Off-Season Run Down: Part 2 (Ravens)

Coming off their worst season since 1996, the Baltimore Ravens had some big holes to fill. Then came the news that former Pro Bowlers OL Jon Ogden and QB Steve McNair were retiring, and a glaring need emerged. Oh and let’s not forget the Ravens uncanny ability to always need a QB. With that in mind the Ravens drafted like such:

Round 1 – Joe Flaco, QB, Delaware (18)

Round 2 – Ray Rice, RB, Rutgers (55)

Round 3 – Tavares Gooden, OLB, Miami (FL) (71)

Tom Zbikowski, S, Norte Dame (86)

Oniel Cousins, OT, UTEP (99)

Round 4 – Marcus Smith, WR, New Mexico (106)

David Hale, OT, Weber St. (133)

Round 6 – Haruki Nakamura, S, Cincinnati (206)

Round 7 – Justin Harper, WR, Virgina Tech (215)

Allen Patrick, RB, Oklahoma (240)

When it comes to the Browns, I feel that the Ravens are still a few years away from competing, but there’s a catch 22 to this scenario, the Ravens aren’t getting any younger and most of their defense has been around the block a couple times. Who knows when they’ll retire but players like Ray Lewis aren’t going to be around forever, and we began to see that this off-season with both Ogden’s and McNair’s retirements.

I was a bit shocked that the Ravens actually spent a 1st round pick on a QB with former 1st rounder Kyle Boller and Heisman winner Troy Smith both on the team’s roster. Interestingly enough it’s been Smith who performed the best at the team’s minicamp. (On a personal note as an OSU fan also, I pray that Smith is not subjected to have to play much longer for the Ravens.) The pick of Ray Rice I believe will really benefit the team as well, and it looks as if Cousins has also been impressive. Aside from these three look for the others to help out on special teams and be more developmental kinds of guys, at least for this coming season. That’s not to say that a guy like Zbikowski won’t contribute eventually, and personally I really would have liked for the Browns to have drafted him.

Draft grade – C, like I stated before I can’t for the life of me figure out why the Ravens selected Flaco, I felt that they really reached for him at 18, but I will admit the kid has all the intangibles to be a great QB in a few years; he kind of reminds me of Derek Anderson, with what he brings to the table, he’s tall, isn’t entirely mobile, and has a cannon arm, plus I know that Ozzie Newsome hated to lose Anderson a few years back. Ray Rice should be a good back-up for Willis McGahee, while the others will be developing over the course of the season. Though I felt that the Ravens could have better drafted by need, Newsome’s track record has proven to be right more times than not.

Season Prediction – 6-10 3rd in AFC North

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