Extra Picks Are Often Misses
It was announced recently that the Ravens received the third highest compensatory pick in the 2017 draft. For the loss of Kelechi Osemele in free agency last year the Ravens were rewarded with the 99th overall pick-not bad. Third rounds picks can land quality players and the Ravens have a history of finding them as evidenced by the selection of future Ring of Honor Inductee Marshal Yanda.
Yanda has consistently been one of, if not the best interior linemen in football in recent years. Brandon Williams was a third-round pick as well, and the Ravens have made it clear he is a priority to retain this offseason. An argument could be made that he was the best player on last year’s team.
The Ravens are often praised for the way they work the compensatory system. They’ve received 48 picks since it was put in place in 1994. By far the most of any team, with successful franchises like the Packers and Patriots in the top five as well. It’s no coincidence that teams that consistently play postseason football are on that list, and if maneuvered properly it can serve as a big advantage come draft day. The draft can be somewhat of a crapshoot and the more picks you have the better chance of landing a playmaker.
But do the Ravens put too much stock into compensatory picks?
Every year when free agency rolls around and Baltimore is mentioned as a potential landing spot for a free agent, it comes with the caveat that it would count against the Ravens sacredly cherished compensatory pick formula. You can put it in the same category as the “right player, right price” and “best player available” mantras we’ve heard a thousand times.
But just as those ways of life at the Castle have been questioned in recent years as the Ravens are regularly on the outside looking in as of late during playoff time, maybe the approach toward the compensatory pick formula should be reevaluated as well. Maybe it’s another example of the NFL evolving and Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens being a year or two behind the curve.
The current roster desperately lacks any sign of true playmakers or someone who can change the complexion of a game with one play. Is there a chance that player may be on the roster if the Ravens didn’t value compensatory picks so highly? Maybe the Ravens would have found that elusive number one receiver or a consistent lockdown corner if they didn’t fear it would cause them to lose a day three pick come draft day.
While the compensatory picks have produced players like Rick Wagner, Kyle Juszczyk and Pernell McPhee, it has resulted in more players Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson, Lorenzo Taliaferro and David Hale. Besides, picks like Wagner, Juszczyk and McPhee are solid ones but they aren’t worth passing on playmakers in free agency. The Ravens have been a middle of the road team the last few years and they are cherishing picks that have a much better chance of producing more mediocre players than elite ones.
There’s no denying the value of compensatory picks. But the Ravens need to stop letting homegrown talent walk, and passing on playmakers in free agency in an effort to stockpile them.
The results have more often than not been underwhelming.