Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ravens 2004 Draft was a trainwreck...and that's being unkind to the train

As the draft approaches we will hear time and time again about the Ravens war room prowess on draft day. It’s hard to argue with that opinion although clearly the team has failed with alarming regularity after Round 1 on the draft’s first day. That said, the Ravens’ brain trust is consistently among the best.

But clearly that wasn’t the case during that last weekend in April back in 2004…

The Ravens were without a first round pick that year, the price paid for moving up in 2003 to draft Kyle Boller. Their first selection was in Round 2 (No. 51) and the nod went to Dwan Edwards, a player who to this day is not much more than an adequate back up. He has 41 career tackles including 1 sack to his credit playing in 40 of a possible 64 games. Prior to 2007 when he started in 13 games, Edwards started in only 1 regular season contest.

Next with the 82nd pick was the recently departed Devard Darling who played in 30 of a possible 64 regular season games as a Raven and “racked up” 20 career catches. He was inactive or his coaches chose not to play him in 34 of those games. Darling’s only start was his last game as a Raven.

The Ravens fourth round pick that year was traded to Jacksonville for WR Kevin Johnson. That one year rental produced 35 catches for 373 yards and 1 TD in 16 games. Johnson left Baltimore after 1 season and moved on to Detroit. He has been out of the NFL since 2005.

Roderick Green was the next draft selection in 2004 for the Ravens chosen in Round 5 with the 153rd overall pick. Green’s physical skills never projected well between the lines and he didn't amount to anything more than a decent special teams player. In two seasons with the Ravens Green never started a game (he’s yet to start a game in the NFL after 4 seasons) while contributing 17 tackles and two sacks.

The balance of the Ravens’ 2004 draft included Josh Harris (No. 187), Clarence Moore (No. 199), Derek Abney (No. 244) and Brian Rimpf (No. 246).

Harris is now a substitute teacher in Westerville, Ohio, where he attended high school. In 2007 he was the backup quarterback for the AFL Columbus Destroyers where he played in 3 games as a special teams player.

Clarence Moore caught 24 passes as a rookie in 2004 followed by only 5 catches in total during the ’05 and ’06 campaigns. He started 8 games for the Ravens and is currently out of the NFL.

Derek Abney was cut by the Ravens during camp in 2004. He later received looks from the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. Both teams took a pass and Abney has yet to see an NFL field in a regular season game. He is out of the NFL.

Brian Rimpf started 7 games for the Ravens from 2004-2006 and he too is now out of the NFL.

So all tolled the seven players from the draft class of ’04 have produced a grand total of 30 NFL starts out of a possible 448 games (16 games x 4 seasons x 7 players). Considering it another way, only 1 of those 7 players has started since selected in just 47% of the Ravens games played since 2004. Only 3 of the eight players overall (Kevin Johnson included) are still in the league.

So are you among those that think the Ravens haven’t been as good since Phil Savage left? If so, I would agree. Savage in large part is responsible for the carnage left from the 2004 NFL Draft. The affects still linger.

The next time you find yourself lamenting Savage’s loss, reacquaint yourself with these staggering numbers and come back to reality.


Anonymous said...

The last two paragraphs aren't clear to me. Are you saying that the Ravens are not worse of without Savage, but simply suffering the consequences of poor drafting in 2003 and 2004?

Tony Lombardi said...


Anonymous said...

Of course, Ozzie had said he did not want to trade future first round picks after the 2004 experience. Perhaps that is why he never managed to pull the trigger on a trade-up for Brady Quinn. Interesting that it was Savage who did it. Wonder what lesson he learned from that mess.
I think Savage's departure hurt us because of the insider information he carried about our players, enabling him to do things like offer Chester Taylor a large contract, and pick Derek Anderson off of waver wires. Not to mention, when the Ravens tried to cut Jamal Lewis, it seemed they wanted to sign him to a lower salary, but again Savage moved in. He's been gumming up our works for several years, but that should soon stop.

Anonymous said...

Phil Savage is a mover and a shaker compared with the slow moving Ozzie Newsome. Much of the credit that Ozzie received in the past was due to the smarts of Phil Savage on draft day. Granted, the 2004 draft was probably the worst in history, but do we really know who made all of the final decisions on draft that particular day? It was well known in the organization that by 2004, Phil Savage was a short timer being courted by many other NFL teams and it was a given that his days in Baltimore were numbered. That is when Ozzie took the reins 100% on the draft picks. I am hoping that Eric DeCosta's influence will produce a productive 2008 draft. This draft is probably the most crucial draft in Ravens history, because we are at the crossroads of rebuilding. The Ray Lewises and J.O's of the world are near retirement and our other stellar draft picks from yesteryear are getting near 30 years of age. I personally wish the Ravens could have kept Savage and demoted Newsome, but that would have caused all kinds of publicity nightmares. Yes, Cleveland is going to be a much improved team and I project the Ravens to finish 3rd in the division. We are up against the cap and that too, has handicapped this team from making the necessary improvements to be a contender now and in the next few years.

Kill the savage beast said...

Interesting how Anonymous II can absolve Savage from blame for the worst Ravens' draft ever yet get the credit for all of the things that went well in the front office prior to his departure. And then to think that a Christian man like Savage would intentionally sabotage the Ravens prior to leaving just because he expected to be elsewhere the following year...What a crock!

Suppose Cleveland didn't hire him and he had to return to the Ravens? What then? By the way it was Savage's idea to trade up and get Boller. Of course Ozzie had to ok it but it was Savage's brainchild while jogging that morning. He's said as much in public.

Lastly Savage was on thin ice until the Browns' solid year this season. Now he's up for an extension. We'll see what he does with a second place schedule. That goes for Derek Anderson too who will prove to be a fluke. Brady Quinn will be starting and the Browns will have the highest paid back up in the league.

Anonymous said...

I'm anon I for the record.

Savage was still with the team through the 2004 year, and even if he was going to move on, doing his current job well was only going to benefit him. A fact that still burns the Jim Fassels of the world. He can't be cleared of responsibility for the 2003/2004 drafts. While Terrell Suggs was a success, Kyle Boller set us back years.

I think the biggest argument against Savage leaving hurting the Ravens is that the past 3 drafts haven't been that bad. The 2007 draft has begun to look quite good. All nine of our drafted players contributed this year (including Jared Gaither), with 4 earning some starting time, and Antwaan Barnes in particular looking like a steal. The 2005,2006 drafts had some questionable choices (Chris Chester, Dan Cody), but even there, I don't think the Ravens had any way of knowing how fragile Dan Cody was. We also got Jason Brown and Dawan Landry in the later rounds of those drafts. In some ways, we will have more ammunition in this draft than we have had for years. I'm looking forward to seeing what we will do with it.

E-ROC said...

Yeah, the 2004 draft was a disaster, but that happens from time to time. Trading up for QBs is never a good idea, IMO. I think Brady Quinn is an exception given that he played in a pro offense at Notre Dame.

Ozzie Newsome is pretty good. He has had a lot of hits than misses. Sometimes, he moves a little too slow in free agency like this year. I still think the Ravens should sign Josh Thomas. He's an underrated defensive end who is a low risk, high reward. That's how the Ravens operate this year given their cap situation. Josh Thomas could be a gem.