The NFL Draft is over. So much work, and then — poof — it’s over. Below are some thoughts about the Ravens and the overall draft. It’s my “top 10” of sorts.
1. The three-day format (first round on Thursday, second and third rounds on Friday and rounds 4-7 on Saturday) was scary when it first came out. Now I am over it and think three days is fine, but you either start the draft earlier on Thursday — say, at 7 p.m. — or move the event to a Friday-Sunday timeslot. Ending the first round after 11 p.m. on Thursday is too late.
2. The worst pick of Round One was Buffalo taking E.J. Manuel at No. 16. Taking Christian Ponder at No. 12 and Jake Locker at No. 8 was just as crazy a few years back. I get that this is a quarterback-driven league, but shouldn’t the driver know the rules of the road? Manuel may turn into a great NFL signal caller, but he was not a great college quarterback. He did not seem overly accurate or jump out at me during games I watched.
3. The best pick of Round One was the Pittsburgh Steelers taking linebacker Jarvis Jones. Rarely does a player scream he belongs on a certain team. Jones and Pittsburgh were made for each other.
4. The head scratcher of Round One was Dallas Cowboys taking Travis Frederick. I like the player, but he would have been there during Round Two, so why the rush? Maybe Dallas was so scared of taking a potential bust player that they went with a safe pick?
5. The teams that did well were the Texans, Steelers, 49ers, Jags, Cardinals and Titans.
6. The teams that still don’t get it were the Jets, Colts and Cowboys. I just did not understand what they tried to do.
7. The second-round gems were the Jaguars taking Jonathan Cyprien, the Ravens snagging Arthur Brown, the 49ers grabbing Cornellius Carradine and the Texans picking up D.J. Swearinger.
8. The late-round picks I loved were the Ravens taking Aaron Mellette, the Bengals grabbing Reid Fragel, the Raiders picking up David Bass and the Bears taking Marquess Wilson.
9. Mr. Irrelevant was Justice Cunningham, a tight end from South Carolina. Don’t be surprised if Justice is served, and soon. OK, that was terrible, but I like the player and the pick.
10. The Ravens ended up with a 10-man draft class. Below is an analysis of each player.
Round One, Pick 32 (32nd Overall)
Matt Elam (5-foot-10, 208 pounds), FS, Florida
This is a solid pick, but I’m not in love with Elam, and preferred Jonathan Cyprien. I am concerned that Elam will be injured often, but his productivity at Florida was excellent.
Round Two, Pick 24 (56th Overall) (From Seahawks)
Arthur Brown (6-foot, 241 pounds), ILB, Kansas State
I don’t know whether I have written enough about Brown. This is a great pick. He’s the best linebacker in the draft and should fit perfectly with the Ravens. Walterfootball.com said: “This is the best pick of the second round. Arthur Brown may have been chosen in the 20 range had he been completely healthy. He’ll heal up, and Ozzie Newsome will end up with another draft-day steal. Brown is as best of a successor to Ray Lewis as Baltimore could have obtained in the 2013 NFL Draft.”
Round Three, Pick 32 (94th Overall)
Brandon Williams (6-foot-1, 335 pounds), DT, Missouri Southern State
Williams is a dancing bear who is built like an ox. He’s got quick feet and is strong. I love this kid.
Round Four, Pick 32 (129th Overall)
John Simon (6-foot-1, 257 pounds), DE, Ohio State
The 2012 Big Ten defensive player of the year lasted until the fourth round. That is a cause for concern. Ohio State linebackers and defensive linemen have struggled at the NFL level.
Round Four, Pick 33 (130th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Kyle Juszczyk (6-foot-1, 248 pounds), FB, Harvard
This is one of the best picks in this year’s draft by any team. Juszczyk is the best blocking back in the draft. He has great hands and can play tight end, H-back or fullback.
Round Five, Pick 35 (168th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Ricky Wagner (6-foot-6, 308 pounds), OT, Wisconsin
Any time you can get a lineman from Wisconsin, it’s a solid pick. Wagner is a big kid, who should be a solid guard.
Round Six, Pick 32 (200th Overall)
Kapron Lewis-Moore (6-foot-4, 298 pounds), DE, Notre Dame
Lewis-Moore will be a redshirt rookie. He tore his ACL during the national championship game; otherwise he could have been a second- or third-round pick. He is a solid player.
Round Six, Pick 35 (203th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Ryan Jensen (6-foot-3, 317 pounds), OT, Colorado State-Pueblo
Jensen is strong and athletic and plays with a nasty streak. The Ravens will try him at center.
Round Seven, Pick 32 (238th Overall)
Aaron Mellette (6-foot-2, 217 pounds), WR, Elon
Mellette has good size and shields defenders on slants. He has reliable hands in traffic, is not afraid to go over the middle and can make defenders miss. His speed on long routes is the biggest concern, but he’s a solid receiver prospect.
Round Seven, Pick 41 (247th Overall) (Compensatory Selection)
Marc Anthony (5-foot-11, 196 pounds), CB, California
Anthony possesses the size of a starting outside NFL cornerback. He’s solid in coverage, but his makeup speed is a concern. He’s also a suspect, but willing tackler.
Ravens Undrafted Free Agent Invites
Jose Cheeseborough, CB, Florida International
Steve Demilio, OL, Gardner-Webb
Jordan Devey, OL, Memphis
Matt Furstenburg, TE, Maryland
Rogers Gaines, OT, Tennessee State
Omarius Hines, WR, Florida
Ray Holley, RB, Louisiana Tech
Murphy Holloway TE, Ole Miss
Perry Jones, RB, Virginia
Moe Lee, CB, Utah
Nate Stanley, QB, Southeastern Louisiana
Trent Steelman, QB, Army
Brynden Trawick, SS, Troy
Gary Walker, FS, Idaho