Aggregating Ravens' Draft Grades from Around the Web

Mike FastContributor IApril 28, 2013

Aggregating Ravens' Draft Grades from Around the Web

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    What makes a successful draft?

    There's a common theory that says one can't accurately judge a draft for at least three years.

    Too bad that wasn't invented in the digital age.

    Each team has needs. Each team has a draft board on which they rank "draftable" players. Ideally, the team will fit their biggest need with their highest-ranked player.

    Countless (and seemingly insignificant) things happen that impact who a team selects and where the team selects them. Speculation and insecurity are likely part of the process as well.

    Thus, a team must stick to their preparation and scouting. Really successful teams, like the Ravens, do just that.

    Baltimore entered the 2013 NFL draft with 12 picks. Because of a second-round trade with the Seahawks, the Ravens ended up making 10 picks. Of those 10 picks, it's my belief that they met every need (except for taking a tight end) while also selecting players with a high level of character who are also very skilled.

    My grade for the Ravens draft so far is a B+. Here's how some other people graded the Ravens' efforts in this draft.

Chris Burke, SI.com

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    Grade

    A-

    His thoughts

    The Ravens used their first four picks on defense: S Matt Elam, LB Arthur Brown, DT Brandon Williams and DE John Simon. All could contribute, but the aggressive move for Brown was impressive. There’s value throughout here, too, with FB Kyle Juszczyk, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore and WR Aaron Mellette all intriguing picks.

     

    My thoughts about his thoughts

    Burke makes two good points here. Baltimore's move up in the second round was aggressive but worth it. After the John Simon pick, those players might not start but can provide necessary depth.

    Besides, every player you draft isn't going to be a starter. Some draft picks don't even make the team.

    The Ravens did what every team aims to do: find starters in the first half of the draft and quality backups in the second half of the draft.

    They drafted good football players at every position of need.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com

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    Grade

    A- (talent added), B+ (needs addressed), A- (draft board movement)

    His thoughts

    Baltimore used its pile of picks to move up and take Arthur Brown, a player the Ravens really liked. He's a steal at No. 56 overall and takes over the void left by Ray Lewis. ... The Ravens had another excellent draft because they needed starters at some key spots and pulled it off. That's not easy to do when you're slotted in at No. 32.

     

    My thoughts about his thoughts

    Kiper is right. Brown was a steal.

    We may not see another Ray Lewis-type player ever again. The closest player to Lewis right now is 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis (who wears No. 52 because of Lewis).

    Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz said that Brown reminds him of NaVorro Bowman, who plays right next to Willis on San Francisco's superb defense.

    Not only did the Ravens get excellent players, they got excellent players that filled pressing needs.

    If a team can do that more than once in a draft, that's ideal.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation

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    Grade

    B+

    His thoughts

    Ozzie Newsome beats everyone again. The Elam pick in the first round was solid. The trade up to get Brown in the second round was spectacular. ... Williams is a little strange. Most predict him to shift to offense.

     

    My thoughts about his thoughts

    Although I agree with Kadar's grade, I disagree that the Williams pick was strange. The Ravens needed a new player to anchor the middle of their defensive line, and Williams was a very good value.

    I have no idea who said Williams would shift to offense nor why they said that.

    If a defensive tackle records 8.5 sacks in a season (like Williams did in 2012), you don't ask him to switch to offense.

    Eight and a half sacks would be a good year for a defensive end or an outside linebacker, much less a defensive tackle.

Dane Brugler, CBSsports.com

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    Grade

    A

    His thoughts

    After retirement and free-agent defections seemed to gut a proud defense over the off-season, they simply reloaded their roster with the best possible picks. ... Brandon Williams has become one of my favorite players in this draft. The broad-shouldered, three-time All-American really impressed me at the Combine and took up a spot on my all-underrated team. He'll play early (and well) at nose guard, potentially freeing Haloti Ngata to wreak havoc all over the defensive line.

     

    My thoughts about his thoughts

    If you saw the Ravens run defense last season, you know it wasn't pretty.

    Williams' strength and resume speak for themselves.

    He's a really powerful nose tackle, which is just what the Ravens were looking for. Like Brugler said, Williams can help free up Ngata to make plays and will also allow the Baltimore linebackers to flow to the ball more easily.

    A major problem spot on the Ravens roster was solved with this selection.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

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    Grade

    B+

    His thoughts

    So much for getting their defense raided in the offseason. They reloaded and recovered well in the draft. ... The Ravens know their schemes, and thanks to general manager Ozzie Newsome, always seem to know the ideal personnel.

     

    My thoughts about his thoughts

    Iyer's grade for Baltimore's draft seems to be right on. They lost a lot in free agency, but they seemed to get a lot back for a lot less money.

    Speaking of schemes and "playing like a Raven," John Simon is definitely the right fit for Baltimore and is the right person to have when rebuilding a defense.

    Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer loves John Simon. He literally said so in this press conference last September. Meyer also talked about the way Simon works makes him (Meyer) wonder if he and his coaches are working hard enough.

    When was the last time you heard that about a player?

    Think of a hard-nosed, athletic football player whose motor doesn't stop, can rush the passer, play the run and set an emotional tone. That's John Simon.