2011 NFL Draft: Breaking Down the Baltimore Ravens Selections
The 2011 NFL Draft concluded Saturday evening, wrapping three days of draft selections, some of which were big surprises, while others were anticipated for quite a while prior to the draft.
The Ravens selected eight players in the 2011 Draft. Some of these players will contribute on offense, some on defense.
This is a breakdown of the Baltimore Ravens 2011 NFL Draft selections.
Round 1, Pick 27 (27): Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
In the first round, with the 27th overall pick, the Baltimore Ravens selected Jimmy Smith, a cornerback out of Colorado.
The Ravens were supposed to be selecting at 26th overall, but after a trade blunder with the Chicago Bears, the Ravens slipped to 27th overall.
Regardless of the trade mishap, the Ravens still managed to select Jimmy Smith.
Smith is a fast corner with an excellent build, 6'2" and 211 lbs., and he plays a physical style of defense, excelling in man press coverage.
Smith's build is exactly what the Ravens need, considering all of the Ravens corners, except for Cary Williams, a special teamer, were under 6' tall.
Whichever Ravens corner was given the difficult task of matching up with these receivers had a height difference of up to six inches and a significant weight difference as well. This was a challenging task for the cornerback to whom it was assigned.
Smith, on the other hand, can step right in and be a physical presence in the Ravens secondary. He can match up with these big receivers and play up to their level.
Smith may actually be a starter in the 2011 season. I believe he has the skills to step right in and contribute right off the bat.
Smith was great value for the Ravens at 27th overall. Many expected Smith to be drafted in the top fifteen, but he fell to the Ravens due to character concerns. Smith was a great pick for the Ravens.
Pick Grade: A-
For more on the Ravens selection of Jimmy Smith, see: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/683627-2011-nfl-draft-ravens-select-cb-jimmy-smith-in-round-one
Round 2, Pick 26 (58): Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
With the 26th pick in the second round, 58th overall, the Ravens selected Torrey Smith, a wide receiver out of Maryland.
Torrey Smith is a deep threat wide receiver, who can stretch the field for the Ravens offense.
Smith has a solid build, at 6'1" and 204 lbs., and he ran a 4.43 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine.
The Ravens wide receivers were considered some of the slowest in the league in 2010. Their only speedster, Donte Stallworth, ran the ball on end arounds more than actually catching passes.
The Ravens will be able to use the skill set of Smith, who will be used to open up the short passing game for Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason.
Smith was an excellent locker room leader at Maryland, and the Ravens are hoping he will be the same kind of locker room presence in Baltimore.
The selection of Smith at 58th overall was great value for the Ravens. Many mock drafts had Smith going to the Ravens, but in the first round. The Ravens were able to get Jimmy Smith in the first round, and still take Torrey Smith in the second.
Torrey Smith will be a good fit in Baltimore, and will be used to get down the field and make plays.
Pick Grade: A-
Round 3, Pick 21 (75): Jah Reid, OT, Central Florida
The Ravens surprised some fans with the selection of Jah Reid, an offensive tackle out of Central Florida, with their third-round pick, 85th overall.
Jah Reid is a mammoth offensive tackle, at 6'7" and 327 lbs. His great size is ideal for playing the offensive tackle position.
Reid is more of developmental tackle at this point, but with the return of Jared Gaither unlikely, Reid may actually be looking at a chance to start for the Ravens.
Reid is considered a right tackle only, which likely means that Michael Oher will be playing at left tackle, unless the Ravens decide to try Reid on the left side.
The Ravens put offensive guard Marshal Yanda in at right tackle in 2010 when Gaither was injured. Yanda played well, but he is simply far more effective at guard.
If Reid can start at right tackle, then Yanda can go back to guard, where he is one of the best in the NFL.
Although Reid wasn't considered first round talent, he began to climb draft boards prior to the draft. Some experts thought he would go as high as the second round.
The Ravens pick of Jah Reid was solid. Hopefully Reid can step in and start right away for the Ravens.
Pick Grade: B
Round 4, Pick 26 (123): Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
With the 26th pick in the fourth round, 123rd overall, the Ravens selected Indiana wide receiver Tandon Doss.
The Ravens selection of Doss was a classic case of drafting the best player available. He was expected to go in the second round or no later than the third, but he fell to the Ravens at the end of the fourth round.
Doss is a big receiver, at 6'2" and 200 lbs, and he has some of the best hands in the 2011 Draft class.
He doesn't have great speed, but he makes up for it with his ability to run routes well and catch almost anything thrown in his direction.
Doss may be able to have an immediate impact in the Ravens offense, behind Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, and fellow rookie Torrey Smith.
Doss was great value for the Ravens, as he was expected to go in the second, but he slid to nearly the fifth round.
Pick Grade: A
Round 5, Pick 33 (164): Chykie Brown, CB, Texas
With the 33rd selection in the fifth round, 164th overall, the Ravens selected Chykie Brown, a cornerback out of Texas.
Brown is an interesting pick, because he isn't a particularly big corner, at 5'11" and 190 lbs., or a particularly fast corner, and he wasn't much of a steal in the fifth round.
The Ravens likely took Brown because he had experience at both cornerback and safety at Texas. Brown shared starting time with fellow draftees Aaron Williams, who went to the Buffalo Bills, and Curtis Brown, who went to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This pick gives the Ravens more depth at corner. At the very least, Brown should see some time on special teams.
Pick Grade: B-
Round 5, Pick 34 (165): Pernell McPhee, DT, Mississippi State
The very next selection, pick 34, 165th overall in the fifth round, was Pernell McPhee, a defensive tackle out of Mississippi State.
McPhee is a big defensive tackle, 6'3" and 278 lbs., who will play defensive end for the Ravens.
While he is not a speedy pass rusher, he is excellent at stuffing the run, and he still has an effective bull rush.
McPhee, although raw, could develop into a solid defensive end for the Ravens, and he with some learning, he could become an effective pass rusher as well as run stopper.
Pick Grade: B-
Round 6, Pick 15 (180): Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech
This was the most surprising selection for the Ravens, yet it made sense. With the 15th pick in the sixth round, 180th overall, the Ravens selected Tyrod Taylor, quarterback out of Virginia Tech.
The Ravens will most likely lose backup Marc Bulger to free agency, so it make sense that they would add a young, developmental quarterback through the draft.
Taylor may not be the best pure pocket passer in the 2011 Draft, but he is certainly the most athletic. At 6'1" and 217 lbs., Taylor ran a 4.51 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, the fastest time among the quarterbacks.
While Taylor may take some time to develop as a passer, the Ravens may chose to use Taylor as a runningback, or even a wide receiver.
Taylor's athletic ability is exciting, and it will be interesting to see how the Ravens will choose to use Taylor over the next few years.
Draft Grade: B
Round 7, Pick 22 (225): Anthony Allen, RB, Georgia Tech
The Ravens made their final selection in the 2011 Draft at 225th overall. The Ravens used the 22nd pick in the seventh round on Anthony Allen, a runningback from Georgia Tech.
Allen is well built, at 6'1" 228 lbs., and he is a bruising runner. Allen's build and running style is similar to that of Ravens veteran Willis McGahee.
The addition of Allen could spell the end for McGahee, who the Ravens are expected to cut. McGahee is due $6.5 million in 2011, which is far too much money for an aging backup runner.
While Allen is certainly not the cause of McGahee's release, but he may be the cure in time. Allen, with some development, could become the main backup to Ray Rice.
Allen is cut in the mold of McGahee, a big bruiser who runs hard and breaks a lot of tackles. In time, Allen may be the thunder to Ray Rice's lightning.
Pick Grade: B
Another Successful Draft
All in all, the Baltimore Ravens concluded another successful draft. They managed to make the most of their picks, which is almost always the case.
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome worked his magic again, making selection like Jimmy Smith, Torrey Smith, and Tandon Doss, all of whom fell farther then they should have, based on their talent.
Looking back on the 2011 NFL Draft, it is clear that it was another successful draft for the Baltimore Ravens.
Draft Grade: B+