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  1. #1

    Average at best draft?

    Check out the nice piece Kris Jones did on Kelechi Osemele. The rookie really has had a nice season.

    I got a little hung up on the opening line from this piece, however.

    In a 2012 draft class that is shaping up to be average at best for the Ravens...
    That got me to think about how average or not this draft class has been for the Ravens. While there are no big stars probably -- not in a class that had Luck, RG3, Wilson, for instance, it was maybe better than average. At least compared to the last ten Ravens drafts when I looked at them.

    Below I subjectively list the best three picks in each draft (and the round selected) I also noted anytime a pick from the first three rounds never really panned out at all -- the busts -- or the picks from rounds 4 and on who overachieved and became regular contributors in the league. Finally, I tried to note how many picks "stuck" in the league long enough to be considered a minimally productive pick/versus the guys who really never panned out from each class.

    Where does 2012's class fall? Too early to say for sure, but surely better than the god-awful 2004 and 2005 classes (the Phil Savage era) where I couldn't even bring myself to list a top three.

    While there will probably be no stars, I'm not sure how many classes can match the top three as being guys who could become solid role players for a long time, at the very least, and maybe more.

    Ed Reed 1st
    Dave Zastudil 4th
    Chester Taylor 6th
    Bust: None
    Sleeper: Taylor
    Sticks: 5/10

    Terrell Suggs 1st
    Jarret Johnson 4th
    Aubrayo Franklin 5th
    Bust: Kyle Boller
    Sleeper: Johnson, Ovie Mughelli, Franklin
    Sticks: 6/10

    Dwan Edwards 2nd
    Bust: Devard Darling
    Sleeper: None
    Sticks: 1/7

    Mark Clayton 1st
    Jason Brown 4th
    Bust: Dan Cody, Adam Terry
    Sleeper: Brown
    Sticks: 4/7

    Haloti Ngata 1st
    Dawan Landry 5th
    Sam Koch 6th
    Bust: David Pittman
    Sleeper: Landry, Koch
    Sticks: 8/10

    Ben Grubbs 1st
    Marshal Yanda 3rd
    Le'Ron McClain 4th
    Bust: Yamon Figurs
    Sleeper: McClain
    Sticks: 6/8

    Joe Flacco 1st
    Ray Rice 2nd
    Tom Zbikowski 3rd
    Bust: Tavares Gooden, Oniel Cousins
    Sleeper: None
    Sticks 4/10

    Michael Oher 1st
    Paul Kruger 2nd
    Lardarius Webb 3rd
    Bust: None
    Sleeper: None

    Ed Dickson 3rd
    Dennis Pitta 4th
    Arthur Jones 5th
    Bust: Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody
    Sleeper: Jones
    Sticks 6/7

    Torrey Smith 2nd
    Jah Reid 3rd
    Pernell McPhee 5th
    Bust: Jimmy Smith
    Sleeper: McPhee
    Sticks: 8/8

    Courtney Upshaw 2nd
    Kelechi Osemele 2nd
    Bernard Pierce 3rd
    Bust: None
    Sleeper: DeAngelo Tyson, 7th
    Sticks: 7/8

    It's very subjective. You may weigh a class with one star but then a bunch of marginal picks (eg, 2002) higher than I do.

    Or, unlike me, you may downgrade a draft with a clear bust, even though they still salvaged a handful of really good picks from that same class (eg, 2003)

    When all is said in done, where do you rank 2012 among these ten drafts?

    Bear in mind, I think they only held a top-15 pick three times in these ten drafts (the drafts they selected Suggs, Ngata, and Flacco -- in 2008 they sent the 8th pick to the Jags, and then traded back up from the bottom of the first round to take Flacco 18th.) I think it's hard to expect a star from drafts when you aren't picking in the top 15.

  2. #2

    Re: Average at best draft?

    I think the front end of the draft was pretty good, especially based on where they were drafting. The back end can't be judged til time allows the others to develop. I think Tyson in the 7th was a good value pick and will be a rotation guy. Plus, Tucker wasnt drafted but adds extreme value to the rookie class.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Stevensville, MD

    Re: Average at best draft?

    I think you're labeling Smith a bust too early. Jury is still out on him, IMO.
    Never get in a fight with a pig; you both get muddy, and the pig likes it...

  4. #4

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Quote Originally Posted by esmd View Post
    I think you're labeling Smith a bust too early. Jury is still out on him, IMO.
    Totally agree.

  5. #5

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Upshaw has kinda quietly come on as the season has progressed IMHO.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Quote Originally Posted by saintmatthew View Post
    Upshaw has kinda quietly come on as the season has progressed IMHO.
    Yes, agreed. And I think his development was hampered some by the injury he suffered, I believe in the preseason.
    That kept him off the field where he needed the reps, which is of course, the foundation for learning so much quickly.
    I believe he is getting better every week and he is a big body out there.
    He tackles with force and may in the near future develop some moves (learning from Suggs) to get to the quarterback more often and begin separating runners from the ball. I see nothing but upside.

  7. #7

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Yeah, I debated whether to include Jimmy Smith as a bust, Cody too for that matter. But for our purposes of comparing drafts -- when you can't really say for sure where the recent drafts will end up -- i wanted to remind everyone that their first round pick from two years ago has really not even been on the field much over the course of two seasons and it's starting to feel like a Dan Cody, David Pittman, Yamon Figures, Sergio Kindle situation...only worse considering most of those are second rounders and Smith was a first round pick.

    There are a bunch of second round players who we wanted to call a bust for at least two or three seasons -- Paul Kruger, Dwan Edwards, Anthony Weaver, Chris Chester -- and they eventually shook off the bust label, albeit most of them only by virtue of getting a contract elsewhere just as they are finally contributing.

    I really hope Cody (and Smth) follows this pattern of eventually justifying the pick, and not the pattern of second and third rounders like Adam Terry, DeRon Jenkins, Patrick Johnson, David Pittman and Yamon Figurs, Tavares Gooden, and Devard Darling.

  8. #8

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Quote Originally Posted by saintmatthew View Post
    Upshaw has kinda quietly come on as the season has progressed IMHO.
    He's definitely the kind of guy I would expect to make the jump to stardom in his 2nd season.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Blog Entries

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Quote Originally Posted by esmd View Post
    I think you're labeling Smith a bust too early. Jury is still out on him, IMO.
    Cody as well.

  10. #10

    Re: Average at best draft?

    I could quibble with a few of those spots, Shas, but that's a helpful way to think about the drafts we've had. Which is all you intended it to be.

    And Osemele and Upshaw have both been fine; either or both may still emerge as stars at their positions, which isn't bad for 2d round picks.

    His definitions and arguments were so clear in his own mind that he was unable to understand how any reasonable person could honestly differ with him.

  11. #11

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Hey guys, it's Kris Jones. I'm a little swamped at the moment but plan on hanging out on the message board a lot more during the offseason.

    As far as my comment about a draft that was "average at best", I was actually planning on doing a more drawn out post at the end of the regular season but I'll give a preview into my thoughts as of now.

    First, the draft wasn't something that a lot of the media nor front office people seemed was one of their best. I can't remember exactly which front office member it was but they said a lot of the guys they were trying to get were taking just picks before them (any fantasy football team owner knows the feeling).

    As far as the 2012 draft, there are some issues that I had with it and I'll do a preview of it here and a more drawn out post next week after the game.

    Courtney Upshaw-
    Great value pick and he's coming into his own. I don't have a problem with them taking him, especially at the 34th pick and he's a guy who will only get better.

    Kelechi Osemele-
    Another good pick, especially because of the value. He's played well at tackle, even after admitting that he'd rather be at guard. He's faced better competition and for the most part done a pretty stand up job at handling it. Out of the entire draft, he's my favorite pick.

    Bernard Pierce-
    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.

    Christian Thompson-
    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.

    Gino Gradkowski-
    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?

    Asa Jackson-
    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.

    Tommy Streeter-
    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.

    DeAngelo Tyson-
    Great value at the end of the draft. During the preseason and in limited action this year, he's showed promise. He's probably another year or two away from being a decent contributor but I like what I've seen out of him better than Terrance Cody on the defensive line. A solid seventh round pick.

    Justin Tucker (undrafted)-
    Definitely the gem of the free agent class. Tucker has the talent and confidence to be around here for quite some time. His addition doesn't make me feel better about the questionable moves the team made in between rounds 3-6.

    Hope this explanation helps, I've watched these rookies very close from their first day in camp and it's my honest assessment. With the start of the regular season, all anyone can really go off of is what has happened with Upshaw, Osemele and Pierce as they've been the only ones to see significant playing time.

    -Kris (I look forward to hanging around more in the offseason)
    Last edited by Goob24x7; 12-27-2012 at 04:33 PM. Reason: bolding

  12. #12

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Thanks, Kris. I don't disagree with your assessment. I had a reaction to "average at best" not in that I disagreed, per se, more that was perplexed -- I could see the argument that it was fairly weak in that no one outside of Baltimore will look at it and think, "wow,' but I could also see the argument that it was one of the strongest from a next-man-up/budget-management point of view.

    That's what made me wanbt to sort of think out loud with my post to figure out where ended up on the question. I guess I haven't really decided still. I think I'd call it average to above average, but not great. Probably a "B" but not a "C" at best kind of draft.

    For those who look for grabbing a real impact player, and that's the way they judge good drafts, I can see how you'd call it average. Upshaw seems like a pretty solid replacement for Jarret Johnson, but he isn't an elite pass rusher, which you'd probably want out of your first pick. Osemele is a solid replacement for Grubbs. And Pierce steps in to fill a role that guys like McGahee and Ricky Williams moved on from. They saved a bunch of money without really losing a lot in terms of production with those three picks. Not sexy, but a pretty good outcome.

    If it means being able to spend money elsewhere to keep big hitters like Rice and Flacco and Ngata in the fold, that's not bad. As I said, budget management.

    In the 2012 draft I don't see even a Lardarius Webb or Paul Kruger or Torrey Smith type player in terms of adding a guy who can impact a game all on his own. So it's hard to call it a great draft from that perspective. In fact, Justin Tucker may be the biggest impact guy, and he wasn't even a draft pick.

    On the other hand, It's hard to find a draft that beats this one in terms of solid role players that they got out of their first three picks -- players who I suspect will all play for a number of years. 2009 also saw them pick up three players who filled roles in Oher, Kruger and Webb -- and two of those players are impact players, which makes 2009 better probably.

    2012 is probably like getting three Michael Ohers. Oher is a disappointment for those who think the first round pick should be a Ring of Honor type player. But if he was taken in the third round that would have been a damn good pick.

    Getting three Michael Oher-level players (or Ben Grubbs) from two seconds and a third isn't bad. Solid, not spectacular.
    Last edited by Shas; 12-27-2012 at 05:24 PM.


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