Friday, May 13, 2011
Grading the Ravens' 2008 draft
By James Walker
Here is the final installment of our series grading the 2008 drafts in the AFC North. It's often said it takes three years to evaluate a draft, so we took an in-depth look this week at each team's picks at that time.
We conclude with the 2008 draft class of the Baltimore Ravens.
Picks: QB Joe Flacco (first round), RB Ray Rice (second), LB Tavares Gooden (third), Tom Zbikowski (third), Oniel Cousins (third), WR Marcus Smith (fourth), G David Hale (fourth), Haruki Nakamura (sixth), WR Justin Harper (seventh), RB Allen Patrick (seventh)
Analysis: Without a doubt, this turned out to be the best draft of 2008 in the division. The Ravens found their franchise quarterback and starting running back in the first two rounds with Flacco and Rice. Both players are now the young centerpieces Baltimore is building its offense around. Rice, who recorded back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons, has already been to one Pro Bowl. Baltimore also picked up Zbikowski in the third round. He's a part-time starter at safety and may be a full-time option this upcoming season. Later picks such as Cousins and Nakamura have found their way on the field and contributed the past three seasons. The only disappointment from this draft is Gooden. The former third-rounder has been plagued by injuries and never developed into a reliable starting linebacker next to future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. Other than that, this was a stellar draft by general manager Ozzie Newsome and Co. from top to bottom.
AFC North blog draft grade: A-
In case you missed it, here are the 2008 draft grades for the Browns, Bengals and Steelers.