Baltimore is a team that has contended for the top spot in the AFC over the course of the last couple of seasons, however, they have been unable to jump that proverbial hurdle to the conferences elite. Instead, that list is still limited to the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts.
The Ravens do have the talent, both inexperienced and veteran, they just need to put it all together. Baltimore did have a few different priorities going into the draft, and I believe addressed them pretty darn well; especially where they were picking.
1st Round, 27th Pick: CB- Jimmy Smith Colorado
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 30 2010 Stats: 68 Tackles, 0 INT
Analysis: Baltimore's secondary just didn't get it done last season, they were 21st in the NFL; a far cry from a few seasons before. It was obvious that they needed to upgrade at this position and Jimmy Smith fell into their laps. But, is this a good thing?
We studied Smith a lot here at Niners Nation because of the 49ers need for a corner. There were mixed results in regards to what fans thought. Some people questioned his production in college, just three interceptions in four seasons, others questioned whether or not his game would translate to the NFL.
I have a mixed opinion of Jimmy Smith, but think it ended up being a necessary selection for the Baltimore Ravens. He adds a physical presence to the Ravens defensive backfield. Smith plays good in press coverage, does a great job jamming receivers at the line and is intimidating in one on one coverage. His mentality fits exactly what the Ravens are trying to build.
Can be beat on double moves and is awkward when turning his hips, which needs to be fixed in order to be successful at the next level. Grade: B+
2nd Round, 58th Pick: WR- Torrey Smith Maryland
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 38 2010 Stats: 67 Receptions, 1055 Yards, 12 TD
Analysis: Derek Mason isn't getting any younger and Anquan Boldin failed to live up to the bounty that the Ravens gave up for him last off-season. In drafting Torrey Smith, Baltimore acquired another weapon for the up and coming Joe Flacco.
Smith should have been a 1st round pick. At least, he should have gone ahead of Jonathan Baldwin. This means that Baltimore got a steal in the late 2nd round. Smith has an elite combination of speed and size that makes him incredibly difficult to cover on the outside. He is a well seasoned player that can come in immediately and produce.
One of the only knocks on Smith is that he has small hands and tends to look up field before making the catch, allowing the ball into his body. Those are things that can be fixed with the right coaching and signs of a young player. Future #1 receiver in my opinion Grade: A
3rd Round, 85th Pick: OT- Jah Reid Central Florida
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 113
Analysis: Don't let the fact that Baltimore has two bookend tackles fool you, Jared Gaither isn't going to be the long term answer opposite Michael Oher, so Baltimore needed to get a player to replace him in the future. Gaither won't be the long term answer because no team can afford to pay two tackles franchise type money, and Oher will be receiving that pay day in the near future. This enables Baltimore to find a replacement for Gaither, while not spending a lot of money on him
Playing a Central Florida may have hurt Red's draft stock because what I have read and see on tape is that he can be a dominating player. In some of those videos I noticed him absolute destroy opposing defenders at the point of contact and throw them back a couple yards in the block succession. The other reason that Reid fell to the 3rd round was because he is strictly a right tackle prospect; which is perfect for Baltimore. Grade: A
4th Round, 123rd Pick: WR- Tandon Doss Indiana
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 109 2010 Stats: 63 Receptions, 706 Yards, 6 TD
Analysis: Two receivers with their first four picks? Yeah, I question that too. However, Doss is an intriguing prospect that brings something different than Smith.
He finds holes in safety and zone coverage, which means that Doss will play well in the slot. Another aspect of his game is that Doss can be an electrifying punt returner, which Baltimore was said to be looking for. They got value in the 4th round. Need? Not so much Grade: B
5th Round, 164th Pick: CB- Chykie Brown Texas
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 146 2010 Stats: 16 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble
Analysis: Injury concerns probably caused Brown's stock to drop a great deal. He missed parts of the last three seasons, and that could be an issue moving forward. Additionally, the other Brown (Curtis Brown), was the Longhorns #1 corner, which meant we has covering the other teams top receiver.
Baltimore needed more than 1 corner in this draft, and got value in Brown with a late 5th round selection. Despite the injury concerns, Brown has all the physical skills and field awareness to be a real good corner in the NFL for Baltimore. Grade: A
5th Round, 165th Pick: DE- Pernell McPhee Mississippi State
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 107 2010 Stats: 32 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
Analysis: Many of you questioned why i had McPhee falling to the 49ers in the 6th round on my final draft, well he did end up falling to the late 5th round. I do like him a lot as a 3-4 defensive end; especially in Baltimore's scheme. McPhee never really acquired many sacks in college, instead he was a space eater.
Seven of the Ravens ten defensive linemen weigh over 300 pounds, so it makes sense for them to add someone who is a little bit leaner. McPhee has the ability to get off blocks well and into the offensive backfield to go after running backs, plus he can put pressure on the QB occasionally, something that Baltimore does stress from its defensive end position to an extent. Grade: A
6th Round, 180th Pick: QB- Tyrod Taylor Virginia Tech
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 153 2010 Stats: 2743 Pass Yards, 659 Rush Yards, 29 Total TD, 5 INT
Analysis: Huge upside? Maybe. A project? Yes. Taylor is a physically gifted player that can add a lot to an offense. With Joe Flacco behind center, the Ravens were just looking for a player that could serve as a back up and maybe come in on wild cat formations; Taylor is that man.
Some people have drawn comparisons to Troy Smith, but I think that is just crazy. Taylor has much more talent, and is more accurate than Smith; his upside is just so much better at this point. If you are looking for a project QB that could turn into something in the late rounds, Taylor is a perfect fit. Grade: A
7th Round, 225th Pick: RB- Anthony Allen Georgia Tech
CBS Sports Line Ranking: 260 2010 Stats: 1366 Yards, 5.5 AVG, 7 TD
Analysis; This is why Baltimore is so good at drafting in the mid-late rounds. Anthony Allen was an extremely productive player at Georgia Tech throughout his career after transferring from Louisville, doing everything asked of him.
Allen is limited in his physical abilities and doesn't have great vision, he will not break a lot of tackles and isn't consistent in terms of finding blockers in the open field. That said, he can be a solid 3rd down back behind Ray Rice in Baltimore's offense. Grade: A
Synopsis: Another really draft class for the Baltimore Ravens, Ozzie Newsome really knows what he is doing. They found value and need with nearly every pick; something that is incredibly hard to do in the draft. Although I am not completely sure that Jimmy Smith will be a real good NFL corner, it was a pick that Baltimore had to make at that point. Any other corner would have been a reach there and they needed to upgrade at that position.
I really love the picks of Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss; they add multiple dimensions to Joe Flacco's passing game in Baltimore; giving him two more weapons. This is an offense that promises to be one of the best in 2011 if they pan out and contribute immediately.
I think that one of the most underrated picks in the 2011 draft will be Baltimore's selection of Jah Reid, I think him a long with Michael Oher will make one of the best offensive tackle tandems in the NFL over the course of the next decade. That is how good they both are Overall Grade: A