely to get cut as well.
Some of the best news of this draft may have been who the Ravens didn’t select. In case you haven’t noticed, not one running back was drafted by the Ravens. This could mean a few things. The first thing that comes to mind is that Jamal Lewis’s legal problems aren’t looking too bad. If they hadn’t expected him to play this year, they probably would’ve drafted a back. The other thing it could mean is that the Ravens have faith in Chester Taylor and Musa Smith in the backfield.
As of right now, here are the official undrafted free agents, directly from www.BaltimoreRavens.com. “The offensive undrafted additions are: quarterback Brian Gaither (Western Carolina); wide receiver Robert Quiroga (Baylor); running backs Brandon Warfield (Utah) and BJ Sams; tight ends Nick Eller (Eastern Illinois) and Brett Pierce (Stanford); and linemen Monreko Crittenden (Auburn), Nick Newton (Washington), Eric Dumas (Maryland) and Lenny Vandermade (USC).
On defense, the Ravens signed: cornerbacks Marcus Winn (Alabama State), Zach Norton (Cincinnati) and Lance Frazier (West Virginia); linebackers Phil Smith (Miami, Ohio), Cols Colas (Virginia Tech), John Garrett (Baylor) and Brandon Barnes (Missouri); and linemen Douglas Goodwin (Boston College), Matt Zielinski (Duke) and Jesse Mitchell (Mississippi).
Baltimore also signed kicker Clinton Greathouse (Texas
Tech) and long snapper Don Muhlbach (Texas A&M).A”ll are a long
shot to make the team, so
Well that wraps up this draft. Overall, this appears to be a decent draft, considering the first rounder was essentially used on Kyle Boller. They definitely addressed receiver and got some good values. They still could’ve used some picks on a guard, corner, or safety, but it will turn out fine. I’m not going to grade this draft yet, as they haven’t even played a game, but they definitely have potential and Ozzie loves this group. I’ll be back in a month with the next update!