Monday, July 16, 2007

GAITHER PICK HAS LITTLE DOWNSIDE

The Jared Gaither supplemental pick has very little downside and enormous upside. At 6’9” and 350 pounds he is an imposing behemoth possessing great speed for a man of his size, clocking in at around 5.1 in the 40.

However the pick is a bit out of character for the Ravens. Typically the team seeks out players who are tough, smart, possess a thirst to compete and are good citizens who have shown solid leadership skills. Gaither may be tough but if his grades are any indication, he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed and his 16 bench press reps of 225 pounds during his workout might indicate a questionable work ethic. He was also benched at Maryland after pouting about being switched from left tackle to right tackle.

Gaither is hardly the prototypical Ravens’ prospect.

Before selecting the former Terrapin, the Ravens have never dipped into the supplemental pool of talent to forego a future draft pick. Yet despite going against the grain, this pick makes sense for the Ravens.

The first thing you have to take into consideration is the Ravens roster. Given its depth in many areas (offensive tackle being perhaps the sole exception), the team will be hard pressed to find a fifth round ’08 draft eligible player that can make an impact next year. That player might not even make the final ’08 roster. It would have been no surprise to see the Ravens take a flyer on a player like Gaither at that draft position in ’08 and if you accept that as a possibility, why not get the player in your camp a year earlier?

The Ravens also have a decent pipeline to Ralph Friedgen given the relationship that Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti has with the University of Maryland. Undoubtedly the Ravens did their homework given that pipeline and obviously they gained a degree of comfort with Gaither that persuaded them to take this calculated risk.

The Ravens have a need for depth at tackle and with Gaither the price was right. It will be interesting to see if Gaither makes the final 53 man roster. Given that Gaither was a supplemental pick, one would think his chances are decent to make the final cut since sneaking his not so svelte frame through waivers and on to the practice squad are slim.

But there may be another way for Gaither.

If you recall Tony Pashos, coincidentally a fifth round pick in ’03, spent his rookie season on IR with a mysterious hand injury. Pashos spent that season basically building a new body to prepare him for the NFL. Don’t be surprised to see something similar with Gaither. Gaither’s athleticism is superior to Pashos’ and one would hardly question the way the Ravens developed Pashos.

Gaither is a relative bargain for the Ravens. He’s a bit like a penny stock that you hope will surprise you one day but you don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

If it fails, no worries.

If Gaither fails, live and learn but again, no worries.

3 comments :

Perry said...

I read in a couple of places that he had an issue with a shoulder injury which might have kept the number of reps down. Overall a good pickup and I wouldn't be surprised to see him on IR either. That'll give him a year to pick up the offense and learn the profession.

http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/patriots/?p=1289

RayRocks said...

I hope he isnt placed on IR becuase what if Yanda isnt ready to step in and play tackle and something happens to Terry or JO. I think Gaither would be able to do an average job as a RT to start if need be this season. He has all the tools, he just needs to get his head on straight. As long as he stays out of trouble he should be fine and i look foward to him starting for this team as soon as next year.

RR

William said...

I love the pickup...big time potential for virtually no risk. Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta covet the 4th round and higher. With the amount of compensatory picks we're getting on an annual basis, our tradeable 5th, 6th, and 7th round picks are like poker chips. Throw them on the table and use them to make subtle moves.

Chalk up one more on the plus side for Baltimore's Front Office.