Friday, April 23, 2010

Dez'd and confused!


From the start of the draft folks repeatedly asked me who I thought the Ravens would take.

Tough question really because as I blogged before, I don’t think the Ravens knew who they would take.

But that was a cop out of an answer so instead of the cop out, my oft repeated reply tonight was staged in three categories:

1. Who do I think might be available and who from that group might the Ravens take that I would be ok with?

2. Who do I think might be available and who from that group do I hope they pass on?

3. And finally, a pair of players that I didn’t think would fall to them but if they did, boy would I love them in purple.

So, those were my categories…

For No. 1 I listed Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty, Kyle Wilson and Jared Odrick.

For No. 2 my frightful list included Jermaine Gresham, Terrence Cody and DeMaryius Thomas.

And for 3, my guys were Brandon Graham and Dez Bryant.

The players from list No. 1 were all selected relatively close to the Ravens at No. 25 and therefore I see them as fair value picks. Not steals, but solid nonetheless.

Gresham predictably went to the Bengals and I breathed a sigh of relief – but not because he’s a bad pick. I just think that given the draft’s depth at tight end, there’s no reason to burn that pick for a guy with questionable blocking skills on a team built around the run.

Terrence Cody’s man cleavage made me question his desire to excel.

DeMaryius Thomas while a gifted athlete to me represented a player never challenged at the collegiate level and never forced to really execute the complete wide receiver route tree because he was so athletically superior to opposing defensive backs. Plus Georgia Tech’s pre-dominantly run first offense never really challenged him to make pre-snap adjustments and get in psych with his quarterback. THAT is an every down occurrence in the NFL and at No. 25, I want a player ready to produce in 2010. I’m not seeing Thomas that way.

Now to category three…

Brandom Graham simply just makes plays in the offensive backfield. Whether it be in run support or chasing down the chucker, this guy is a baller. That said, at No. 13 in the draft I’m thinking, “slight reach.”

Dez Bryant is the guy I really wanted for the Ravens. You see I’m not one of those guys who thinks the Ravens defense needs retooling. They were the No. 3 defense overall in 2009 and that happened during a season in which they were adjusting to a new D-Coordinator.

A No. 3 defense is plenty good to win it all and let’s make no mistake about it, Greg Mattison’s troops were NOT the reason the team failed in the playoffs in Indianapolis. That burden rests on the shoulders of Flacco & Co.

In many ways the best defense is a productive and sometimes lethal offense. It can force opposing offenses to be one-dimensional.

So when Dez Bryant had slipped to New England there was a buzz in the air at Manhattan Grill where I took in Round 1 of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Bryant has game. He has speed, size, hands, physicality and change of direction skills. Mix him in with a maturing Flacco, Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Donte Stallworth and suddenly you have an offense that screams, “danger.”

I’m thinking Lost in Space Robot B-9 right about now…

Danger plus a top end of the spectrum defense spells AFC Championship Game or better in my mind.

I’m not sure what happened when the Ravens were one pick away from Dez.

Did they not want him?

Did the fact that Bryant is represented by the agent (Eugene Parker) who orchestrated an insanely unproductive hold out for Michael Crabtree weigh in?

Or did New England (a frequent trading partner of the Ravens) simply want to keep Bryant out of their own conference, opting to peddle him to Jerry Jones?

Choosing Bryant would have been huge for the Ravens from the outside looking in.
The buzz of anticipation in the air was zapped as we watched in a collective state of uncomfortably numb NFL Network and ESPN cameras showing a celebratory Dez Bryant and family just above the Dallas Cowboy logo.

Yet before the disappointment of the Ravens’ failure to land an obtainable Bryant could actually seep in, we learned that the Ravens acquired the Broncos’ 2nd, 3rd and 4th round choices in exchange for the Ravens No. 1.

In a deep draft, that was an opportune exchange for the Ravens.

Thank you Tim Tebow.

Thank you Josh McDaniels.

Let’s hope by Saturday night we can also say, “Thank you Ozzie Newsome.”

11 comments :

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure the Ravens have taken advantage yet of this supposedly deep draft. Sergio Kindle seems like a good value pick, but he's like the 15th LB on the roster now, the deepest position on the team. We didn't really need help there. Terence Cody and Ed Dickson weren't rated nearly as high as others the Ravens passed on. They seem to be projects. In a draft where the team desperately needs a quality CB as their number one priority by far, they saw four go off the board between the #25 and #43 picks. Not sure there are any good ones left now who can contribute in their rookie year. Focus on 4th round should be OL depth, primarily at Tackle.

Simon Cowell said...

It's interesting when guys who pick up the sports section on the weekend know more than professionals who spend an entire year studying players.

Who the f@*k are these clowns who do these scouting reports for the networks? How and when did they earn their NFL PHD's? Why is their word the gospel over the reports scouts have spent countless hours assembling?

Just because ESPN or NFLN has a player ranked higher than the teams, does that mean the teams are wrong? Sorry but I'd lean towards the team.

Are the music critics who follow the music business better than the musicians they critique?

If they were they'd be making records.

Get the picture?

Rocket Scientist said...

Hey Anon, name a CB who isn't a project where the Ravens picked?

Hey are you Charlie Casserly?

Gil Brandt?

That slappy on 105.7 the fan?

Anonymous said...

Simon - Yes, I'd like to lean towards the team, but the Ravens have been patently bad picking between the 2nd-7th rounds the last five years. I trust the scouting reports more.

Rocket - You missed my point. The CBs the Ravens passed on were the four who were drafted between the 25th and 43rd picks, the distance the Ravens dropped as part of their trade with the Broncos. Those CBs are not projects.

Anonymous said...

love the Cody pick. Gregg is on his last leg. Love the Dickson and Pitta picks...both guys are big, can run, catch, and should be huge targets for Flacco. Cam loves TEs in our offense and we've been hampered by a lack of a good #2.

Juan Don said...

Anon1--What are you smoking? "Patently drafting bad players?" Do yourself a favor and look at the last four drafts and prove it. Seriously? Are you really serious? Gaither was a 5th round pick. Yanda a 3rd, Jason Brown a 4th, McClain a Pro-Bowl 4th, Rice a Pro-Bowl 2nd, Landry a 5th, Webb a 3rd, Koch a 6th, Zbikowski, Ellerbe a Undrafted gem....not to mention the 1s that are big hits...if they were drafting bad players, why are they consistently regarded as one of best front-office and drafting groups in the entire NFL? Are YOU smarter than everyone else?

Anonymous said...

Call me crazy.....Aren't the Ravens one of only four teams to make the playoffs in three of the last four years? Surely they are doing something right in regards to drafting players and building their team. When you see the young talent that we've added (players like Flacco, Rice, Ngata, and Oher) not to mention veterans like Bolden and Birk, it seems petty to criticize the front-office for picking bad players. After all, as Parcells has said, "You are what your record says you are". This is a team that is young, successful, and on the come. I'll take the three playoff wins in the last two years and the positive signs for the future. Every team has their misses in the draft. For fun, look at New England's drafts over the past five years and compare them to ours. I'm betting that Newsome and DeCosta will continue to build this team the right way. Will be be a Super Bowl champion? Who knows? But I'll take their consistent ability to field a winner (six playoff appearances in ten years, three in the past four) as evidence that they are doing A LOT more right than wrong.

Jerry B said...

Anon (1)--
I bet you criticized the L. Webb pick last year. Most of us did. That's my point.

Anonymous said...

Yanda, McClain, Rice, Landry, Webb...these are the only 2nd-7th rounders of the last five years who have performed above expectations of their draft level so far. Koch is an above average punter but team didn't need to spend a draft choice on one. Zbikowski was a 3rd rounder and hasn't had an opportunity to perform at that level yet. He might still count as a good one. Chester is close but not quite as good as a 2nd round choice should be. Gaither was chosen in the supplemental draft...doesn't count. Only Ellerbe and Jameel McClain have contributed at all as UFAs. That's it folks. There are about 23 or so other 2nd-7th rounders in the last five years and about 70 UFAs that are still works in progress, never made it, bombed, or performed below the expectations of their draft level. You tell me how well the team is drafting after the 1st round. It's the brilliance of the 1st round picks that keeps the team as playoff-caliber, but the starting 22 as a whole is getting older. This was a critical draft. We need at least four of these guys to pan out and be ready to start and play well within two years.

Now where are we going to help at CB??

The Truth said...

Anon you are a real gem. You probably think you can perform brain surgery because you regularly watch House.

Sdot Ravens said...

Anon..are u high? Name any other team who has scored gold on most of their draft picks every year....the amount of times the ravens have found success in rounds 2-7 is amazing...even moron like urself should be able to see this...unbelievable