Monday, April 29, 2013
2013 Baltimore Ravens draft analysis
By Jamison Hensley
Let's break down the Baltimore Ravens' 2013 draft:
FIRST-ROUND SPOTLIGHT: The Ravens made it sound like taking Florida safety Matt Elam with the last pick of the first round was a no-brainer for them. Elam stood out to Baltimore because he was one of the few safety prospects in this draft who has the versatility of being physical enough to play in the box and fast enough to play deep coverage. The Ravens completed the overhaul at safety, going from Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard to Elam and Michael Huff. Elam was the third safety taken in the draft, behind Kenny Vaccaro (15th overall to New Orleans) and Eric Reid (18th to San Francisco). The Ravens picked Elam over linebacker Manti Te'o, safety Johnathan Cyprien, and wide receivers Justin Hunter and Robert Woods, all of whom were selected with the first 10 picks of the second round.
IN HINDSIGHT: The Ravens moved up to get the inside linebacker they wanted in the second round (Arthur Brown), but they weren't aggressive in addressing wide receiver. West Virginia's Stedman Bailey was taken two picks before the Ravens' selection in the third round, and Louisiana Tech's Quinton Patton was drafted one pick before the Ravens were on the clock in the fourth round. It makes you wonder whether the Ravens should have released some players (like fullback Vonta Leach) to keep wide receiver Anquan Boldin and his $6 million salary.
BEST VALUE: DE-OLB John Simon, Ohio State. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year lasted until the fourth round. He's known for a relentless motor and for average athleticism. That sounds like a prospect the Ravens drafted in the same round a decade ago, and Jarret Johnson developed into a starter by his third season. Simon was so beloved by Urban Meyer that the Ohio State coach once said he would consider naming a son after him.
TOP LATE-ROUND PICK: DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame. The sixth-round pick is unlikely to see the field this year. After tearing his ACL in the BCS National Championship, he'll essentially be redshirted this season. Multiple knee injuries in college severely hurt his draft stock. If he can stay healthy, the Ravens will look smart in taking a chance on Lewis-Moore, a team captain who has upside as an inside pass-rusher.
SOMEONE WHO DIDN'T LIKE THIS DRAFT: Rolando McClain. The Ravens just didn't draft an inside linebacker. They traded three picks (ones in the second, fifth and sixth rounds) to move up six spots for Brown. When the Ravens signed McClain earlier this month, he was expected to start alongside Jameel McClain in the middle of Baltimore's defense. After McClain's latest arrest and the addition of Brown, you have to wonder how long Rolando McClain will remain on the roster.