Grading the Baltimore Ravens' 2010 Draft Class
Though grading a draft class right after the NFL draft ends is a popular practice, there's not too much one can learn from it. Granted, it's useful when it comes to evaluating how a team met their perceived needs, found value and made the most of each of their picks, but nothing can really be learned about how well a team drafted until those players take the field and start their professional careers.
Here, we look back at the Baltimore Ravens' 2010 draft class and see how each of their seven picks have fared in the NFL after three seasons and whether or not general manager Ozzie Newsome's vaunted draft genius is a proven fact or just part of the team's mythology.
Round 2, Pick 43: LB Sergio Kindle
The Baltimore Ravens opted to trade out of the first round of the 2010 draft and used their first pick, the 43rd overall in Round 2, to take the draft's top-rated 3-4 outside linebacker prospect Sergio Kindle, from Texas.
Despite his billing as the best at his position, Kindle slipped into the second round thanks to knee injury concerns and a history of off-field incidents. However, he fit the Ravens' defensive mold and seemed to be a perfect use of their first of two second-round picks.
Just before training camp in his rookie year, Kindle fell down the steps at his home and fractured his skull. It kept him both out of camp as well as off the field for his rookie season. He didn't play in a game for the Ravens until Week 4 of 2011; from that point forward he appeared mostly on special teams.
Kindle's head injury left him with hearing loss and other residual problems, and his lack of practice time also further hurt his roster standing. In 2012, he was released by the Ravens so that fellow linebacker Terrell Suggs could return to the active roster from his offseason Achilles tendon tear. Kindle then landed on Baltimore's practice squad until his release in early 2013.
Without the injury, who knows what Kindle could have accomplished for the Ravens. Circumstances led to this being a nearly useless selection—Kindle appeared in just three games in his career—but it wasn't a mistaken use of a pick, just an unpredictable set of circumstances that led to Kindle no longer being with the Ravens.
Round 2, Pick 57: DT Terrence Cody
With their second of two second-round picks in 2010, the Ravens selected defensive tackle Terrence Cody, which both boosted their depth and gave them options when it came to their front-seven rotation.
Cody played 143 snaps in his rookie season (subscription required), with the majority coming against the run. He then started every game in his second season, at both right and left defensive tackle and twice at nose tackle, again primarily used as a run-stopper. Cody then became backup nose tackle in 2012, playing 458 snaps, as the Ravens used fewer hybrid defensive fronts.
Cody has been mostly solid in Baltimore but hasn't entirely shown enough to warrant him someday taking over for incumbent nose tackle Haloti Ngata. For example, Cody has just 72 combined tackles in his 44 games with the Ravens and no sacks; surely they saw him as being a more dominant player than that when they drafted him.
Still, Cody has been a reliable player for the Ravens and at the very least, gives them added experience to their defensive roster. For his draft pedigree, Cody could have done more in his first three years, but it wasn't overall a bad pick.
Round 3, Pick 70: TE Ed Dickson
Tight end Ed Dickson was the first of back-to-back tight end picks for the Ravens in 2010. Dickson, who has solid receiving skills, was prized for his versatility—he's also an experienced run-blocker.
In his rookie year, Dickson played 464 snaps (subscription required) and had four starts, and the majority of his snaps were as a run-blocker. He still managed 11 receptions on 23 targets for 152 yards and a touchdown, but he wasn't a major focus of Baltimore's passing offense.
This changed somewhat in 2011, with Dickson's snaps increasing to 1,047 and the balance tipping toward him being used more as a receiver with 518 snaps, compared to 464 as a run-blocker. As such, his receptions went up to 54 on 89 targets for 528 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season.
In 2012, Dickson went back to being more of a blocker than a receiver, and his snaps also dipped though he remained a starter for the majority of the season. He played 695 total snaps in 2012 (249 on passing downs, 375 on running downs). He had 33 targets, 21 receptions and 225 yards.
Dickson isn't the quickest or most explosive of quarterback Joe Flacco's receiving targets, but he plays a major role as a versatile tight end who can act as a passing decoy and help out the run game.
Based on the Raven's two-tight end philosophy that began with the 2010 draft, Dickson was a smart pickup.
Round 4, Pick 114: TE Dennis Pitta
Considering how integral tight end Dennis Pitta has become to the Ravens' passing game, it's hard to believe how few snaps he played in his rookie season—just 86 (subscription required), with the majority coming as a run-blocker.
Like his fellow 2010 draftmate Ed Dickson, Pitta's workload increased in his second season; unlike Dickson, however, it didn't drop off in 2012—it continued to climb, especially when it came to his receiving snaps, which jumped from 25 in his rookie season, to 344 in 2011 to 524 in 2012.
Also like Dickson, Pitta is a versatile tight end with solid blocking talent. However, he's a better, more reliable and speedier receiving target than Dickson, which has resulted in his climbing snap totals as a receiver.
Over his three-year career in Baltimore, Pitta has caught an impressive 102 passes of his 154 targets for 1,075 yards and 10 touchdowns and has converted 57 first downs. Pitta's presence has helped transformed a Ravens passing game that was mired in conventionality; now that Jim Caldwell is running that side of the ball, Pitta should play a larger and larger role.
Though the New England Patriots get much of the credit for the two-tight end trend in the NFL, the Ravens' drafting of Dickson and Pitta back to back in 2010 shows they weren't the only team with such a plan in mind.
Round 5, Pick 156: WR David Reed
When the Baltimore Ravens selected wide receiver David Reed in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, he was a raw receiver out of Utah who was the only Mountain West Conference receiver to record 1,000 receiving yards in his senior season.
The rawness meant Reed would have to learn the ropes of the NFL while working as a kick returner, which he did to some success his rookie year, with 21 returns totaling 616 yards and a touchdown.
In 2011, Reed was suspended for the first game of the season after he was found in violation of the league's substance abuse policy. He resumed his return duties, with 18 kickoff returns for 534 yards, but he didn't see a single target as a receiver. He then tore his ACL in Week 16 of the season, which landed him on the team's physically unable to perform list until late in the 2012 season.
In 2012, Reed caught five passes on six targets for 66 yards. With the Ravens yet to see his true potential, they re-signed him in 2013, to a $2.5 million contract. Maybe Reed will get more receiving looks now that the team needs another receiver to take Anquan Boldin's place, but his biggest strength is as a kick returner, which isn't a bad thing for the Ravens to get out of a fifth-round pick.
Round 5, Pick 157: DE Arthur Jones
Round-5 draft picks can be hit or miss, with the hits of course welcomed and the misses stinging a little less than had they happened earlier on in the draft. Luckily for the Ravens (and par for the draft course of this franchise), they managed to hit when they selected Arthur Jones 157th overall in 2010.
Jones played in just two games his rookie season, both as a left defensive tackle and end, before playing snaps in every single game in 2011, with one start at left defensive end. His best season came in 2012, when he played 704 snaps at both right and left defensive end and had eight starts, including in the Super Bowl.
Jones had 47 combined tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2012 and has proven himself a vital part of the Ravens' defensive rotation as a solid run-defender and pass-rusher. It's about the best a team can expect from a fifth-round pick.
Round 6, Pick 194: OG Ramon Harewood
The Baltimore Ravens didn't get any production out of offensive guard Ramon Harewood in his first two seasons, with his rookie year cut short by surgeries on both of his knees and his second season over before Week 1 with surgeries on torn ankle ligaments.
That didn't result in the Ravens cutting ties with Harewood, however—he started the first five games of the 2012 season at left guard before being replaced by first Bobbie Williams and then Jah Reid.
Though Harewood isn't particularly athletic or the best pass protector, he received a one-year contract this offseason to compete for a roster spot. At the very least, Harewood provides much-needed offensive line depth.
The Baltimore Ravens had remarkably few misses in their 2010 draft. Though three of their seven picks suffered season-ending injuries at least once in their careers, only one of them—Sergio Kindle—no longer remains on their roster.
None of the picks were wasted. Even Ramon Harewood, in Round 6, is still on the team in a depth capacity and had starting snaps in 2012 though he didn't play in either of his first two seasons. It's a testament to how well Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens scouts and decision-makers have operated season after season.
Though it's not likely any player picked up by the Ravens in the 2010 draft will end up in the Hall of Fame someday, the fact that they've all contributed significantly at one point or another (Kindle excluded, though from no fault of his or the Ravens) makes this a successful draft.
Overall Grade: A