Draft Review – Baltimore Ravens

by Tommy Lawlor¬† –¬† http://www.ScoutsNotebook.com

Baltimore Ravens

1 – CB Jimmy Smith – 6’2, 211 – Colorado
2 – WR Torrey Smith – 6’1, 204 – Maryland
3 – OT Jah Reid – 6’7, 327 – UCF
4 – WR Tandon Doss – 6’2, 201 – Indiana
5 – CB Chykie Brown – 5’11, 190 – Texas
5 – DE Pernell McPhee – 6’3, 278 – Mississippi State
6 – QB Tyrod Taylor – 6’1, 217 – Virginia Tech
7 – RB Anthony Allen – 6’1, 228 – Georgia Tech

GM Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens are one of my favorite teams to study after the draft. Ozzie is a smart football man. He knows when to sit put and grab a player who’s fallen to him and when to move around to play the board well.

This was a year for the Ravens to grab a player that fell to them, CB Jimmy Smith. Anyone who followed the pre-draft process knows that Smith is very talented, but also very troubled. He’s got a laundry list of character issues. That scared off plenty of teams. Smith has the ability to be a shutdown type of corner so when teams are passing on him that should tell you how bothered they are by his issues.

Smith fits in perfectly with what the Ravens want to do on the field. He is a big, physical press corner that also has the speed and agility to shadow receivers all over the field. Smith is comfortable playing man coverage with no Safety help over the top. We’ll see if he can handle this in the NFL the same way, but I wouldn’t bet against it. He really is a gifted cover corner.

Baltimore’s defense has been very good in the front seven in recent years, but the corner play could be better. Smith has a chance to shine on the Ravens defense and he can be a big help to them. Recent playoff losses have come to teams that could throw the ball. Smith has the potential to help change that. He was good value in the late 1st round. He’s still a risk, but is so talented and at such a key position that it’s worth it. Plus, being around Ray Lewis can’t hurt. Ray will let Jimmy know real quickly what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

The Ravens got excellent value in the 2nd round when Maryland WR Torrey Smith was still on the board. Let’s be honest…Baltimore has not exactly been a WR factory. Adding a player with Smith’s size (6’1, 204), speed (4.43), and skills at pick 58 is a major coup for the Ravens. They need receivers who can get vertical and let Joe Flacco take advantage of his rare arm strength. Smith is a very good downfield receiver. He averaged 16 yards per catch as a Junior and had 12 TDs. Smith has the speed to get deep, but also has the skills needed. He tracks the ball well and is able to catch on the run. Smith can be a physical receiver as well. He’s big and strong (19 reps at the Combine). Baltimore has a solid set of veteran receivers for now. Smith can adjust to the NFL in 2011 and then challenge for a starting role in 2012. Smith had 3 kickoff returns for TD in his career and could offer initial impact on STs.

I love the Ravens choice in the 3rd round, OT Jah Reid from UCF. He was one of my favorite offensive linemen in the whole draft. Reid is a relentless run blocker. He loves to pound on defenders. He was a RT in college and projects there in the NFL. He’ll fit in perfectly in the Ravens physical running attack. Reid isn’t a gifted athlete, but is an effective pass blocker. He’ll need time to learn the tricks of the trade to handle NFL pass rushers. Reid struggled in the Shrine Game practices, but then played well in the game. That’s him in a nutshell. He won’t wow you in shorts or practice, but will move defenders off the ball all game long. He has a big time nasty streak and wants to dominate the guy across from him. That’s Ravens football.

Baltimore decided to add another WR in the 4th round. They took Junior Tandon Doss from Indiana. Interesting player. Doss has a lot of potential, but is far from a sure thing. He’s similar to Torrey Smith in a few ways. Doss has similar size. He is a gifted WR, but also a good KOR. Both guys have good hands and RAC ability. Baltimore hadn’t taken multiple receivers in the first 4 rounds of a draft – ever. You can see they’re trying to build up a corps of receivers for Flacco to throw to. Doss was hurt and didn’t have a good quality workout for teams. He only ran in the 4.6 range at his Pro Day. He’s faster than that when 100 percent, but we don’t know how fast. Doss is very versatile. He ran 28 times in 2010, as well as catching 63 passes and being the primary KOR. He even attempted a pass. The Ravens offense could use a versatile weapon. Doss was good value in the 4th round, but I am curious to see if he’s able to make it in the NFL.

Next up the Ravens decided to double down on CBs. They took Chykie Brown from Texas. He’s not huge, but likes to press and be aggressive. He lacks ideal speed, but is good on short routes. Good tackler as well. I’m not sure that he’s talented enough to start in the NFL, but he could be a good slot corner. Brown only picked off 2 passes at Texas. He did break up 16.

With their other 5th round pick the Ravens took DE Pernell McPhee. The Senior pass rusher from Mississippi State slid farther than people expected, making him good value at this point. He has the kind of versatility the Ravens will like. He might remind you of current LB/DE Jarrett Johnson. McPhee was mainly a DE in college, but could play 3-4 OLB as well. He isn’t a great athlete, but is pretty good. There are times when he looks very good on game tape, but he’s not dynamic and isn’t consistently productive. I think those issues pushed him down the board. Good fit.

In the 6th round Baltimore took Tyrod Taylor. He was a star QB for Virginia Tech, but is a major NFL project. He has the raw potential to be a QB, but needs a ton of work. This is one pick I’m not so keen on. Baltimore didn’t do well with developing Troy Smith a few years back. The coaching staff was somewhat different, but I still don’t think of the Ravens as a team to develop QB projects. Taylor is a terrific athlete and could play another spot, but he definitely sees himself as a QB for now. Taylor is a leader and high character guy so he makes sense in that regard. Rolling the dice on him in the 6th round isn’t a huge risk. I just don’t see him panning out.

The Ravens final pick netted them RB Anthony Allen. He is a good fit. Allen started off at Louisville and looked promising, but then transferred to Ga Tech. He played FB and RB for Tech. At times he was outstanding. He runs well for a big guy. He’s a classic downhill runner. Don’t ask him to make a bunch of cuts and moves, but give him some room to get started and he can give you a big play. One of the reasons he fell to the 7th round was that he played in Ga Tech’s funky offense. You can’t figure out if a player has good vision or RB skills. Allen has the numbers, but we need to find out how well he functions in a pro style offense.

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