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  1. #1
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    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.

    2002
    Ed Reed 1st
    Dave Zastudil 4th
    Chester Taylor 6th
    Bust: None
    Sleeper: Taylor
    Sticks: 5/10

    2003
    Terrell Suggs 1st
    Jarret Johnson 4th
    Aubrayo Franklin 5th
    Bust: Kyle Boller
    Sleeper: Johnson, Ovie Mughelli, Franklin
    Sticks: 6/10

    2004
    Dwan Edwards 2nd
    n/a
    n/a
    Bust: Devard Darling
    Sleeper: None
    Sticks: 1/7

    2005
    Mark Clayton 1st
    Jason Brown 4th
    n/a
    Bust: Dan Cody, Adam Terry
    Sleeper: Brown
    Sticks: 4/7

    2006
    Haloti Ngata 1st
    Dawan Landry 5th
    Sam Koch 6th
    Bust: David Pittman
    Sleeper: Landry, Koch
    Sticks: 8/10

    2007
    Ben Grubbs 1st
    Marshal Yanda 3rd
    Le'Ron McClain 4th
    Bust: Yamon Figurs
    Sleeper: McClain
    Sticks: 6/8

    2008
    Joe Flacco 1st
    Ray Rice 2nd
    Tom Zbikowski 3rd
    Bust: Tavares Gooden, Oniel Cousins
    Sleeper: None
    Sticks 4/10

    2009
    Michael Oher 1st
    Paul Kruger 2nd
    Lardarius Webb 3rd
    Bust: None
    Sleeper: None

    2010
    Ed Dickson 3rd
    Dennis Pitta 4th
    Arthur Jones 5th
    Bust: Sergio Kindle, Terrence Cody
    Sleeper: Jones
    Sticks 6/7

    2011
    Torrey Smith 2nd
    Jah Reid 3rd
    Pernell McPhee 5th
    Bust: Jimmy Smith
    Sleeper: McPhee
    Sticks: 8/8

    2012
    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
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    Re: Average at best draft?

    Great thread Shas.

    I actually think this may be the BEST draft that the ravens have had since 2008. KO is likely to be our starting RT for years to come, and could shift over to guard and excel there too. It would not surprise me if KO ended up as a pro bowl OT or OG down the line. Upshaw looks to be at the very least Jarrett Johnson, and at the very best Lamar Woodley. Not bad at all with the first two picks.

    Then you have a stud in Bernard Pierce in the 3rd round, who IMO could start on a lot of teams in the NFL as it is. 4th round picks in developmental players Gino and Thompson are yet to the be determined same for Asa Jackson.




  4. #4
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    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...





  5. #5

    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.




  6. #6
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    Re: Average at best draft?

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




  7. #7
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    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.




  8. #8
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    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.




  9. #9
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    Re: Average at best draft?

    Cody I'm fine with. And Smith is definitely borderline. I think the rest of this year, and more to the fact, next season, will be the defining moment for his NFL future.
    Never get in a fight with a pig; you both get muddy, and the pig likes it...





  10. #10
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    Re: Average at best draft?

    To some degree you have to adjust for what they were working with each year. It's quite a handicap to start out with the 29th pick in each round and while 2008 yielded 2 foundational starters, the rest of the picks are fairly disappointing considering we started with the 8th pick in every round and had bonus picks after trading down with Jacksonville. In 2010 the FO started off without 3rd and 4th round picks because of the Anquan Boldin trade which probably nudged them to make the Tebow trade.

    That said, if Gradkowski develops into a starting Center, the trade down from 29 to 35 while still picking up Upshaw will go down as one of Ozzie's finest draft day moves. It's also way too early to make a judgment on Asa Jackson or Christian Thompson which could significantly nudge 2012 up the ranks.




  11. #11
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    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.




  12. #12

    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.
    Festivus

    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.




  13. #13
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    Re: Average at best draft?

    Quote Originally Posted by chicagoravensfan View Post
    To some degree you have to adjust for what they were working with each year. It's quite a handicap to start out with the 29th pick in each round
    Yeah, I wanted everyone to keep in mind that Ngata and Suggs and Flacco all were obtained because they were in a better slot. Likewise, I wanted to remind people about some of the "sleeper" value they were able to get in some later rounds because, like picking later in each round, is an indicator of overachieving in scouting.

    Quote Originally Posted by chicagoravensfan View Post
    and while 2008 yielded 2 foundational starters, the rest of the picks are fairly disappointing considering we started with the 8th pick in every round and had bonus picks after trading down with Jacksonville.
    That's why it's hard to rate some of these classes. Flacco and Rice are impact players. Do they count more heavily than a "solid B" class with a Grubbs/Yanda/McClain? Also, do you credit them for UDFA Jameel McClain in 2008?

    How much better is 2002, Ed Reed's class, when you consider that Chester Taylor came in the sixth and Will Demps and Bart Scott were UDFA's?


    Quote Originally Posted by chicagoravensfan View Post
    That said, if Gradkowski develops into a starting Center, the trade down from 29 to 35 while still picking up Upshaw will go down as one of Ozzie's finest draft day moves. It's also way too early to make a judgment on Asa Jackson or Christian Thompson which could significantly nudge 2012 up the ranks.
    Correct. I'm actually higher on the UDFAs from this class than the back end of the draft itself. Justin Tucker, Bobby Rainey, and Deonte Thompson are interesting players to say the least.




  14. #14

    Re: Average at best draft?

    Maybe Kris Jones meant average for what the Ravens typically get out of a draft, since they typically get about 2 or 3 starters, which is what they've gotten so far from the 2012 class.




  15. #15

    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




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