Baltimore Ravens: Grades for Every Drafted Rookie so Far in the Preseason

Kyle CaseyCorrespondent IIIAugust 20, 2012

Through two preseason games, the Baltimore Ravens' rookies as a whole have been pretty successful. For the most part, the undrafted rookies have been the ones making an impact. 

Running back Bobby Rainey, wide receiver Deonte Thompson and kicker Justin Tucker have all made a case for earning a roster spot despite going undrafted in April.

But the rookies who the Ravens need to contribute most this season are the ones that they spent draft picks on. In total, the team drafted eight players in the 2012 draft, and it appears that most (but not all) will make the final 53-man roster. 

Here are grades for every drafted Ravens rookie after two preseason games.


Courtney Upshaw (Outside Linebacker): B-

After missing the first preseason game with a shoulder injury, Upshaw made his NFL debut on Friday night. Playing for a large portion of the game, Upshaw failed to record a tackle.

While he didn't earn the start at outside linebacker against the Detroit Lions, Upshaw could still be the starter when the regular season begins. He's been impressive in practice, and his talent should translate to the field sooner than later. 


Kelechi Osmele (Offensive Lineman): A

The best Ravens rookie so far has been Kelechi Osmele. Earning playing time at both guard and tackle, Osmele has had very few bad plays. 

Right now, it appears Osmele could start at right tackle this season, which would be a huge benefit to the Ravens offensive line. 


Bernard Pierce (Running Back): B-

Like Upshaw, Bernard Pierce missed the first preseason game due to injury. In his NFL debut on Friday night, his playing time was limited, and he had just four carries for one yard.

It's hard to grade Pierce after such a small body of work, so his "B-" is more of an "incomplete" at this point. 


Gino Gradkowski (Center): C

Rotating between center and guard on the Ravens offensive line, Gino Gradkowski has been unimpressive so far in the preseason and training camp. In the preseason opener, he had a few missed blocking assignments, which led to added pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco.

The only excitement Gradkowski has produced was his training-camp fight with defensive tackle Arthur Jones.


Christian Thompson (Safety): B+

Prior to the fourth quarter of the second preseason game, safety Christian Thompson had gone pretty much unnoticed. But then with the Lions driving into the end zone, Thompson led headfirst into running back Joique Bell, which forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow safety Omar Brown.

That play showed that Thompson has a knack for getting after the ball, which is also why he has five total tackles so far in the preseason. 


Asa Jackson (Cornerback): A

The Ravens may have found a steal in cornerback Asa Jackson. Coming out of Cal Poly, Jackson wasn't a very highly rated prospect in this year's draft. However, he has shown so far in the preseason that he can contribute to the team this season.

In the first preseason game, Jackson failed to record a tackle. But he had an impressive blitz play that almost resulted in a sack. In the second preseason game, Jackson was much more efficient.

He recorded three tackles and had a pass defended. He also returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a penalty. 


Tommy Streeter (Wide Receiver): C-

Perhaps the most disappointing Ravens rookie so far has been Tommy Streeter. In the first preseason game against Atlanta, Streeter caught two passes for just 12 yards.

But in Friday's game against Detroit, Streeter failed to record a catch. So far, he has lived up to the reputation of being a "raw" player, as he just isn't ready to contribute to an NFL offense yet.


DeAngelo Tyson (Defensive End): C+

Playing in mostly the fourth quarter of the first two preseason games, DeAngelo Tyson has failed to make a noticeable impact. 

With just two tackles in two games, there's no guarantee that the seventh-round pick will make the final roster for the Ravens.