Too Early To Tell

RAVENS BEAT

Ravens Beat

2009 Draft Class Has Had Its Hits, Misses

Grades Incomplete At This Point

December 04, 2009|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley , jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

When it comes to the initial return on this year's draft class, it has been hit or miss.

The Ravens' top three picks were a major hit in Sunday's 20-17 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Offensive tackle Michael Oher helped the Ravens rush for 132 yards. Defensive end Paul Kruger made the game-turning interception in overtime. Cornerback Lardarius Webb led the team with three passes broken up.

Most NFL observers say Oher, the 23rd overall pick, would be selected in the top 10 now. He might increase his value if the Ravens decide to move him to left tackle after this season.

Webb, the Ravens' third-round pick, likely will team with Domonique Foxworth as the starting cornerbacks next season. He erases the memories of David Pittman, a small-school cornerback who never made an impact for the Ravens. In fact, Webb could be the best cornerback drafted by the Ravens since Chris McAlister (1999).

As for Kruger, he stepped up to make one of the biggest plays of the Ravens' season, but he still is trying to find his niche. It's unknown whether he's better suited to be a defensive end or linebacker in the NFL.

The misses came with the last three selections. Linebacker Jason Phillips, a fifth-round pick who was on the bubble at the end of the preseason, was placed on injured reserve. Taken three spots after Phillips was wide receiver Johnny Knox, who has 33 catches and four touchdowns for the Chicago Bears.

The Ravens also selected tight end Davon Drew in the fifth round. He was cut by the Ravens and the Miami Dolphins before being added to the Ravens' practice squad.

The Ravens' last pick was running back Cedric Peerman, a sixth-round selection who was released after the last preseason game. He is now a member of the Detroit Lions' practice squad after being cut by the Cleveland Browns.

Hitting on only half of a class is below the Ravens' gold standard in drafting. From the previous three drafts (2006, 2007 and 2008), 20 of 27 players are either on the Ravens' current 53-man roster or injured reserve.

But the Ravens definitely cashed in on their 2009 investment Sunday, when Oher, Kruger and Webb helped the team keep its playoff hopes alive.

Draft report

A look at the Ravens' draft results over the past five years:

Year Picks Starters On team* Off team

2005 7 1 2 5

2006 10 3 6 4

2007 7 3 6 1

2008 10 3 8 2

2009 6 2 4 2

* - On team means player is on 53-man roster or injured reserve.

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