Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Ravens should never allow first round picks to wear No. 89


Travis Taylor is generally recognized as one of the Ravens few first round flops. The former Florida Gator wide receiver fell far short of his professional projection and in large part his failures in Baltimore and ports of call elsewhere are centered upon toughness or lack thereof.

The Ravens learned a hard lesson with Taylor and the team would like to think that it would not repeat that 2000 NFL Draft mistake again. Some might argue that Ozzie Newsome and company were repeat offenders in 2005 when they drafted Mark Clayton.

Clayton has hardly developed into the playmaking receiver that the team expected and some might say that at best he’s an adequate No. 2 receiver at the NFL level.

Because of his overall likability and perceived toughness when compared to Taylor, Clayton isn’t as quickly labeled a first round bust the way Steve Spurrier product is yet statistically speaking, the argument could be made that both players who have worn the No. 89 for the Ravens are equally disappointing.

Consider their respective career statistics as Ravens:

Player - Rec. - YDS - Avg. - TD

Taylor - 204 -2,758 - 13.5 - 15
Clayton - 234 - 3,116 - 13.3 - 12

Taylor played with quarterbacks such as Tony Banks, Trent Dilfer, Jeff Blake, Elvis Grbac, Chris Redman, Anthony Wright and Kyle Boller. Clayton caught balls from Boller, Steve McNair and Joe Flacco. Relatively speaking Clayton enjoyed far more consistency and proficiency from his quarterback plus Clayton benefitted from playing opposite Derrick Mason who has outclassed any receiver who played opposite Taylor.

A current poll on Ravens24x7.com asking visitors who was the team’s biggest first round disappointment shows Kyle Boller with 61% of the vote with Taylor a distant second at 35% of the vote. Clayton has gathered just 3% of the vote with cornerback Duane Starks pulling in the final 1 percent.

It’s been said that good guys finish last.

In the case of this poll the good guy Clayton is benefitting from fan goodwill because his performance, stats and other favorable circumstances when compared to Taylor clearly do not justify such a large disparity in the voting.

4 comments :

Anonymous said...

TL - What do you think about Clayton returning kickoffs and punts in 2010? As the #3,4,or 5 WR, he has to play special teams, and I think he was a standout returner in college, right?

Tony Lombardi said...

One of the things that has always puzzled me about Clayton is how easily he falls to the ground, oftentimes after barely being touched. It's as though his legs don't quite catch up to his head and he loses his balance.

His suddenness and change of direction skills you would think would be ideal for bubble screens as well as providing yards after catch. And you might also think that would help him as a kick or punt return specialist. But it has never materialized.

I looked back to Clayton's college career at Oklahoma. The former Sooner Clayton finished his four year career with 6 KORs for 120 yards (20.0 avg.) and 7 punt returns for 101 yards (14.4 avg.) and 1 TD...He carried the ball 14 times for 82 yards (5.9 avg.).

For me, this isn't standout.

That said to stick with the team at a salary of $2.3 million, he needs to be more than just a No. 4 receiver and that's prior to the draft...

Anonymous said...

Must be a slow time of the year. The Blogs have been painfully boring recently. Judging by the amount of quality comments (not), the peanut gallery agrees.

Drew Forester said...

Good points about Taylor. He's a whipping dog for the haters but as you point out, he's not that far removed from Clayton.