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Late For Work 5/12: Draft Grades Are In: Class Could Be 'Outstanding'


Draft Grades Are In: Class Could Be 'Outstanding'

Ozzie Newsome always says that you can't judge a draft class until two or three years down the road.

But the early reviews say the Ravens made the most of their nine draft picks.

Draft experts are praising the Ravens for their moves over the weekend, and Newsome's 19th draft could prove to be one of NFL's best this year.

"They got some really good players who will contribute immediately, and peppered in some high-upside picks that could make this draft look outstanding down the road," ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper said in his analysis of the Ravens' moves.

"Ozzie Newsome is cleaning up in 2014," Bryan Fischer wrote for

The Ravens stressed heading into the draft that the moves they had made in free agency gave them the freedom to stick with their best player available philosophy.

And that's exactly what happened.

The team's top three picks – linebacker C.J. Mosley, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and safety Terrence Brooks – were all high-value players that were available later than expected.

"I didn't have linebacker as a big need, but the front office probably found it hard to pass on the best inside linebacker in the draft, and they pulled the trigger on C.J. Mosley," Kiper wrote. "The Ravens also got another potential immediate starter in the third round when they drafted Terrence Brooks. When you consider the run on safeties we saw early, getting Brooks where they did looks like a coup."

Here are the grades from some of the draft experts:

"The upside is along the defensive line. Timmy Jernigan could be a really good player if he plays to the best of his tape -- he was an impact player for the Noles."

"From a strict talent-and-value perspective, the Ravens may have done as well as any other team in the draft. LB C.J. Mosley, if he's healthy, could be a Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner; DT Timmy Jernigan had mid-Round 1 potential, only to fall to pick 48; safety Terrence Brooks may be an instant starter."

"Ozzie Newsome is cleaning up in 2014. After landing a pair of top 20 talents in the first two rounds, he picked several good prospects who won't have to start right away."

"Mosley is the perfect inside linebacker for their 3-4 coming out of a similar scheme at Alabama. Jernigan was a great value to help them at nose. Brooks has a good chance to start right away and allow them to move Matt Elam to strong safety."

"The first two picks were classic Ozzie Newsome selections. He took the best talents on the board, and they'll figure out where both fit in exactly. The players will determine that by how well they play. A nice haul for a stronger roster."

Cornerback, Offensive Tackle Headline Undrafted Class

History has proven that the seven rounds of the draft are not the only place to find valuable players.

The Ravens put a large emphasis on finding and recruiting undrafted free agents, and that has landed them key players like wide receiver Marlon Brown and kicker Justin Tucker in the last two years.

The Ravens hope to continue that trend this season with their crop of undrafted free agents. The team has yet to release the full list of signings, but The Baltimore Sun has compiled a list of players who are reportedly on their way to Baltimore.

Headlining the group is Middle Tennessee State cornerback Sammy Seamster. Cornerback was a high priority position for the Ravens after not drafting anybody at the spot, and Seamster "chose the Ravens over multiple competing offers," according to The Sun's Aaron Wilson.  

North Carolina offensive tackle James Hurst was also a prized acquisition after he was a former mid-round projection who slid out of the draft because of a broken fibula.

Here's the rest of the players joining the Ravens as undrafted free agents, according to The Sun:

-          LB Xavius Boyd, Western Kentucky

-          DT A.J. Pataiali'I, Utah State

-          LB Terrance Bullitt, Texas Tech

-          G/C Ryan Jones, San Jose State

-          WR Jace Davis, Northern Colorado

-          OT Parker Graham, Oklahoma State

-          DT Derrick Hopkins, Virginia Teach

-          P Richie Leone, Houston

-          DL Jamie Meder, Ashland

-          ILB Zach Orr, North Texas

-          DE D.J. Roberts, Tennesee-Martin

-          TE Jake Sinkovec, Boston College

-          OT Brett Van Sloten, Iowa

Coin Flip Didn't Cost Ravens A Right Tackle

Sometimes the draft comes down to teams getting a little lucky – or unlucky.

That could certainly have been the case for the Ravens, who ended up picking behind the Dallas Cowboys based on the result of a coin flip at the combine. A coin flip is the NFL's final tie breaker in determining draft order, and that's what it took to decide who got the No. 16 pick between Dallas and Baltimore.

The Cowboys won the flip and ended up taking Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin, who had been linked to the Ravens in a number of mock drafts. The versatile lineman would have filled an immediate need at right tackle for the Ravens, and many pundits speculated that the Cowboys snagged a player the Ravens would have taken.

"A Ravens official confirmed that the team had Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley rated higher than Martin," Hensley wrote. "So, based on the Ravens' draft board, they still would've taken Mosley over Martin if both were available No. 17."

The Ravens ended up going through the entire draft without using one of their nine picks on an offensive tackle. They took interior lineman John Urschel from Penn State in the fifth round, but stayed away from offensive tackle.

It now appears that last year's fifth-round pick Rick Wagner is slated to start at right tackle.

No Flacco-To-Flacco Connection

Forget the idea of a Flacco-to-Flacco connection.

Tight end Mike Flacco, the younger brother of Ravens quarterback Joe, signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent, according to Wilson.

Mike, 26, played one year of college football at Division II New Haven after retiring from minor league baseball. Flacco was drafted by the Orioles in 2009 and he finished his baseball career in 2012.

Flacco showed potential on the football field last season and was a Division II All-American. He caught 30 passes for 591 yards and nine touchdowns.

Flacco is considered a developmental prospect in the NFL.

Quick Hits

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