Baltimore Ravens Draft Review

by Tommy Lawlor  –  ScoutsNotebook.com

BALTIMORE RAVENS

2 – LB/DE Sergio Kindle – Texas
2 – NT Terrence Cody – Alabama
3 – TE Ed Dickson – Oregon
4 – TE Dennis Pitta – BYU
5 – WR David Reed – Utah
5 – DT Arthur Jones – Syracuse
6 – OL Ramon Harewood – Morehouse

The Ravens did what they do on a regular basis…they made solid picks and acquired tough, productive players.  GM Ozzie Newsome and Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta do a great job of working the board to find their kind of players.  This year that meant trading out of the 1st round.  The Ravens sent pick 25 to Denver for picks in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds.

Baltimore dropped back to pick 43.  They tried to move back up in the draft in hopes of landing DE/LB Jerry Hughes or CB Chris Cook, but couldn’t work out a deal.  They stayed at 43 and took Sergio Kindle, very similar to Hughes.  I think Kindle could be a terrific fit for the Ravens.  Sergio started at both DE and LB for Texas.  He’s physical enough to play on the line and athletic enough to play in space.  Sergio was a Top 20 talent that fell because of some medical and character concerns.  The Ravens must think the injury situation isn’t that much of a risk.  As for the character issues, they were mostly in the past and didn’t involve violent behavior so they probably were not a major factor.    

The Ravens needed a CB, but they have been an organization that believes a good pass rush can be just as important as gifted cover guys.  Since there wasn’t a good CB available at pick 43 they decided to go with a disruptive player like Kindle.  Terrell Suggs isn’t getting any younger and the Ravens did need someone new who can get to the QB.  Kindle is at his best attacking off the edge.  That is perfect for the Baltimore D.  I’m sure one of the things they liked about Sergio is that he seemed to play best in big games (Oklahoma, Alabama).  Baltimore may be Charm City, but they football team isn’t made of timid souls.  They want guys with some attitude as well as game.  Kindle has both.

With their original 2nd round pick the Ravens added mammoth DT/NT Terrence Cody.  Coach John Harbaugh joked after the draft that with him and Haloti Ngata in the lineup the Ravens will have figured out a legal way to have 13 guys on the field at once.  Cody fell to pick 57 mainly due to concerns with his size.  He is massive at 6’5, 354.  The problem is trying to keep him under 360.  Fans see huge 3-4 NTs and probably wonder what the big deal is.  Ted Washington, Jamaal Williams, Casey Hampton, and guys like that are/were easily 360.  The concern is that those guys came into the league in the 300-pound range and grew to 360.  Guys bulk up with age.  I can speak from personal experience.  If the Ravens can control Cody’s weight, they got a good player.  He can eat up blockers and control the middle of the line.  That keeps Ray Lewis clean and lets him wreak havoc.  It also lets Ngata attack and use his athleticism.  Kelly Gregg has done the dirty work for a long time, but he’s an aging player.  Cody needs to listen to Ray Ray, Gregg, and Ngata.  Those guys will steer him right.  Something tells me that Ray will make it clear to Mount Cody that pork chops are bad and exercise is good.

TE Ed Dickson was the 3rd round pick.  He had a terrific Senior season for Oregon and then had a solid showing in the postseason.  He gives the Ravens an athletic TE that can catch passes and make athletic plays.  He has good hands.  Ed is very good after the catch.  Todd Heap has been a terrific player for a long time, but Baltimore needed to work on depth and getting younger at that position.  Dickson can flex out wide to create mismatches.    He can catch the ball downfield.  That will work well with Joe Flacco’s arm.  Dickson isn’t a strong blocker at this point, but he’ll figure out quickly that’s important in the Raven offense.

In the 4th round the Ravens caught me off guard by taking another TE, Dennis Pitta from BYU.  I think they surprised themselves.  They wanted a CB, but Pitta was just too good to pass up.  TE is a position where 2 or 3 guys can play quite a bit.  Dickson gives them an athletic pass catcher.  Pitta gives them an outstanding receiver.  He isn’t a great athlete or good blocker.  He’s just a guy that knows how to get open and catches everything that is thrown his way.  TEs like that can be worth their weight in gold.

Think about the Ravens over the last few years.  They’ve played first class defense, as you would expect.  They’ve run the ball well and been a physical offense.  The problem has been the lack of a consistent passing attack.  They added several veteran wideouts to help the situation.  Then they took the 2 TEs in the draft.  Dickson and especially Pitta can be helpful in moving the chains and sustaining drives.  Pitta was great on 3rd downs and in clutch situations at BYU.  If all the new targets pan out for Baltimore…watch out.

In the 5th round the Ravens decided to go for another pass catcher, WR David Reed.  He played for 2 years at Utah after starting off at a Junior College.  He was a record setter at JC, but then was quiet in his first year as a Ute.  He did have a big Senior season, going 81-1188-5.  Reed doesn’t stand out in any area, but does have a good combination of size, speed, and skill.  He’s a tough WR and offers value as a KOR.  I don’t know that he’ll ever be a starter in the NFL.  Reed has the potential to be a very good role player.

Next up the Ravens went back to defense.  They took DT Arthur Jones of Syracuse.  He gives them a versatile, productive DL.  Jones is 6’3, 301.  He can play DE when Baltimore goes to a 3-4 look.  He has the right size and is athletic enough to handle that spot.  Jones is at his best as a DT, especially when allowed to attack upfield.  Injuries hurt him as a Senior and dropped his value.  As a Sophomore Jones looked like a stud.  Getting him in the late 5th was very good value.

The final pick was OL Ramon Harewood.  I really like this pick.  Harewood is huge at 6’6, 340.  He played OT at Morehouse College.  I’m not sure that he’s got the footwork to play outside in the NFL.  He does have the potential to be a good OG.  He played in the Texas vs The Nation all star game and showed a lot of ability as a physical, run-blocking OG.  That is a perfect fit for the Ravens offense.  Sure, he’s a small college prospect that has to adjust to pro competition, but he’s worth the risk in the 6th round.  The reward is absolutely worth the risk.  Not only is Harewood huge, but he carries it well.  That isn’t true of all big guys.

Baltimore never did find their CB in the draft.  That is a concern.  Still, I give them credit for not pushing the issue by reaching for a lesser player and passing on someone that was good value and/or a great fit for their roster.  I’m sure Ozzie Newsome and the Pro Personnel Dept will be looking under every rock this spring and summer to find a CB.  They still have the possibility of trading OT Jared Gaither.  The Buffalo Bills are interested in him and they have good CBs.  Who knows…maybe something will work out.

Here’s the NFL.com draft tracker for Baltimore’s picks

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