Report card: Ravens 2012 draft

April 29, 2012|Baltimore Sun staff

Baltimore Sun reporters and editors give their early grades for the Ravens' 2012 draft performance.

Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens beat reporter: As usual with the Ravens, there was a lot to like about their draft haul. To get Courtney Upshaw in the second round while also acquiring another pick was a huge coup. You can bet that there was a lot of head shaking going on around NFL war rooms that another potential impact defensive player had fallen into the Ravens' laps. Bernard Pierce and Tommy Streeter also have a lot of athleticism and upside. Perhaps my expectations were a little too high, but I thought the Ravens would come out of the draft with an offensive lineman whom they could immediately pencil in as a starter, and a wide receiver who would immediately play a prominent role. I'm not sure you could say that about guard Kelechi Osmele, who some scouts feel has a lot of question marks, or about Streeter. Director of player development Eric DeCosta acknowledged that not everything broke the Ravens' way, and I'd imagine part of the front office's frustration stems from the fact that several of their top receiver targets didn't make it to them. But overall, the Ravens filled a couple of needs and added plenty of depth, two of their established goals. Grade: B.

Matt Vensel, blogger/reporter: I'm hesitant to give a grade based on evaluations on these players because 1) I'd be lying to you if I told you that I watched one second of Asa Jackson's or Gino Gradkowski's game tape, and 2) I haven't gotten a chance to get to know any of these guys yet and get a feel for what makes them tick. But I do feel comfortable giving a grade based on how they tried to address needs. The offensive line was the big one, and in Osemele and Gino Gradkowski, they got two athletic, versatile linemen who should fit into their zone scheme. I loved the Courtney Upshaw pick. He will likely be the bookend edge rusher that will make things a little easier for Terrell Suggs. Streeter has a ton of natural athleticism, and if the coaching staff does its thing, he may end up being a steal. And most of these players bring something to the table on special teams, an area that John Harbaugh really wants to get in gear. Check back for my official grade in three years, but based on their draft-weekend maneuvering, I give them a solid B. I'm eager to see how some of these little-known prospects pan out, but team officials acknowledged they had missed out on other players they coveted. Down the road, we can judge how well they did reacting on the fly. Grade: B.

Kevin Cowherd, columnist: The Ravens tried to address their most pressing needs in this draft. I really like the Upshaw pick -- he'll push Paul Kruger at outside linebacker and contribute right away. And they love Osemele, the mammoth tackle from Iowa State. But after that, this draft class is dotted with question marks and projects. The cry from Ravens fans has always been: "In Ozzie we trust." They'll really have to trust Ozzie Newsome's judgment with this bunch. Grade: B.

Ron Fritz, head of sports: Hard to give Ozzie Newsome an A here because we don't see any slam-dunk starters from this draft. Yes, the Ravens have few holes to fill, but I don't think you can pencil any names in as a starter. It would be nice if one of the offensive linemen drafted takes over left guard and Upshaw replaces Jarret Johnson, but, again, it remains to be seen. Grade: B+

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