Baltimore Ravens: Complete 2014 NFL Draft Wrap Up and Analysis
While it will take at least a year or two until we know how well the Baltimore Ravens did in the 2014 NFL draft, we still can analyze each pick, how they fit and were they good value at where they were selected.
After just missing out on the playoffs in 2013, a good draft was what the Ravens needed to ensure they don't miss them again this coming season.
It's time to breakdown the 2014 Ravens draft class, and what's next for Baltimore as the offseason continues.
The Ravens entered the draft with eight picks, but ended up adding nine players:
|Round||Player, Position, School|
|1||C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama|
|2||Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State|
|3||Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State|
|3||Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State|
|4||Brent Urban, DT, Virginia|
|4||Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Marshall|
|5||John Urschel, OG, Penn State|
|6||Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State|
|7||Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest|
The Ravens had several critical needs heading into the draft, but failed to address two of them. Cornerback, safety and offensive tackle were three positions that needed to be addressed at some point, yet safety was the only critical position of need that a pick was spent on.
The first pick came in Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, who won the Butkus Award as the top linebacker in college football and was named the SEC Conference Defensive Player of the Year this past season.
Mosley was arguably the best player on the board when the Ravens were on the clock, and he now adds to an interesting competition at inside linebacker.
The Ravens utilize a 3-4 defense that features two inside linebackers, and Mosley is expected to compete with 2012 second-rounder Arthur Brown for the starting job at weak-side inside linebacker.
That's because he's probably not beating out the starting strong-side backer, Daryl Smith, who lead the Ravens in tackles last season and signed a new 4-year, $16 million deal this offseason.
That's not even accounting for their need at free safety, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was still on the board at No. 17 for the Ravens to take. Clinton-Dix was regarded by many as the top free safety prospect in this draft, and he could have probably made a bigger impact for the Ravens as a rookie than Mosley will.
Still, Mosley is a good player who will find a way to impact this team as a rookie.
In the second round, the Ravens took defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan out of Florida State to bolster their defensive line. With starting defensive tackle Arthur Jones leaving in free agency, Jernigan should help account for his loss.
Baltimore finally addressed the need at safety by getting one of the more complete safeties in the draft in Florida State's Terrence Brooks. He fills a huge need for the Ravens in their secondary, and this was the best pick they made in the entire draft. Brooks is an athletic freak who blankets the field and will compete for a starting role in 2014.
The next pick was Colorado State tight end Crockett Gilmore, who will give the Ravens youth and an eventual replacement for Owen Daniels, who signed a 1-year deal to be the No. 2 TE behind Pro Bowler Dennis Pitta.
News was the pick of Brent Urban, a DT put of Virginia. This pick didn't make much sense after they just drafted Jernigan two rounds earlier. CB and OT were bigger needs that needed to have at least one pick spent on before DT had two picks spent on it.
Lorenzo Taliaferro was the next pick, and he could become a solid contributor on this team if Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce don't bounce back from poor 2013 seasons.
Baltimore then took a developmental lineman in Penn State's John Urschel in the fifth round, followed by a developmental QB in Keith Wenning in the sixth round. Both players will have to have great preseasons just to secure a roster spot, and neither is expected to make any contributions this year.
The final pick came after Baltimore traded back into the seventh round to select receiver Michael Campanaro out of Wake Forest. They gave up a sixth round pick in the 2015 draft in order to select Campanaro with the 218th pick.
He earned second-team All-ACC honors after catching 67 balls for 803 yards and six touchdowns in eight games, and he adds youth to an aging WR unit.
Best Pick: Florida State S Terrence Brooks
As mentioned before, safety was one of the Ravens' biggest needs heading into the draft. While they didn't address it until the third round, they still got one of the best in this draft class in FSU's Terrence Brooks.
Brooks is an athletic freak who ran a blazing 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, and he uses that speed well to blanket the field in coverage or in run support. He was a cornerback for his first two years at FSU, and his versatility will ensure he gets significant playing time as a rookie.
In 2013, Brooks recorded 56 tackles and two more interceptions, helping an FSU defense that led the nation in scoring (12.1 points per game) and passing defense (156.6 yards per game).
Brooks fills a huge need for the Ravens in their secondary that was caused by the departure of starting strong safety James Ihedigbo. That will likely lead to Matt Elam moving to strong safety after playing free safety as a rookie in 2013.
Having Brooks to potentially start at FS means the Ravens should feel good about the back-end of their secondary heading into the 2014 season.
Worst Pick: Ball State QB Keith Wenning
The Ravens aren't looking for a new starting QB with Joe Flacco in the fold, and Tyrod Taylor has proved to be more than a serviceable backup.
Adding a developmental QB like Keith Wenning is a good move only if you've addressed most, if not all of your biggest position of needs.
At this point, the Ravens had yet to draft a CB, OT, or WR, which were far bigger needs that could have been helped with draft picks.
Depending on whether the Ravens want to carry two or three QBs will probably determine if Wenning even has a realistic shot at making the 53-man roster this year, as he's not beating Taylor out for the backup job.
Undrafted Free Agents
Sammy Seamster, CB, Middle Tennessee State
With just four corners signed to the current roster, Seamster will have a great chance to earn a spot on the roster if he does well in training camp and in the preseason.
This past season, Seamster recorded 33 tackles, one interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
After a solid senior season, Hurst was being touted as a possible first-round pick in this year's draft.
But in the Belk Bowl against Cincinnati, Hurst broke his leg, effectively killing his draft stock and causing him to go undrafted.
I love this pickup for the Ravens, who are in need of depth at OT, as well as someone to at least challenge Ricky Wagner for the starting right tackle spot.
A.J. Pataialii, DT, Utah State
The 6'3", 307-pound tackle earned second-team All-Mountain West honors and was named third-team All-Mountain West after registering 42 total tackles (3.5 tackles for loss) and one sack.
He's got a tough task ahead of him to crack the 53-man roster this season with a number of defensive lineman already on the roster to go with the addition of fourth-rounder Brent Urban.
Xavius Boyd, LB, Western Kentucky
A 6'1", 239-pound punishing outside backer, Boyd finished this past season leading the team in tackles (103), tackles for loss with (15.5) and sacks (8.5) to go with one forced fumble.
The reigning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year will be tough to keep off an NFL roster this year.
Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Michigan
Toussaint will have a tryout with the Ravens at their rookie camp after rushing for 646 yards and 12 touchdowns this past season.
Fitz was a three-year starter with Michigan, and his most memorable season came as a sophomore in 2011 with 1,041 rushing yards.
An undersized and injury-prone 5'10" back like Fitz is going to have a tough time making an NFL roster.
Derrick Hopkins, DT, Virginia Tech
The 6'0", 312-pound Hopkins played in 13 games in 2013 with nine tackles, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.
He's probably going to end up being just a training camp body.
Jamie Meder, DT, Ashland
Meder didn't get much NFL attention until he played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and later worked out in front of NFL scouts at Ohio State’s Pro Day.
Undersized at 6'2" and 293 pounds, Meder is going to have a tough time getting any snaps in training camp and faces an uphill climb just to survive the first wave of preseason roster cuts.
Jeremiah Taylor, DE, Marshall
Taylor missed nearly the entire 2013 college football season due to a fracture of the L5 disc in his lower back.
His last healthy season came in 2012, when he registered 54 tackles, 8.5 tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks and forced two fumbles.
Taylor looked like a potential NFL player when he was healthy, but it's unknown what he looks like now after a year off from football.
Whats Next for the Baltimore Ravens?
The Ravens will now await the result of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice's third-degree charge of aggravated assault, and if he'll face jail-time. This comes from the incident that involved Rice knocking his wife unconscious at an Atlantic City casino.
If convicted, Rice faced three to five years in prison. Even if he avoids being sent to prison because of this situation, Rice could be suspended for at least one game in 2014, according to Sarah Ellison of Baltimoreravens.com.
Still, he did this while dealing with a serious hip injury that even caused him to miss a game, and if healthy, he'll be a focal point of the offense in 2014.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has already stated that Rice's spot on the roster is not in jeopardy, according to Garrett Downing of Baltimoreravens.com. Harbaugh has been with Rice for his entire NFL career, and he knows Rice's true character:
“There are a lot of facts and a process that has to be worked through in anything like this,” Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of question marks. But Ray’s character, you guys know his character, so you start with that.”
It's also worth noting that Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said he feels good about Rice's side of the story regarding the alleged assault, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
While the Ravens await to see what happens with Rice, they need to look to upgrade and/or add depth to the offensive tackle position.
This is an offensive line that struggled mightily last year while allowing 48 sacks. That was tied with the Buffalo Bills for the fourth-most allowed in the NFL in 2013.
Despite this, the Ravens didn't spend a draft pick on an OT. Perhaps they've got an unsigned veteran free agent in mind that they plan on signing.
Ricky Wagner is the projected starter at right tackle after Michael Oher left in free agency. Wagner played in just 131 offensive snaps in 2013, so he's a big unknown.
The Ravens need to add another tackle in free agency to at least challenge Wagner for the starting right tackle spot.
A lot of the Ravens' struggles in 2013 came because they didn't have an adequate running game, and they allowed their franchise QB, Joe Flacco, to be sacked or pressured far too often.
Thus far in the offseason, the Ravens haven't done enough to fix either of those issues, and they need to look at doing so before the 2014 NFL season begins.