Baltimore Ravens Mock Draft: Matt Miller's Latest Picks Don't Make the Grade
Even compiling a one round mock draft can sometimes turn into a total guessing game, so to attempt a full seven rounder, you'd have to be crazy. Well, call Bleacher Report's Lead NFL Draft Writer Matt Miller crazy because recently he accomplished such a feat.
Miller spends hours in the film room, and it shows in his work. For the most part, he did an excellent job in accessing the draft needs for every single NFL team throughout the entire draft.
While Miller's knowledge and analysis of prospects is well displayed throughout the entire mock, he did run into a bit of trouble in dissecting the Baltimore Ravens draft tendencies and needs for next season.
So as a result I decided to grade the guru...
Round One: Dont'a Hightower ILB (Alabama)
29. BAL—Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
The Ravens need to start thinking long-term at linebacker, and Hightower fits their system perfectly. He will thrive learning under Ray Lewis and company.
I'm actually okay with this one. Hightower could very well be on the board at pick 29 and would fit in well with the Ravens and their 3-4 defense. Offensive line and wide receiver are certainly bigger needs early on, but in this scenario he has Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffrey and Kendall Wright off the board. He has the Ravens passing on Peter Konz, but for Hightower I might be okay with that as well.
The only problem I can see occurring with this pick is Ozzie Newsome and company opting to take a player that fills a more pressing need, or the Steelers nabbing Hightower a few picks before the Ravens have a shot at him.
Round Two: Chris Givens WR (Wake Forest)
61. BAL—Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
The Ravens need to give Joe Flacco a few more options at wideout. Givens will be an important pick.
I'm definitely more than okay with the Ravens taking a receiver in round two, or even in round one, and Givens is a decent value at this point. I do think that the drop off between Givens and a third or fourth round receiver may be less significant than the drop off there would be between a second and third round pass rusher.
I'd rather see Baltimore go defense here—a guy like Ronnell Lewis out of Oklahoma would be a great fit to share the load with Paul Kruger opposite Suggs next year, but again I'm okay with this pick.
I'm taking points off for the analysis "Givens would be an important pick," though. C'mon Matt, I know it's a seven rounder but you're just filling space with that statement.
Round Three: Shea McClellin DE/OLB (Boise State)
93. BAL—Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
Jarret Johnson left for San Diego, leaving Paul Kruger and Sergio Kindle at outside linebacker. McClellin has the body type to line up immediately as a strong-side linebacker.
I like the pick and I'm sure the Ravens will be looking for a pass rusher early in this draft, but I really doubt that it would hold precedence over glaring needs on the offensive line. If the Ravens had taken a guard or center at some point before this, I'd probably rate the pick an "A."
Round Four: Antonio Allen S (South Carolina)
132. BAL—Antonio Allen, SS, South Carolina
I have three problems with this pick.
1. We're now headed into round five without addressing the offensive line, and that simply won't happen.
2. Antonio Allen is an in-the-box run-stuffing safety, and he struggles in coverage. We have a guy like that in Bernard Pollard, and Sean Considine should be a decent backup at the position and contributor on special teams. If the Ravens go safety early in this draft, it has to be for a guy that can help in coverage and be effective in replacing Ed Reed should he go down at some point next season (knock on wood).
3. Allen is a bit of a reach here, something Ozzie Newsome is not normally inclined to do, especially at positions that aren't at all urgent needs.
Round 5: Dan Herron HB (Ohio State) and Tom Compton OT (South Dakota)
GRADE: D -
166. BAL—Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State
171. BAL—Tom Compton, OT, South Dakota
Miller almost get's an "F" here for failing to address center or guard yet again. At least he projected a lineman however.
I'm not a fan of the Dan Herron pick either—the Ravens would definitely like to add another running back to compete with Anthony Allen and Damien Berry for the backup role, but I'm not sure they'll look to do it late in the draft. Free agency, or a second round value pick that falls is a far more likely scenario.
A young offensive tackle to groom would be nice as well, but the Ravens are high on Jah Reid, and Ramon Harewood's potential is still untapped. You have to wonder if ignoring the need at guard for a tackle that may not even beat out Harewood on the depth chart is worth it.
Round Six: Justin Bethel CB (Presbyterian)
201. BAL—Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian
I can't grade this pick any higher than a "D" for a few reasons.
For one, Miller fails to address the interior line yet again, he either knows something we don't about some potential free agent signing or he's just oblivious to Baltimore's actual draft needs.
My feeling is that it's the latter.
Second of all, the Ravens are set at corner on the depth chart. I gave this a "D" instead of an "F" because Bethel has good size and defends both the pass and run well, he may be able to make the switch to free safety in the NFL, but I doubt that was Miller's thought process here.
Round Seven: Vaughn Meatoga DE (Hawaii)
239. BAL—Vaughn Meatoga, DT, Hawaii
I really like Meatoaga as a seventh round pick to fill in the depth chart a bit along the defensive line, but after failing to address interior offensive line again, I can't grade this pick any higher.
Final Grade: D -
If this draft came to fruition the Ravens would come away with some solid potential future starters, but they'd have a lot of holes left unfilled.
Not only would Baltimore be left with a second year, unproven right tackle starting at left guard, but they'd have no other options at center in case the dwindling Matt Birk can not make it through the entire season.
They would have wasted a fourth round pick on an in-the-box safety that probably wouldn't even make the active roster even once throughout the season, and a fifth round pick on a fourth or possibly even fifth string running back who may not be able to make the active roster either.
The Ravens would have no options behind Ed Reed should he fail to remain healthy throughout the season as well.
Overall this draft started off okay, but ignoring crucial needs and drafting players that would bring little value to the roster next season killed it in the end. It doesn't look like Matt was in tune with Ozzie Newsome for this one, but his seven rounder was impressive none the less.
Final Grade: D