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.”
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