Early Impressions Of Draft Picks

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The Ravens aren't expecting their seven draft picks to contribute early, which isn't a bad thing.  

That is less of an indictment on their talent and more of a representation of the depth of Baltimore's roster.

"We've got some depth. I think we expect them to be the best they can be, and we're really hopeful that it's really good," said Head Coach John Harbaugh.  "I would say we don't have expectations [of the rookies]. We're not going to say we expect this guy to be that. We don't want to put a label on it. But we're hoping that they exceed whatever hopes we have. We want the most for them."

The Ravens would, however, be happy if any one of the rookies did excel.  

With that being said, here is a look at some early impressions of the draft picks coming out of this week's rookie camp:

  • Sergio Kindle, 2nd Round (43rd)
    6-foot-3, 250 pounds
    Early Impression: Kindle jumps off the field with his athleticism and nose for the ball.  He is making the transition from pass-rushing defensive end to outside linebacker, and his biggest adjustment is going to be dropping in coverage.  Because rookie camp is non-contact, the Texas product has multiple opportunities to do that this week.   According to Harbaugh, Kindle did well finding where he needed to be in passing situations, keeping an eye on a tight end or slot receiver.  
    Outlook:Kindle has the speed to hang with tight ends and backs, but he just needs to work on his instincts in space.  That's a challenge that Jarret Johnson and Terrell Suggs both conquered early in their career, and there is no reason to believe Kindle can't, as well. As far as pass-rushing goes, Kindle has looked quick off the edge and stays low, which helps when going against bigger offensive tackles. * Terrence Cody, 2nd Round (57th)
    6-foot-4, 360 pounds
    Early Impression:Again, because the camps are non-contact, it's tough to get a gauge on Cody, especially since there were only three total offensive linemen to work against.  But, his conditioning was definitely impressive.  It was muggy all week in Owings Mills, Md., and Cody worked hard with his defensive line group – which included Art Jones and John Fletcher – all practice without giving up, not easy for such a big man considering the amount of reps only three guys get. In previous minicamps, Cody's skill showed in three big stops, one of Ray Rice behind the line of scrimmage and two "sacks" of Troy Smith. Harbaugh has also praised Cody's commitment to studying the playbook.
    Outlook: The biggest thing for the massive Cody is technique.  Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks took time all week to focus on that. Cody should be a force to reckon with when the pads come on in training camp just because of his sheer size and power, but his hands and feet can put him in the unstoppable range. * Ed Dickson, 3rd Round (70th)
    6-foot-4, 250 pounds
    Early Impressions:Dickson looked fast and sure-handed in the passing game.  Going against air, he didn't get a chance to really show how his blocking has progressed, but Dickson is certainly going to be a threat over the middle, where he had a chance to beat shorter linebackers to grab a well-placed football.  The Oregon alumnus made a few nice catches in stride and seems to have a good feel for what he's doing in the offense.
    Outlook: Dickson's blocking is going to be the most important thing for Dickson to improve upon.  Moving forward, Dickson needs to show that he can be physical at the point of attack so he can help take the load off Todd Heap.  Playing in the Pac 10, Dickson enjoyed the benefits of a tight end-friendly conference.  He can give the Ravens another potential receiving option. * Dennis Pitta, 4th Round (114th)
    6-foot-4, 245 pounds
    Early Impressions:The former BYU Cougar is another long and lean tight end that doesn't necessarily look like he's near 250 pounds.  He actually reminds some of Heap, with a looping stride and fluidity when running routes.  Pitta's height was especially utilized in the red zone, where he caught a touchdown pass this week over the middle.  
    Outlook:Again, Pitta is going to have to show that he can block, which will really be telling in training camp.  BYU has a pass-happy offense, and Pitta definitely enjoyed the benefits of that, as he became a school record-holder.  But, that means his blocking is not as developed. Tight Ends Coach Wade Harman is keeping on both tight ends about their route-running, too. * David Reed, 5th Round (156th)
    6-foot-1, 190 pounds
    Early Impressions:Reed was a standout at rookie camp, enjoying the benefits of having none of the veterans in house.  That meant he received the bulk of the reps at receiver, something that he hadn't done in earlier minicamps.  Reed showed good burst off the line of scrimmage and seemed to catch anything thrown his way. The pass-catching part was not as easy as thought, because the two quarterbacks brought in were slightly erratic for most of the week.
    Outlook: Reed could make an impact as a slot receiver, as the Ravens have praised his toughness and hands.  He admits that he still needs to focus on his routes, cleaning them up and paying attention to detail.  In training camp, he should get a chance to  earn returner responsibilities, a boon to his chances for making the roster. * Arthur Jones, 5th Round (157th)
    6-foot-3, 305 pounds
    Early Impressions:With a constant smile, Jones is obviously having a good time.  But being another D-tackle makes for a tough evaluation, considering the lack of opponents or contact.  Still, Jones did prove that the knee he injured late last season wasn't going to be an issue.  Jones said it wasn't giving him any problems, and he ran around well during drills.  
    Outlook: Jones has another crowded position group, but he is an interior lineman that has shown in the past that he can get in the backfield, a good skill for passing downs.  
  • Ramon Harewood, 6th Round (194th)
    6-foot-6, 340 pounds
    Early Impressions:The fact that Harewood could even suit up for one practice was promising, considering his knee injury in the Ravens' opening minicamp.  He worked on the sideline as his fellow linemen went through positions drills.  On Thursday, Harewood wasn't wearing a uniform and just worked with trainers.
    Outlook: Harewood could be ready to go next week and should be fine by training camp.  His size is impressive, as are his long arms.  The Morehouse product will have a steep learning curve when going against pro-level pass-rushers, though.
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