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  1. #1

    Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class



    I know this has been discussed before in separate threads, but I wanted to condense it into a single thread.

    We keep hearing all this talk about the 12 upcoming draft picks, and how this would be the year to be trading up as much as possible, so I wanted to elaborate on the structure of our roster. Hopefully this might give us a clearer viewpoint of how little room we have for our rookies.


    Let me start off by looking back at the 2012 roster. The following rookies made the team out of training camp:

    1) Upshaw
    2) Osemele
    3) Pierce
    4) Gradkowski
    5) Tyson
    6) Asa Jackson
    7) Christian Thompson
    8) Tucker
    9) Deonte Thompson

    10) There also is the situation of Tommy Streeter, who was IRed. There has been a constant and heated debate here as to whether a player on IR made the team, which I will steer clear of at the moment, however he needs to be accounted for.

    These rookies also appeared on the active roster at some point as well:

    11) Omar Brown
    12) Bobby Rainey
    13) Adrian Hamilton

    I bring this up because I see the first 8 guys on that list as core guys whose roster spot is not in danger. Thompson will miss the first four weeks, but is clearly not in danger of being left off the roster.


    Now let's look at the 2011 draft class. These are members of that draft class still on the team:

    1) J. Smith
    2) T. Smith
    3) Doss
    4) Reid
    5) McPhee
    6) C. Brown
    7) Tyrod Taylor
    8) L. Williams
    9) A. Allen
    10)J. Bynes
    11) Bryan Hall
    12) McAdoo

    Of those 2011 draft picks, I would speculate that all but Allen, Laquan, Hall, and McAdoo are locks to make the team. No chance Hall gets cut either. At worst, given 3 years of team control ahead, he would be IRed if there was no immediate spot for him.

    So we currently have 25 guys on the roster who originated from the past two draft classes. This is the predicament that we face. In a sense, by hitting so well on these past two drafts, it's really creating a numbers crunch.


    Right now, I would consider the following players as locks.

    QB(2)- Flacco, Taylor
    RB (3)- Pierce, Rice, Leach (assuming he doesn't cut, another hot button topic here)
    TE (2)- Pitta, Dickson
    WR (3)- Doss, Torrey, Jacoby
    OL (5)- Osemele, Gradkowski, Yanda, Oher, Reid
    ST (3)- Tucker, Cox, Koch
    DL (8)- Ngata, Cody, Tyson, McPhee, Art Jones, Spears, Canty, Dumervil
    LB (6) -Suggs, Upshaw, J. McClain, R. McClain, Bynes, McClellan
    CB (5)- Webb, J. Smith, Graham, C. Brown, A. Jackson
    S (3)- Huff, Ihedigbo, C. Thompson


    That's 40 players right there. Thompson starting on the suspended list makes 39. I'm sure there may be an injury or two along the line and I'm not 100% sure on Jameel's status yet, but let's just operate under the assumption that we have 14 open spots heading in to the season.

    I'm 95% sure that we are going to find a veteran O-lineman in free agency, whether it be McKinnie or someone else. I doubt we head into the season with just the five guys you see above plus Harewood and a bunch of rookies. So we are functionally talking about 13 roster spots, assuming no major season-ending injuries. I'm not going to assign a roster spot for a veteran WR yet, because I think that's less likely than a veteran O-lineman.

    We still have the current crop of players plus 12 draft picks competing for 13 spots. Also, when you assume that our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 5th are all but assured to make the team, that trims the total spots available down to 6.

    So out of this list, we currently looking at only at six roster spots available:

    Rainey
    Anthony Allen
    Damien Berry
    Deonte Thompson
    Laquan Williams
    David Reed
    Tommy Streeter
    Ramon Harewood
    Bryan Hall
    Nigel Carr
    Adrian Hamilton
    Michael McAdoo
    Jack Cornell
    Spencer Atkins
    Emanuel Cook
    Omar Brown
    Anthony Levine
    6th round pick (from SF)
    6th round pick
    6th round supp
    7th round
    7th round sup


    We are facing having to cut/IR more young talent than at any point in Ravens history as far as I can remember. This is why trading up appears more advantageous than ever before. In a draft that seems to reward trading down, I wonder if the Ravens break from recent trend and conventional draft logic in 2013.




  2. #2

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Trading out of the 1st and then using later picks to trade up a few picks to grab targeted guys in rounds 2-4 seems more likely due to the way the talent in this draft is set up (unless someone like Lane Johnson falls). Trading down from your first pick doesn't preclude you from trading up later.

    I don't think they come out with 12 picks, but I also don't think they'll select someone in the 1st.




  3. #3

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Quote Originally Posted by OhThePossibilities View Post
    Trading out of the 1st and then using later picks to trade up a few picks to grab targeted guys in rounds 2-4 seems more likely unless someone like Lane Johnson falls. Trading down from your first pick doesn't preclude you from trading up later.
    I think this is the best scenario. If we could somehow nab a 2/2/early3/3/early4/4(supplemental), plus our supplemental 5th, I'd be stoked.




  4. #4

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Excellent piece. I always like the roster breakdown stuff. We are going to see up to 90 guys on the roster before cutting all the way down to 53. There does not seem to be room for 12 picks to make the team and I always like when Oz trades up to target a need instead of just waiting for the best guy left on the board. Most of the action likely happens later on but I would love to see a move up for Austin or one of the left tackles.
    It has been 3 years since they have cut late round picks. I doubt that is just better scouting, they seem more active than anyone on draft days moving up and down.







  5. #5

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    I think when it's all said and done we will see it condensed down to about 7 or 8 picks, maybe one being a late round QB they know wont make the active roster year one but can be groomed on the practice squad. Later after the draft i can see a veteran backup Center added for insurance, i believe Dan Koppen is still out there. Depending on what they do in the draft i could see a backup NT added after the draft as well if they dont draft one. While there is still plenty of needs we really have some good depth in certain spots which will create real competition which is always a good thing.




  6. #6

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremiah W View Post
    It has been 3 years since they have cut late round picks.
    Great point. I think the last picks that we cut were Justin Harper and Cedric Peerman, right? It seems like, over the past 3 years you mention, IR has been used a little more liberally as a haven for overflow rookies (Harewood twice, Streeter)




  7. #7
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    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Good thread. Another thing that may have a factor is Flacco's got a big contract now. The NFL is becoming the 'haves' and the 'have nots' with very little middle class. Once you are using 1/3 of the cap on a handful of players, you have to fill the rest of the roster with cheap guys.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Lukedaniel :
    We are facing having to cut/IR more young talent than at any point in Ravens history as far as I can remember. This is why trading up appears more advantageous than ever before. In a draft that seems to reward trading down, I wonder if the Ravens break from recent trend and conventional draft logic in 2013.

    REPLY : I don't think so, because this draft IMO is not heavily weighted towards outstanding players. I believe choices between (and this is not scientific) late 1st round to mid-3rd round (maybe even later) aren't that far apart talent-wise. I think if Ozzie could snag a LT like Lane Johnson, if he fell into the 20's (which I doubt), then a trade up is possible, but costly. I feel Ozzie will trade down, then use his extra ammo to trade up in rounds 2 through 4 (and many feel the same way)... Bc




  9. #9
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    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    You know, I've thought this same thing about Ravens rosters in the recent past, but I've come around a bit. We, as Ravens fans, get worked up over the potential of the guys near the bottom of the roster. We want to get value out of our draft picks, we want to see undrafted gems surprise us and become valuable contributors, we want to assume that young guys who have repeatedly cracked the roster are going to stay there and show consistent improvement.

    But there has to be an element of realism there too. There are no superstars in the list of guys you have competing for those last six roster spots. They're just a bunch of guys. A lot of maybes. One or two might go on to a productive NFL career, here or somewhere else, but most of them are going to wash out. Good enough to compete, but not good enough to contribute. Their presence alone is not a reason to trade up in a draft class lacking elite talent.

    Might we trade up? Yeah, absolutely. I'd love to see us go up and grab Kenny Vaccaro with our first pick, if he gets past the late teens and we don't have to spend big for the move. Failing that, I'd want Ozzie to be ready to move up 3-5 spots in the first round to ensure us of getting the player we want most, rather than being stuck with a guy with more question marks. Most importantly I think we should be seriously considering moving up into the middle of the second round to get another prospect, and/or jumping up in the third round to snare a good player who's falling. There are about two dozen players who would be strong immediate contributors for the Ravens (that we can reasonably expect to take) and we should get two and maybe even three of them, before we start bargain hunting with our later picks.

    But the bottom of the roster is just that: the bottom of the roster. Taking in fewer rookies in order to preserve space for that list of players is NOT a better plan than bringing in a full set of a dozen new players and forcing them to compete. Yeah, we might lose some guys, even players we spent draft picks on. Not a big deal. Most late picks do wash out. It's not a significant loss to us... as long as we make smart decisions and stick with those players who showed talent and determination during the competition phase of deciding our roster.




  10. #10

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    David Reed is in pseudo-lock territory, imo (whether everyone likes it or not). I think after the deal he got, he will be on the team. The deal wasn't anything special, but it wasn't minimum and had some guaranteed money. Indicates to me he has a spot on ST almost sewn up.




  11. #11

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Great topic and thread.

    I personally am hoping that Laquan Williams stands out in training camp and gets a spot on the active roster. I want to see what the guy is made of.




  12. #12

    Re: Assessing our roster as it relates to our upcoming draft class

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabrosin View Post
    You know, I've thought this same thing about Ravens rosters in the recent past, but I've come around a bit. We, as Ravens fans, get worked up over the potential of the guys near the bottom of the roster. We want to get value out of our draft picks, we want to see undrafted gems surprise us and become valuable contributors, we want to assume that young guys who have repeatedly cracked the roster are going to stay there and show consistent improvement.

    But there has to be an element of realism there too. There are no superstars in the list of guys you have competing for those last six roster spots. They're just a bunch of guys. A lot of maybes. One or two might go on to a productive NFL career, here or somewhere else, but most of them are going to wash out. Good enough to compete, but not good enough to contribute. Their presence alone is not a reason to trade up in a draft class lacking elite talent.

    Might we trade up? Yeah, absolutely. I'd love to see us go up and grab Kenny Vaccaro with our first pick, if he gets past the late teens and we don't have to spend big for the move. Failing that, I'd want Ozzie to be ready to move up 3-5 spots in the first round to ensure us of getting the player we want most, rather than being stuck with a guy with more question marks. Most importantly I think we should be seriously considering moving up into the middle of the second round to get another prospect, and/or jumping up in the third round to snare a good player who's falling. There are about two dozen players who would be strong immediate contributors for the Ravens (that we can reasonably expect to take) and we should get two and maybe even three of them, before we start bargain hunting with our later picks.

    But the bottom of the roster is just that: the bottom of the roster. Taking in fewer rookies in order to preserve space for that list of players is NOT a better plan than bringing in a full set of a dozen new players and forcing them to compete. Yeah, we might lose some guys, even players we spent draft picks on. Not a big deal. Most late picks do wash out. It's not a significant loss to us... as long as we make smart decisions and stick with those players who showed talent and determination during the competition phase of deciding our roster.
    Good post.

    Let me clarify one thing. I think I was too vague. I'm not saying that I want to see us trade up into the first round. The only player worthy of that IMO is Lane Johnson, and I expect him off the board by pick 12. I was lobbying more for using some of those 5th/6th/7th picks (natural or the SF pick) as cannon fodder to trade up in the 2nd/3rd/4th round. I agree that pick #50 and pick #90 are comparable players this year, so I think our goal is to try to get 4-5 solid players in the top 120 and let our supplemental picks round out the last 3 rounds.

    Secondly, in the 2011 offseason, we saw Albert McClellan as a last-man-in type player to fill out a roster. Later that same year he was starting in Ray Lewis' spot on Thanksgiving night in front of 50 million viewers and playing quite well. Two years later he is a fairly valuable member of our team with team control through 2014.

    Josh Bynes was an afterthought last training camp. Nobody thought we'd need him to start for us, let alone play as well as he did.

    I see Deangelo Tyson and Bryan hall in that mold down the road. I don't think anyone would have noticed if we lost Tyson last year when he was competing with Kitchen and Jean Baptiste for that last spot on the roster (he was probably the 52nd guy to make the roster last year. Rainey was 53rd). Now we see him as a guy who we will probably count on for major snaps in 2014 and 2015, particularly if we can't bring Art Jones back.

    If our goal is to have 9-10 highly paid players, 6-8 cheap veterans in the Huff/Spears/Canty mold, and the rest be guys in their rookie contracts, that leaves 35-38 spots to be filled by rookies, so depth, even if it's bottom of the roster depth still is valuable. Our 53rd guy as rookie may very well be our 43rd guy as a 2nd year pro and our 35th guy as a 3rd year player. Our 35th player is a valued backup and occasional starter.




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