Late For Work 5/2: You're Gonna Like Ravens' Draft Grades


You're Gonna Like Ravens' Draft Grades

The Ravens were honor roll students in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Baltimore received a handful of "A's" and didn't get a grade lower than a "B" from the national media.

If you've been living under a rock this weekend, the Ravens selected left tackle Ronnie Stanley (6), outside linebacker Kamalei Correa (42), defensive end Bronson Kaufusi (70), cornerback Tavon Young (104), wide receiver Chris Moore (107), offensive tackle Alex Lewis (130), defensive tackle Willie Henry (132), running back Kenneth Dixon (134), outside linebacker Matthew Judon (146), wide receiver Keenan Reynolds (182) and cornerback Maurice Canady (209).

Of course, the true impact of a draft class won't be known until a few years down the road, but it's always fun to make some early evaluations.

ESPN, Mel Kiper* Grade: A*
"In a typical draft for Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta, the Ravens hit a big need early and then found a way to move down the board and add picks, where they got a ton of value. … It's not as if Stanley was a reach. He went No. 6 overall and finished No. 6 on my Big Board. Eugene Monroe's future is a question at tackle, and Stanley could either replace him or kick inside and start out at guard. Either way, it works. … The Ravens got a big need at tackle and just stacked up value thereafter."

Sporting News, Vinnie IyerGrade: A"11 picks and what do you get? Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh nailing need and value across the board, drafting for both present and future. It's rare the Ravens either pick that high to start or end up with so many selections, and they took advantage of it. They got offensive and defensive linemen to fit their schemes to a tee. Dixon and Reynolds are nice new backfield options."

Rotoworld, Evan SilvaGrade: A"Not only did this draft bring quantity to a Ravens roster that has deteriorated over the past three years, it attacked virtually all of Baltimore's needs, often with multiple additions at each specific weakness. Newsome took two offensive linemen, one a certain Week 1 starter. He drafted three pass rushers. He selected two corners and couldn't resist the value offered by deep threat Moore, underrated DT/DE Henry, and all-purpose back Dixon in a dominant fourth round. Baltimore's roster has gotten old and stale and needed a major youth injection. This draft accomplished that and then some."

Chad Reuter, NFL MediaGrade: A-minus"The Ravens had several choices here. The Stanley versus Laremy Tunsil argument will live on for a while, although no one can blame teams for laying off Tunsil. DeForest Buckner was also on the board for the Ravens. General manager Ozzie Newsome picked up two future starters in the pass rusher Correa and five-technique Kaufusi on Day 2, getting max value for those picks."

Sports Illustrated, Chris Burke & Doug FarrarGrade: B-plus"True to Ozzie Newsome's reputation, the Ravens did yeoman's work on Days 2 and 3 of the draft. They didn't start off too poorly either in nabbing Stanley."

USA Today, Lindsay JonesGrade: B-plus"This felt like a very classic Ozzie Newsome draft, which is a good thing. The Ravens got one of the draft's best offensive tackles at No. 6 with Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley. But the best two picks might have been on Friday, when they added DE/LB Kamalei Correa and DE Bronson Kaufusi to reinvigorate the pass rush. The most interesting pick came Saturday with the selection of Navy QB Keenan Reynolds, who has said he intends to serve a two-year military commitment before starting an NFL career playing a new position."

CBS Sports, Pete PriscoGrade: B-plus
"They had a lot of picks and added a lot of quality players. This is a team that needed young talent to restock the roster and they did a nice job of it. This is the Baltimore drafting we've come to expect."

Pro Football Focus, Sam PalazzolloGrade: B-plus"The Laremy Tunsil controversy might have pushed the Ravens to take Stanley, but they still got one of the draft's best pass-protecting offensive tackles. … Kaufusi is one of the most productive players in the draft, and he brings his 29.3 pass rush grade (fifth-best among interior defensive linemen in the draft) and strong run-defending ability to the 3-4 defensive end position in Baltimore. … Lewis is a favorite of offensive line coaches around the league, and he's better in pass protection at this point. Dixon was a steal in the fourth round after notching the top receiving grade among running backs in the class."

SB Nation, Dan KadarGrade: B-plus"Best pick: Kamalei Correa - I may not be the biggest fan of Correa, but it was a shrewd move by the Ravens to trade down twice and accumulate picks and still get the player they want. Questionable pick: Tavon Young - Young projects to the slot, but there were some corners with higher grades than him when he came off the board."

The Washington Post, Mark MaskeGrade: B"It's not surprising that the Ravens emerged from this draft with a potential franchise left tackle. It is a bit surprising that they chose Ronnie Stanley over Laremy Tunsil with both available for the No. 6 selection. Tunsil's difficult night, including the appearance of the instantly infamous Twitter video just before the draft, was well documented. But some teams already had Stanley ranked ahead of Tunsil."

Local Reporters Say Ravens Played It 'Safe'

While the national pundits were smitten with the Ravens' draft work, the local peeps wanted Baltimore to take some more chances.

ESPN's Jamison Hensley gave the Ravens a thumbs up, but wrote, "This was a solid but not spectacular draft." Hensley gave a worse grade than his ESPN colleague Kiper, handing the Ravens a "B."

Sure, there's nothing wrong with a "solid" draft, but that's not exactly glowing praise either.

"The Ravens checked a lot of boxes with pass-rushers, offensive playmakers and even a returner in Navy's Keenan Reynolds," Hensley wrote. "There just wasn't a lot of flash. The Ravens failed to trade up for Jalen Ramsey and passed on Myles Jack and Noah Spence. It was a safe draft with good upside."

"What the Ravens opted for were high-character players, players with strong work ethic and no durability issues," Hensley said. "It kind of left you with the feeling that the Ravens were playing it a little safe in this draft."

As difficult as it was to see Ramsey snatched up one pick before the Ravens, it's hard to call it a failure when we don't know what the Cowboys wanted in return. Newsome said the Ravens weren't willing to meet the Cowboys' demands.

Once on the clock, the Ravens passed on Tunsil. Less than an hour before, his Twitter account posted a video of him wearing a gas mask and smoking a bong.

Newsome has denied that the Ravens were set to take Tunsil before seeing the video, saying they turned to their board for the answer. But reporters are stuck on Adam Schefter's report saying otherwise. If the Ravens had Stanley ranked above (or even) with Tunsil, it wasn't a case of risk avoidance.

Jack and Spence had major question marks. Jack's knee is an unknown and Spence was kicked out of the Big Ten for failing multiple drug tests for Ecstasy.

What if the Ravens doctors gave the front office a thumbs down on Jack's knee? And while many pundits had Spence ranked higher than Correa, who said the Ravens did? Spence picked up a lot of media buzz at the Senior Bowl.

CSN Mid Atlantic's Clifton Brown also gave the Ravens a "B" grade, and said Baltimore left itself open to some "second guessing" by passing on Jack and Spence.

Ray Rice Impacted Ravens Draft?

Count The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck as another local reporter saying the Ravens played it "safe," but he had a different explanation than his peers.

Schmuck wrote that the Ray Rice incident from more than two years ago played a factor.

"That was the day everyone in the Ravens organization realized they would have to make sure [Owner Steve] Bisciotti was never, ever placed in that uncomfortable position again," Schmuck wrote.

"That's why the Ravens played it safe during this year's NFL draft and they'll play it safe again next year, too. They have become prisoners of their history, and it didn't begin or end with the Rice domestic abuse debacle, though that will long be remembered as the turning point in the evolution of the franchise."

He didn't have a problem with it, however.

"That might have blunted criticism about this being a better-safe-than-sorry draft, but there was no need," Schmuck wrote. "This draft was about rebuilding the team's infrastructure without repeating the mistakes of the past. Check. Check."

Schmuck wasn't alone, as ESPN's Kevin Seifert pointed to Rice as well.

"Two years ago, the nation watched as one of their top players was caught on a security camera punching his then-fiancé," Seifert wrote. "It's understandable why the Ravens might have been reluctant to draft a player as video circulated of him allegedly using drugs.

Newsome said before the draft that the Ravens would not select any player with a history of domestic violence. That's a mandate passed down from Bisciotti.

McShay's Favorite Ravens Draft Pick

Everybody has their favorite pick from the Ravens draft class. Mine was Kaufusi.

ESPN's Todd McShay identified his for every NFL team. For 31 of 32 teams, he was able to name one player. For the Ravens, he named five.

"Seriously. This might be the best fourth round I've ever seen from a team," McShay wrote.

"The Ravens got CB Tavon Young, who can be a really good nickel corner. They got WR Chris Moore, the No. 46 player on my board and a true vertical threat for big-armed QB Joe Flacco. They got OT Alex Lewis, who can develop into a starting right tackle. They got DT Willie Henry, an elite run defender. And, finally, they got RB Kenneth Dixon, who runs with good power/balance and has some versatility in the passing game."

The Ravens put a lot of pressure on themselves to nail their fourth-round picks. DeCosta said it would "make or break" Baltimore's draft. That pressure was ratcheted up a notch when Baltimore picked up a fifth pick in the round via two trades Friday night.

Even Bisciotti said he wanted his front office to get starters with each of the Ravens' fourth-round picks.

It's still early, but it looks like the Ravens got the job done.

"General Manager Ozzie Newsome killed it on Saturday," McShay wrote.

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