With the 175th overall pick, the Baltimore Ravens drafted offensive guard John Urschel out of Penn State. This was the first pick the Ravens used to bolster their offensive line, which was lacking depth at all five spots coming into the draft.
Over the past two seasons, Urschel started all 24 games at right guard with the Nittany Lions. Most scouting services gave him anywhere between a fourth- to sixth-round grade, so getting him at this spot was good value.
He is also a successful person off the field. He has received both the William V. Campbell Trophy—college football’s “Academic Heisman”—and the AAU Sullivan Award that's given annually to the nation’s top amateur athlete.
Because Urschel can play both guard and center, he provides good value at this spot and can help upgrade an offensive line that finished 30th in rushing yards during the 2013 NFL season.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller rated him as the 15th-best offensive guard prospect.
Here is an excerpt from NFL.com writer Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report:
Highly intelligent -- will be successful with or without football. Engages quickly. Good leverage, balance and body control. Works his feet and hips to position and seal. Can pull and trap and work up to the second level very quickly. Protects with awareness. Shuffles, slides and mirrors. Three-year starter. Team captain. Sparkling intangibles. Well-versed in a pro-style offense having played for new Texans coach Bill O'Brien.
The Grade: B
Urschel is a high-IQ player that could come in and develop into a quality guard and provide Baltimore with great depth behind Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda at guard. With both of those players set to have their contracts expire in 2016, the Ravens could groom Urschel to be the eventual replacement for one of them.
As a rookie, Urschel will still have to compete for a roster spot, but with the Ravens having just three guards currently signed, he has a great chance to make the opening-day 53-man roster.
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