The release of Sergio Kindle closes the book on an unsuccessful draft pick.
Whether or not he can be resigned to the practice squad, the Ravens have exposed him to the remainder of the league, so any residual play value he may have can’t really be ascribed to the fact the Ravens drafted him.
I thought it would be fun to go back through the Ravens draft history and rank the 2nd-round selections. In each case, I’ve given the year drafted and overall number of the selection along with some brief commentary. In the case of the active players, I am ascribing some future play value.
Of significant importance to these rankings is my belief that what a player accomplishes beyond the end of the period for which he may be tendered without competition should be significantly discounted. For players like Ogden, Reed, and Lewis, a deep discounting of their enormous career value each produced after 5 seasons still is a mess of value, but the Ravens had to compete with other teams and pay a market price for those players.
Here are the rankings as I have them:
1. Ray Rice 2008 (55): A+. Ray has carried the offense at times and has been one of the NFL’s best backs. He’s already certain to make the Ravens’ Ring of Honor given the team’s success in his time here. Like a number of backs who played as well in their first 4 seasons, he’ll need to avoid injuries to make it to Canton.
2. Jamie Sharper 1997 (34): A. He was a significant contributor to the 2000 defense, and in particular the run-yardage record, with 5 forced fumbles as a 2-down linebacker. In his final season with the Ravens he had 6 sacks and 11 PDs. He played in all 80 games of his tenure, starting 79. In one of the classiest moves I’ve seen, he put a full-page ad in the Sun thanking the fans when he was selected by the Texans in the expansion draft.
3. Anthony Weaver 2002 (52): B+. Weaver was a solid contributor for 4 seasons as a 3-4 end. He started all 16 games as a rookie after the salary cap purge of 2002 with fellow rookies Ed Reed, Will Demps, and Chad Williams along with the first significant playing time for Gary Baxter, Marques Douglas, and Kelly Gregg.
4. Torrey Smith 2011 (58): B+. At this writing, he’s just 22 regular-season games into his NFL career, but he’s perhaps the game’s best deep threat with a career 17.4 yards per catch average which does not include the 3 longest pass interference penalties drawn in the NFL last season (50, 50, and 60 yards). His drop rate has improved in his second season and he has a chance to finish higher on this list.
5. Courtney Upshaw 2012 (35): B. Those who say “it’s too early to tell” with regard to young football players are those who fuel the backward looking nature of Pro Bowl selections. In 6 NFL games, Upshaw has played the edge well under some difficult circumstances. If this becomes the first Raven defense ever to allow 4.0 or more YPC, he might be cited as part of the problem, but the Ravens issues have been on the inside. To date, Upshaw has provided only minimal value as a pass rusher, but as the team returns to critical mass as a pass rushing unit, I believe his contributions will increase.
6. Kelechi Osemele 2012 (60): B-. Osemele has ridden a roller coaster in 6 career games, but I’m convinced of 2 things; he’s a good run blocker and if he can’t improve his pass blocking, he’ll be moved to LG next season where that will be less of an issue. In developing these rankings to include a player with 6 NFL games, I’m asking myself whether I’d rather have 3 years and 10 games more from Kelechi with the risks he poses now or be guaranteed Chris Chester’s production from the 7th game of 2007 through the end of his Ravens’ career in 2010.
7. Kim Herring 1997 (58): C+. He played 54 games with the Ravens, including 43 starts. He had his first career interception (1 of 3 in his Ravens’ career) vs. Mark Brunell in the Ravens 39-36 comeback in week 2 of the 2000 season that legitimized the team as a Super Bowl contender. He had the highest percentage of defensive snaps played for the 2000 team in the regular season (99%, missed only 9 snaps), but he’s primarily remembered as the only starter that did not return for 2001.
8. Gary Baxter 2001 (62): C+. Drafted originally to play safety, Baxter played corner opposite Chris McAlister for 3 seasons and started 46 of 48 games after his rookie season. He had 42 PDs and 5 interceptions in his career with the Ravens.
9. Paul Kruger 2009 (57): C. This is the last season for which the Ravens have exclusive rights to Kruger, so the valuation of his draft is coming to a close. He’s been moved around a bit and been a good situational pass rusher, but he simply was not on the field enough in his first 2 seasons.
10. Chris Chester 2006 (56): C. He was a solid and underrated run blocker in his time for the Ravens, but he gave a lot of ground in pass protection which left him waiting for playing time behind Grubbs and Yanda. When he played, he was solid, but he might have been more effective at center.
11. Terrence Cody 2010 (57): C-. Cody is one who still has a chance to improve his standing, but he needs to step up now as a player who commands double-teams regularly. He’s been much too easy to move or pancake to date in the run game. As a pass rusher his next QH or sack will be his first.
12. Adam Terry 2005 (64): D+. The 2008 Ravens used Terry often as a 6th lineman and he also started 7 games to help the Ravens establish a strong running game and make the playoffs after the miserable 2007 season. He played 46 career games for the Ravens which included 18 starts. He had the size to play LT effectively, but by the time Ogden retired, the Ravens had Jared Gaither ready.
13. Dwan Edwards 2004 (51): D. Dwan Edwards was an enigma in his time in Baltimore. For his first 5 seasons, he played poorly and infrequently. In 2009 he signed a 1-year deal and made a solid contribution as a 2-down lineman. He’s played with Buffalo since 2010 and never as well as he did in 2009.
14. Patrick Johnson 1998 (42): D. In 45 career games with the Ravens he caught just 60 passes. He averaged 18.1 yards per catch in 1999, but his highlight was his game winning 2-yard TD catch versus the Titans in the 2000 regular season win at Tennessee.
15. Deron Jenkins 1996 (55): F. The Ravens traded their 3rd, 4th, and 7th round selections to acquire the 55th pick and take Deron, who proved to be a replacement –level cornerback.
16. Dan Cody 2005 (53): F. Cody was by far the most talented of the bottom 6, but his body betrayed him. For one brief moment in 2006, he appeared to be a ballplayer with 14 outstanding snaps against the Falcons in the Ravens’ 24-10 win in Baltimore. The Falcons lost 22 yards on those 14 plays which makes Dan’s career average (-1.6 YPPA) the lowest of any Raven with 10+ snaps by approximately 4 yards per play. Cody played 3 positions, rushed effectively, was used twice in coverage and assisted on 1 tackle. Remember the Ravens 9-sack annihilation of the Steelers in 2006? Well so does Cody. He was hurt on his first play (negated by penalty) and after a succession of injuries, he would never play another NFL snap.
17. Sergio Kindle 2010 (43): F. I recall Harbaugh and Newsome on stage together explaining the combine interview with Kindle. He was asked to explain the accident while texting and John said he wasn’t shy about diagramming the situation and the explanation was “innocent”. He was then asked why he left the scene of the accident and explained that he never knew anyone who had an accident in this manner, so he didn’t know it was the wrong thing to do. His head injury was tragic, but I don’t know another young man personally who ever fell down steps when it wasn’t at least partially his fault. Whether preseason or in his 24 regular-season NFL snaps, Kindle never demonstrated the pass-rush ability for which he was drafted.