Re-Drafting Baltimore Ravens' 2013 NFL Draft
The Ravens had a great draft and got good production from their picks in the 2013 NFL season, but I'm doing a re-draft for them in an attempt to look at the best possible draft they could have had by re-doing their entire 2013 draft.
In an attempt to re-do last year's draft for the Ravens, I made all picks under the assumption that the rest of the teams drafted the same way they did in '13.
For example, though Larry Warford should have been taken in the first round, he's still available in the second round in this re-draft.
Here is my re-draft of the Ravens' 2013 draft.
Round 1, Pick No. 32: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Actual pick: Matt Elam, S, Florida
With the final pick of the first round, the Ravens selected the best possible player they could have, and I couldn't find another player they should have drafted over Matt Elam.
In his final year at Florida, Elam ranked second on the team with 76 tackles (58 solo), two sacks, 11 tackles for a loss, five pass deflections and a team-leading four interceptions.
As a rookie with the Ravens, he filled an immediate position of need at safety and was one of just 31 safeties in the NFL to play 1,000 snaps or more, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Elam also finished fourth on the team with 77 tackles and tied for the team-lead with five tackles for a loss. He did all of that while playing out of position at free safety. Elam could become a star in his second year, now that he's moving back to his natural strong safety spot.
The Ravens simply couldn't have done any better than they did by selecting Elam with the final pick of the first round.
Round 2, Pick No. 56: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
Actual pick: Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas Sate
At the time, Arthur Brown looked like a home run pick for the Ravens. Viewed by many as one of the top inside linebacker prospects, Brown looked like the perfect candidate to replace the retired Ray Lewis.
It didn't turn out that way, as Brown played in only 211 snaps and was relegated to specials teams for the most part.
The Ravens could have used that pick instead to draft Kentucky offensive guard Larry Warford. As a rookie with the Detroit Lions, Warford helped pave the way for one of the best offenses in the NFL as he started all 16 games, didn't allow a sack and finished the season with the highest grade (+22.8) ever given to a rookie guard by Pro Football Focus since its rankings debuted in 2008.
So it came as no surprise that PFF named Warford their Rookie of the Year:
Of every guard in the league who we graded on every single play, Warford would finish fourth out of all of them. Positives in every area with no sacks allowed in pass protection and just four penalties called on him all year. ...
Simply put, we haven’t seen a rookie guard like Larry Warford in our time and for his truly special year, he’s our Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Round 3, Pick No. 94: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
Actual pick: Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State
The Ravens needed some depth along the defensive line, but Brandon Williams only played in 93 snaps as a rookie. One position that could have used more depth was wide receiver, and Oklahoma's Kenny Stills would have been the best pick to make at this point.
The Ravens got little production from their receivers outside of Torrey Smith. No other wide receiver had more than 524 receiving yards.
Ravens wide receivers also only caught 13 touchdowns, and 11 of them were between Torrey and undrafted free agent Marlon Brown.
As a rookie with the New Orleans Saints, Stills caught 32 passes for 641 yards and five touchdowns. That kind of a production was painfully absent from the Ravens wide receivers, and Stills should have been the pick made here.
Round 4, Pick 129: Josh Evans, S, Florida
Actual Pick: John Simon, DE, Ohio State
The Ravens took John Simon for depth purposes at linebacker, but he only played in three snaps as a rookie. They could have used more depth at safety then, and really could use it this coming year with James Ihedigbo having departed this offseason.
That's where Florida safety Josh Evans could have come into play. He ended up going to the Jaguars, where he played 682 snaps and registered 58 tackles.
He could have been a potential starter for the Ravens in 2014, or at least challenge for serious playing time.
Roiund 4: Pick No. 130: Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard
Actual Pick: Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard
The Ravens made the right choice here. Even though the Ravens had Vonta Leach at fullback, Juszczyk was good enough to get playing time on special teams.
Once the offseason came, the Ravens released Leach and now look set on making Juszczyk the primary fullback in 2014.
As of now, he's the only fullback on the roster.
Round 5, Pick No. 168 Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Actual pick: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
The Ravens made the right selection here by taking Ricky Wagner out of Wisconsin. Viewed as a project lineman, Wagner would go on to play just 131 offensive snaps in 2013, but he did receive a 1.0 grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
It's a small sample size, but he could be in line for a lot of playing time in 2014 with the uncertainty at right tackle for the Ravens after they let Michael Oher walk in free agency.
As of now, Wagner would likely be the starting right tackle if a game was played today. That could change once the 2014 NFL draft comes and goes, but it is nice to have Wagner as an option to start at right tackle.
Round 6, Pick No. 200: Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE , Notre Dame
Actual pick: Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE , Notre Dame
The Ravens took Kapron Lews-Moore out of Notre Dame in hopes he would give them some depth along the defensive line, but an ACL tear cost him his entire rookie season.
Lewis-Moore finished his senior season with 40 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two pass break up and two forced fumbles.
He tore the ACL while playing in the National Championship Game against Alabama, but still did enough in training camp that the coaches feel confident in 2014.
That torn ACL caused his draft stock to drop and led to him falling to the sixth round, where the Ravens took him knowing he might not play at all in his rookie season.
Despite this, it was a good pick that could pay off for the Ravens in 2014 now that starting defensive end Arthur Jones is gone, and Lewis-Moore could be the one that replaces him.
Round 6, Pick No. 203: Vince Williams, ILB, Florida State
Actual Pick: Ryan Jensen, OT, CSU–Pueblo
Ryan Jensen was drafted by the Ravens in order to give them some depth along the offensive line, but he never registered an offensive snap as a rookie.
Meanwhile, Vince Williams fell to the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, where he started 11 games and registered 53 tackles. He probably wouldn't have been a starter in Baltimore, but he at least one have given them some nice depth.
Williams would have a great chance to start at one of the two inside linebacker spots in 2014 with Jameel McClain having departed in free agency.
Round 7, Pick No. 238: Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon
Actual pick: Aaron Mellette , WR, Elon
The Ravens desperately needed more production from their wide receivers in 2013, so taking Aaron Mellette wasn't exactly a bad idea.
The problem was that he didn't play at all in 2013 after tearing ligaments in his knee. Mellette initially made the 53-man roster out of training camp after a strong preseason in which he caught nine catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
He spent one week on the active roster before a knee injury ended his season and forced him to injured reserve. He now figures to get another shot at making the 53-man roster and earning playing time in his second NFL season.
“Aaron is going to be a guy who’s going to be in the mix,” John Harbaugh said this offseason, via Garrett Downing of BaltimoreRavens.com.
Mellette dominated in college at Elon and finished his career with 304 receptions, 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns. He'll be a name to watch for in training camp for the Ravens this year.
Round 7, Pick No. 247: Marcus Cooper, CB, Rutgers
Actual Pick: Marc Anthony, CB, California
The Ravens got it right by taking a cornerback with this pick, but they took the wrong one. Marc Anthony was drafted but eventually waived by the Ravens, and he's now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Instead, they should have taken Rutgers cornerback Marcus Cooper, who was actually cut by the San Francisco 49ers before the start of the regular season.
That's when the Kansas City Chiefs swooped in and signed Cooper, who would go on to play in all 16 games and start in six for the playoff-bound Chiefs.
As a rookie, Cooper grabbed three interceptions, registered 42 tackles, forced one fumble and returned another for a touchdown.
As of now, the Ravens have only four cornerbacks on their roster. Cooper would have been a good asset to have last year, and he'd be even more important to the Ravens in 2014 with their lack of depth at that position.