Baltimore Ravens 2014 Draft: The Good, the Bad and the Baffling
The Baltimore Ravens' draft motto could easily be "In Ozzie We Trust," a nod to general manager Ozzie Newsome, who is one of the most savvy personnel men in the NFL.
But even Newsome doesn't always get every pick correct. Granted, we won't know how well the Ravens' 2014 draft picks pan out until they've spent a year—or two, or three—in the league, but we still can look at the selections they've made and make a few rudimentary evaluations.
Namely, where did the Ravens make sense, where did they go wrong, and where did they go completely off the rails? Here's the good, the bad and the baffling of the Ravens' 2014 draft.
List of All 2014 Draft Selections
Here are the players the Ravens selected in the 2014 NFL draft:
- C.J. Mosley, LB (Round 1, 17th overall)
- Timmy Jernigan, DT (Round 2, 48th overall)
- Terrence Brooks, S (Round 3, 79th overall)
- Crockett Gillmore, TE (Round 3, 99th overall)
- Brent Urban, DL (Round 4, 134th overall)
- Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB (Round 4, 138th overall)
- John Urschel, G (Round 5, 175th overall)
- Keith Wenning, QB (Round 6, 194th overall)
- Michael Campanaro, WR (Round 7, 218 overall)
C.J. Mosley, LB (Round 1, Pick 17)
The Ravens saw an opportunity to take one of the draft's best defensive players, and they couldn't say no, choosing Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley in Round 1.
Mosley is an explosive inside linebacker who can play outside—perfect for the often-hybrid Ravens defensive front. He had 319 combined career tackles in college, including 23 tackles for a loss. He also had 6.5 sacks, five interceptions—three returned for a touchdown—and two forced fumbles.
Mosley is a true, three-down linebacker. He'll anchor the inside of Baltimore's defense with last year's draft pick Arthur Brown and Daryl Smith. He can also cover kicks and punts on special teams. He may never leave the field.
Timmy Jernigan, DT (Round 2, Pick 48)
Woefully thin at defensive tackle, the Ravens needed to make an impact move early at the position. They opted to get Florida State's Timmy Jernigan in Round 2. Jernigan is a first-round talent whose stock dropped because of a positive test for a banned substance at the scouting combine.
Jernigan had 138 tackles in three years with the Seminoles. He had 25 tackles for a loss, as well as 8.5 sacks. He'll be a solid nose tackle for the Ravens, who could be without Haloti Ngata sooner than later. He's certainly an upgrade over current backup Terrence Cody.
Terrence Brooks, S (Round 3, Pick 79)
The Ravens almost lost the chance to find a starting free safety by leaving the position to Round 3, but they certainly got themselves quite the player in Florida State's Terrence Brooks. Brooks could be the Ed Reed replacement they've been looking for.
Brooks had a total of 126 tackles in college, as well as a sack, five interceptions and 18 passes defensed. Once a backup corner, Brooks has strong coverage skills as well as the hard-hitting tackling of a safety. His hands, when it comes to interceptions, could be better, but he's always around the football. He also has serious special teams upside.
Crockett Gillmore, TE (Round 3, Pick 99)
Even with the signing of Owen Daniels in the offseason, the Ravens needed to bulk up the tight end position to give Dennis Pitta a blocking counterpart. Colorado State's Crockett Gillmore fits the bill perfectly.
An aggressive blocker, Gillmore can also be of use in the short-yardage and red-zone passing game. He has caught 111 total passes for 1,308 yards and eight scores. Tight end was a need, though a relatively marginal one, so the Ravens were smart to wait until Round 4 to scoop up Gillmore.
Brent Urban, DE (Round 4, Pick 134)
The Ravens looked to defensive line depth in Round 4, taking Virginia Tech's Brent Urban at 134th overall. Urban was a 4-3 defensive tackle for the last two years but originally joined the team as a 3-4 end, where he'll play in Baltimore.
Urban had 75 tackles in college, as well as 16.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He is long and powerful but needs to refine his technique, hence his fourth-round pedigree. Still, with time, he could be a dominant force for the Ravens, especially against the run. He can collapse a quarterback's pocket, too.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB (Round 4, Pick 138)
With a potential suspension looming for Ray Rice and little depth, the Ravens needed to add another running back to the ranks. Lorenzo Taliaferro, out of Coastal Carolina, might not be a household name, but he could be in a year or two's time.
Taliaferro racked up 2,086 yards and 32 touchdowns on 356 carries and also had 27 receptions for 191 yards and two scores. He's a do-it-all, powerful running back. He can run, catch and block—he's outstanding at picking up blitzes. He's not small, either, at 6'2" and 230 pounds. He could seriously make Rice's job obsolete by 2015.
John Urschel, G/C (Round 5, Pick 175)
A guard in college, Penn State's John Urschel seems like a better fit for center in the NFL. Considering the Ravens' struggles at the position—Gino Gradkowski played poorly last year, leading to the team trading for Jeremy Zuttah—it's unsurprising they'd take Urschel in Round 5.
Urschel was described as "adequate" in practically every area by the National Football Post, but they did note that he has a high motor and the physical tools to transition into center. His experience at guard gives him some versatility, which is great for the Ravens with their poor depth on the line.
Michael Campanaro, WR (Round 7, Pick 218)
The Ravens traded back into the draft to take Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro. Campanaro had 229 collegiate receptions for 2,506 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also ran the ball a little, with 51 carries for 238 yards and two scores.
Not fast, Campanaro really shines with his football intelligence and reliable hands. He's a developmental-type possession receiver, something the Ravens truly need.
None of the Ravens' picks in the 2014 NFL draft can be, on paper, characterized as bad. All met needs, whether at starter or depth, and all seem to be a good fit for what Baltimore is trying to accomplish.
This doesn't mean that all of these players will eventually start or become All-Pro level players. It's not likely all of these players will still be on the Ravens' roster in September. But it's hard to find a true misstep in any of their selections.
Keith Wenning, QB (Round 6, Pick 194)
It's not strange that the Ravens drafted a quarterback—it just doesn't seem like backup Tyrod Taylor has much left to give. It is strange, however, that they opted for the little-known Keith Wenning from Ball State.
Wenning has a career completion percentage of 63 percent. He threw for 11,402 yards as a four-year starter and had 92 touchdowns passes thrown to 42 interceptions. He has great size, at 6'3" and 220 pounds and looks the part of a quarterback.
Wenning is a game manager, but he has a deceptively good (and accurate) deep ball. However, he is heavily reliant on the shotgun. He'll never come close to pushing Joe Flacco off of the depth chart, which is not the point of this pick.
He isn't a bad quarterback, no. But it's baffling only because it's such an extremely under-the-radar selection at the position.