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Re-grading the Baltimore Ravens' 2011 draft

4/22/2015

All week the Baltimore Ravens blog will look back and grade the past five drafts. Let's continue with 2011:

This is a timely one because the Ravens selected three impact players -- which is the sign of a quality draft -- and all three got paid this offeason.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith signed a four-year, $48 million extension ($21 million guaranteed) with the Ravens, wide receiver Torrey Smith struck a five-year, $40 deal ($22 million guaranteed) with the 49ers and pass rusher Pernell McPhee reached a five-year, $38.5 million contract ($15.5 million) with the Bears. That's a total of $58.5 million in guaranteed money.

The drafting of Smith in the first round was a bit of a risk. It came one year after Baltimore gambled by taking Sergio Kindle with the top pick in the draft. But the Ravens believed Smith learned from his past mistakes and they got a steal with the No. 27 overall pick.

There were some debatable decisions after that. The Ravens chose Torrey Smith over Randall Cobb in the second round. They whiffed on Jah Reid and Tandon Doss in the third and fourth rounds. And, in the fifth round, Baltimore selected Chykie Brown when Byron Maxwell was still on the board.

Overall, it's considered a good draft if you can add three significant impact players to replenish talent, and the Ravens certainly got that in 2011 with Jimmy Smith, Torrey Smith and Pernell McPhee. If anyone doubts that, all you have to do is look at how much these players are coveted.

First round: CB Jimmy Smith. He had a breakthrough season in 2013, and he was establishing himself as one of the top rising cornerbacks in the NFL in 2014. Smith has the size to press receivers at the line and the speed to run with them. His streak of not allowing a touchdown is at 11 games. Smith is the Ravens' most talented corner since Chris McAlister. Grade: A-minus.

Second round: WR Torrey Smith. The knock on Smith is he never developed into a No. 1 receiver, but the Ravens got good value with Smith. He stretched the field like no other Ravens player before him, recording a team-record 16.9 yards per-catch average. Only two Ravens players (Derrick Mason and Todd Heap) produced more receiving yards and only one (Heap) scored more touchdowns than Smith. Grade: B.

Third round: OL Jah Reid. He was the biggest disappointment of this draft class, managing seven career starts due to injuries and uninspired play. Reid played a career-low four games and 10 offensive snaps in 2014. The Ravens re-signed Reid this offseason for depth, but there is no guarantee that he makes the team. Grade: F.

Fourth round: WR Tandon Doss. Joe Flacco selected Doss after watching tape of six wide receivers who were expected to be available in the middle rounds. The chemistry never developed between them as Doss finished with 26 catches and one touchdown in two seasons. The one positive was Doss led the NFL in punt return average while filling in for Jacoby Jones in 2013. Grade: C-minus.

Fifth round: CB Chykie Brown. He failed to develop into a nickelback, much less a starter. Brown made two career starts for the Ravens in four seasons. In 131 snaps last season, he was flagged four times and gave up two long touchdowns, including the 77-yard winning touchdown to A.J. Green in the opener. Brown did make contributions on special teams. Grade: D.

Fifth round: LB Pernell McPhee. The biggest surprise of this Ravens' draft class, McPhee became one of the top situational pass-rushers in the league last season. Only J.J. Watt recorded more quarterback hits than him in 2014. As a measure of how much he developed, McPhee was ranked as the No. 9 free agent this year. Not bad for the 165th player selected four years ago. Grade: B-plus.

Sixth round: QB Tyrod Taylor. It's difficult to judge Taylor because he was rarely used. He threw a total of 35 passes in four seasons of regular season play. Grade: Incomplete.

Seventh round: RB Anthony Allen. He was a key special teams performer for the 2012 Super Bowl team, making key blocks on several of Jacoby Jones' big returns. He was also second on that team in special teams tackles. Allen struggled to make an impact as a running back, and he lasted two seasons before being cut. Allen was the second-leading rusher in the CFL in 2014. Grade: C-minus.

Overall grade for Ravens' 2011 draft: B-minus.