- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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All week the Baltimore Ravens blog has looked back at the past five drafts. Let's wrap up the series with 2014:
The Baltimore Ravens don't make the playoffs last season without the immediate impact of this draft class.
While the Ravens only had one full-time starter (inside linebacker C.J. Mosley) among their rookies, five others played key supporting roles for a team that made the divisional playoff round. This first-year group is full of potential, which is more than what you could have said about the 2013 draft class after one season.
Mosley, the No. 17 overall pick, is the first Ravens rookie to reach the Pro Bowl, and Timmy Jernigan (second round) is considered the top rookie 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. The Ravens feel like they landed two first-round selections in 2014.
Tight end Crockett Gillmore (third round) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (fourth round) were the primary backups for most of the season, and The Ravens unexpectedly got a total of 11 starts (including postseason) from guard John Urschel (fifth round) and left tackle James Hurst (undrafted).
Still, coach John Harbaugh said these rookies probably have the best football I.Q. of any class that he's had with the Ravens.
First round: LB C.J. Mosley (pictured). He was the only player in the NFL with at least 125 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions in 2014. The runner-up to the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award, Mosley finished as the leading tackler for a defense that ranked sixth in fewest-points allowed. Grade: A-plus.
Second round: DT Timmy Jernigan. He is expected to replace Haloti Ngata in the starting lineup this season. When Jernigan filled in for a suspended Ngata last December, the Ravens went 3-1 and allowed 3.5 yards per rush during that time (eighth-best in the NFL over that span). Grade: B-plus.
Third round: FS Terrence Brooks. The Ravens were hoping he would fill the void at safety, but he didn't pick up the defense quickly enough. A knee injury ended Brooks' season in December and will force him to miss at least the first six games of the 2015 season. Grade: C.
Third round: TE Crockett Gillmore. He stepped up to be the team's No. 2 tight end in Dennis Pitta's absence, and he was valuable as a run blocker as the inline tight end. Gillmore has trouble getting consistent separation in the passing game, and he finished with 10 catches and one touchdown. Grade: B.
Fourth round: DE Brent Urban. He was limited in offseason workouts because of ankle surgery, and he was lost for the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in July. Urban is expected to compete for the starting defensive end spot if he can stay healthy. Grade: Incomplete.
Fourth round: RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (pictured). He wasn't as effective in the red zone and in short yardage as the Ravens would have hoped, but he ranked fourth among rookie running backs with a 4.2-yard per carry average. Taliaferro could be the Ravens' long-term backup at running back. Grade: B-minus.
Fifth round: G John Urschel. The Ravens went 4-1 in games he started last season, including two playoff games. He could be a starting guard or center by next season. Grade: B-plus.
Sixth round: QB Keith Wenning. He didn't impress in the preseason or training camp, and the Ravens kept him on the practice squad all season. There are no guarantees that he's on the team this year, especially if the Ravens draft a quarterback in the later rounds this year. Grade: C-minus.
Seventh round: WR Michael Campanaro. He showed a lot of promise even though he was sidelined for a large chunk of the season with hamstring injuries. Depending on the Ravens' draft, there is a chance he could end up being the slot receiver and returner this season. Grade: C-plus.
Overall grade for Ravens' 2014 draft: A-minus.
Early contributions from rookies helped team to playoff appearance.