Grading The Ravens 2011 NFL Draft

2011 draft

The NFL Draft, thanks in large part to Baltimore’s own Mel Kiper, Jr., has become a cottage industry for the league.

We’ve all been mock drafted to death at this point Thursday night can’t get here soon enough. But when the draft concludes on Saturday, expect a tidal wave of draft grades to come rolling in beginning as early as Sunday.

Those grades, much like the mock drafts that preceded them and $2 will get you a regular coffee at Starbucks.

During the Ravens Draft Luncheon presser Ozzie Newsome was asked to assess the depth of the 2014 NFL Draft. In so many words Ozzie said that it is difficult to judge a draft today while adding, “From my perspective, three years later we’ll make a determination how strong this draft is.”

Spot on!

Aren’t the draft grades really a compilation rewarding the teams that picked the most highest rated players from the media’s own mock drafts? That’s a bit like creating music and then doing your own musical reviews.

Ozzie’s statement does call to mind the team’s 2011 draft. Given that it is “three years later” it’s time to properly assess the Ravens 2011 Draft Class based upon their performances to date and where they were selected in the draft.

Jimmy Smith ~ Pick 27

Jimmy has struggled to stay healthy with each of his first two seasons being marred by nagging injuries. 2013 was different and Smith’s play improved, particularly in the second half eventually grading out as the league’s 36th ranked corner according to Pro Football Focus. But the signs are there for Smith to become what the Ravens hoped he’d be. But he’s still not there and given the cost of the pick Smith hasn’t exemplified the typical first round success the Ravens usually have with defenders. GRADE: C

Torrey Smith ~ Pick 58

Torrey has had some big games for the Ravens, most notably against the Patriots and the Broncos in the Divisional Playoff during the 2012 season. The former Terp has performed well as a pro and with some route running polish has the potential to be a future Pro Bowler. He slipped a bit last year and at times can disappear in games but overall the Ravens have to be pleased with the pick. According to Pro Football Focus Smith has averaged out as the 53rd best WR in the NFL during his 3-year tenure. It’s interesting that some analysts compare the first WR likely to come off the board in 2014 to Torrey – none other than Sammy Watkins. GRADE: B

Jah Reid ~ Pick 85

Reid was lauded by many on draft day 2011 and most thought he would soon become a staple at right tackle for the Ravens. For a third round pick who has had only 7 starts despite being on a team that isn’t exactly deep along the offensive front, Reid has been a bust. In 2011 and 2013 combined he took just 65 snaps – in other words, one full game. GRADE: F

Tandon Doss ~ Pick 123

Despite many opportunities to prove otherwise, Doss just never showed the physical or mental toughness to compete in the NFL. He entered the league with a reputation for having strong, soft hands. He left the Ravens with the reputation of just being soft. GRADE: D

Chykie Brown ~ Pick 164

Brown has become a very solid contributor on special teams and at times has been serviceable as a corner. He’s a bit too stiff to be an effective slot nickel back and not fast enough to be on the outside. He’ll get his chance to assume Corey Graham’s role but the bet here is that a rookie or Asa Jackson will edge him out for such duties. GRADE: C+

Pernell McPhee ~ Pick 165

McPhee provided outstanding value as a rookie but hasn’t been as productive since, slowed in 2012 but a nagging knee injury and in 2013 he played out of position – or at least outside of his comfort zone. GRADE: B

Tyrod Taylor ~ Pick 180

We really haven’t had to see if Taylor is a decent NFL backup quarterback thanks to the Iron Man tendencies of Joe Flacco. Taylor is the polar opposite of Flacco and it would be difficult to imagine him effectively executing an offense geared around the Super Bowl XLVII MVP. Taylor is an excellent athlete who may have contributed in an offense designed by a more innovative play caller. Unfortunately for Taylor that’s not the case. GRADE: C

Anthony Allen ~ Pick 225

Allen was once described by special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, as a running back with a defensive mentality. That helped Allen earn a roster spot as a teamer but next to no time in the team’s offensive backfield. That said for the 225th overall pick, two productive seasons on teams, one of which helped Jacoby Jones become a Pro Bowl returner while contributing to a world championship, is worthy of a solid grade. GRADE: B

OVERALL GRADE FOR THE 2011 RAVENS DRAFT: C

What grade would you give the Ravens 2011 Draft Class?
A (4%)
B+ (21%)
B (41%)
C+ (22%)
C (9%)
Less than C (3%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.

13 Raves on “Grading The Ravens 2011 NFL Draft

  1. Joe on said:

    I think that’s a bit of a harsh grade on Jimmy. He was a late 1st round pick, dealt with a nagging injury in his first and second year, and was arguably the top CB for most of the 3rd year. I understand why we can’t grade him as a “home run”, but Jimmy Smith’s play in the SB season and last year should earn him a B at least, in my opinion.

  2. Frank on said:

    HOW DARE YOU INSULT JIMMY SMITH HAHAH he got a C really? out of the group hes the one thats most important to the ravens… NOT TORREY

    the only ravens jersey i ever bought was JIMMYS … best player to ever wear a RAVENS uniform

  3. TRUTH on said:

    Go back and look at that draft and the players left available to the Ravens in each round. We absolutely picked the best players remaining. You gave the Ravens a “C” for drafting Jimmie Smith?? As opposed to what? Drafting Mark Ingram? Gabe Carimi? Cameron Heyward? Derrok Sherod? Ras I-Dowling? Aaron Williams? Ryan Williams? Akeem Ayers? Bruce Carter? Jarvis Jenkins? Brooks Reed? Titus Young?? These were the players left on the board.

    We drafted Torrey Smith (A+). As opposed to what? Drafting Greg Little?? Brandon Harris? Randal Cobb?? Jonas Mouton? Daniel Thomas??

    We drafted Jah Reid, and he hasn’t panned out but take a look at the rest of the 3rd round and tell me who you would have rather had given our needs and position in the draft…no one.

    We made the best of what was available to us so your grades reflect jack sh*t…especially in hindsight. Did we miss a few diamonds? Yeah, but so did 31 other teams. Stick to what you do best Tony and write apologies.

    I grade this article a D-

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Ozzie said you can’t accurately assess a draft until 3 years later. And so I did.

      The grades (my opinion) are based upon results/performance given where a player is chosen in the draft. Maybe the draft was a weak one but that doesn’t change the individual contributions made by these players to date, hence the grades.

      Do you always get your panties in a bunch when the teacher doesn’t grade on a curve?

  4. Rxdoxx on said:

    Tony, you are entitled to your opinion, and I respect it, but I think you are too low.
    Tyrod got the confidence of the coaching staff to be the only back-up for Joe.
    That has got to be higher than a C …. a C if we had kept a Hanie, or a Painter, or a Bulger, but only a Tyrod? Gotta be at least a C+ (above average), I go with a B.

    I give Tandon an extra + because of the return duties, we did bring him back for that ability and he did OK
    He did field 27 punts and return one for TD … yes he didn’t give great shakes as a WR (26 receptions, 19 first downs with them), A D seems harsh, maybe reflecting disappointment (and I also an disappointed, but he did contribute… D+? ) A D would be for a Ramon Harewood type (IR 2 years)

    Jah Reid, Started 7 games, played in 35 is some return, who did he replace? This is a back-handed slap but names like Mattison, Hall, Reitz, we could make a case that he replaced Oneil Cousins :D
    We took a chance, he didn’t polish up but he deserves at least below average D not an F ….

    Looks like almost 90% of the voting is between C+ and B+

  5. cosimo on said:

    I’m only beef with the grades, is how is Cykie Brown a c+ & Jimmy Smith a C. Brown can’t get on the field except for injury.

  6. Brandon Smith on said:

    Jimmy Smith shutdown the best receiver in the league, even the best receiver in the league said he is becoming something special

  7. Brandon Smith on said:

    It took 3 years before Revis became Revis island, it took 3 years before chris 21 the ravens first shutdown corner to make a pro bowl, and injuries will slow anybody’s growth even if your jerry rice the goat greatest of all time

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