Re: Average at best draft?
I think Bernard is a great player, will become an even better player and an is a nice guy in person as well. I absolutely hated the fact that the Ravens took a running back in the third round, and that they gave up a fifth round pick to move up to get him as well. I know Pierce has a ton of upside and is a change of pace for Rice but a veteran free-agent could have filled the same role. I've frankly seen more of Pierce than I'd like to because Rice needs his touches and he clearly hasn't gotten them consistently this year.
So yes, Pierce is a great value and a good player. But, this team had plenty of other issues they needed to address in the third round before not only their pick in that round but giving up a fifth round as well.
He has a lot of upside and played at a smaller school due to off the field issues but watching him in training camp every day, he just lost me. He wasn't someone who stood out and wasn't someone who did anything wrong. Before he was placed on IR, he was just around as a special teams player and once again, was nothing extra special.
I'm not the only person who felt this way about him as well. It'll be more interesting to see what he can do next season with Reed probably not returning. I love the addition of James Ihedigbo and think he's someone to be considered at safety, even though he's primarily played at strong safety while replacing Bernard Pollard who has been dealing with a rib issue.
Possibly the most head scratching pick of the draft. He's extremely undersized (listed at 6'3 300lbs) but seems smaller than that. I could accept drafting a smaller guy like this had he played at a big time school and proved that he can handle bigger defensive lineman but that's not the case. The only film coaches are seeing is from him playing at Delaware and I could care less what he does against someone from Towson versus seeing a small guy being able to block someone from LSU or Alabama.
Matt Birk hasn't had his greatest season and has essentially shrunk Joe Flacco's pocket because he's constantly pushed backwards. For as bad as Birk has played this season, don't you think they would have eventually put Gradkowski in if he was able to play?
Once again, an undersized player but I like Jackson. He won me over when I saw a 6' guy leaping into the air and beating Tommy Streeter 6'8" multiple times to break up a pass in training camp. He was only a thought to sniff the field when Lardarius Webb went out with his ACL injury as the plan was to use him and Corey Graham in the slot. When he did have his time, he didn't stick around long as is currently suspended for violating the performance enhancing drug policy.
Not the best move.
Waste.Waste.Waste. This guy is a project but can't catch a ball to save his life. Throughout training camp, I watched him closely each day and he was allowing Jackson as I previously mentioned to out-leap him. He's got the ideal body of a prototypical red zone threat but you have to have the effort and heart to go along with it. He is raw in his route running and just didn't show much during practice or the games for that matter in training camp/preseason.
The Ravens only placed him on IR because of his potential but there was no way that even if he was "healthy" he was on the bubble to even be placed on the practice squad where he could be claimed by another team. Streeter could possibly turn into something but I'd only give it a 9% chance based off of what I saw through watching him at training camp each day.
This is really interesting. I don't remember reading anything good, bad or indifferent about Christian Thompson so this perspective is interesting, though disheartening, to read.
I also was disappointed on draft night when the Ravens had traded up for a Running Back who wasn't really touted as a game-breaker. I wonder how much of that decision was driven by concern about getting Ray Rice locked up to a long-term deal. The Ravens also traded up in the 3rd round for Jah Reid in 2011, which to this point is not looking like a great move.