Friday, May 3, 2013

Baltimore Ravens 2013 NFL Draft Report

                       Baltimore Ravens 2013 NFL Draft Report
                                         by Taber Small

Matt Elam
Arthur Brown
Kansas St.
Brandon Williams
Missouri Southern St.
John Simon
Ohio State
Kyle Juszczyk
Ricky Wagner
Kapron Lewis-Moore
Notre Dame
Ryan Jensen
Colorado State-Pueblo
Aaron Mellette
Marc Anthony

The Baltimore Ravens front office put together another awesome NFL draft class and greatly improved their football team. The Ravens biggest needs going into the draft were at S, LB, OL & WR. Ozzie Newsome and his staff strategically addressed their needs on both sides of the ball adding quality depth at each position including DL.

-Matt Elam, SS Florida: Very explosive and hard-hitting in the box safety that fits perfect in the Ravens defense. Considered short for the position but makes up for it with his aggressive and smart style of play. Shows good awareness and anticipation in coverage, which is rare for most strong safeties coming out of college. Fits a need with the departure of previous starting SS Bernard Pollard (Tennessee Titan) in the off-season. Will be asked to start right away and fill a void in the secondary.

-Arthur Brown, LB Kansas St: A fly around LB that plays with great instincts and acceleration. He is considered undersized and bulked up to 242 lbs from 230 during the NFL Draft process. Brown is the type of LB that the Ravens love because he’s physical, plays with great range and speed. They also like his ability to drop back in coverage and move in space. Brown played in a 4-3 defensive college scheme and will need to adjust to playing in a 3-4. He will also need the big guys up front to protect him so that he can do what he does best which is roaming in traffic and making plays around the ball.

-Brandon Williams, NT Missouri Southern St: A true NT that eats up space and can also ties up two defenders for the defense. He is a perfect fit for the Ravens 3-4 defensive scheme. Williams is a very athletic and strong lineman that can be a great back up to Haloti Ngata and possible future starter. With the disappointment of Terrance Cody play and also him recovering from off-season surgery, Williams will be asked to come in and relieve some pressure off of Ngata. Williams also comes from a small school but was a very productive player and dominated the D-II competition for three straight years. He impressed teams with his play at the Senior Bowl, especially in one-on-one drills being immovable and dominate at times. You can never have enough of these guys and the Ravens learn that down the stretch during last years Super Bowl run.    

-John Simon, DE/LB Ohio State: A versatile read & react defender that can play multiple LB positions in any scheme. Can rush with his hand in the ground or standing up. Made a lot of plays last year for Ohio State and fits the style of defense that the Ravens like to run. He is instinctive and is better coming off the edge instead of flowing through traffic in the middle. Will mostly likely spend an early part of his time learning behind Suggs, Dumerville, and Upshaw while playing on special teams. Simon has the tools to become a very valuable player for the Ravens in the future.

Kyle Juszczyk, FB Harvard: I really like this pick, as Juszczyk brings a lot of versatility to the FB/H-back position. He is an effective as a blocker and pass catcher with nice soft hands. Juszczyk is a very smooth and athletic player for a guy his size. Can line up as the blocker in the backfield or from the TE position and could also slide out wide in the slot. His versatility will cause mismatch problems for defenses. Was a surprised combine snub, as he clearly was the best FB at the Senior Bowl coming from the buzz that I heard from scouts. Should challenge Leach for early playing time and could play a major role in special teams. 

Ricky Wagner, OL Wisconsin: Wagner is a nice size OL with good feet and long arms. He is joining the Ravens with great playing experience coming from a program that produces quality offensive lineman for the NFL. Played LT at Wisconsin but will be looked to play OG and fill-in at RT if needed for the Ravens. Struggled in college against edge pass rushers and is more effective as a run blocker. Wagner is a good body on the offensive line to have as he provides decent value to play at tackle or guard but inside will be his natural position in the NFL. 

Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL Notre Dame: Moore is an athletic and good size DL that will bring good depth to the Ravens front seven. He tore is ACL in the national championship game so he will not be available to help up front anytime soon but he is the type of player that the Ravens would like to develop down the line. Not special in any area but he does a good job of getting up field and commanding double teams. He is a good fit for the DE/DT position in the Ravens 3-4 defensive scheme. Has the long arms and body build that the Ravens like to have rushing up front.

Ryan Jensen, OC Colorado St.-Pueblo: Jensen is a very good pick-up for the Ravens in the later rounds. Played guard and tackle in college but will be moved to the OC position to back up Gino Gradkowski. Jenson is a physical interior lineman who plays with great strength and good hands. Could provide depth at OG as well but doesn’t have the girth to mainly be a contributor from the position. Will have to make the adjustment to the OC position but I believe he is good and talented enough to challenge Gino in camp.

Aaron Mellette, WR Elon: Mellette is a big and athletic receiver with good hands. He was a very productive player in college and has the skill set to be a good possession receiver in the NFL. Will make the tough catch over the middle and is a great target to be utilized in the red zone. Has the upside that the Ravens like in a receiver but will need some time to develop for the next level.  He needs to get stronger and is also not polished as a route runner. Could surprise in camp but looks like he may spend some time on the practice squad as he adjusts to the NFL level.

Marc Anthony, CB California: Anthony is a good fluid corner that excels in zone coverage. Brings decent size, athleticism and does a good job of mirroring receivers on their routes. Not a fast or quick athlete and lacks a burst in his game. He struggles in man coverage and needs to improve his footwork. Anthony is going to have a small chance to make the team considering the number of CBs that the Ravens already have on the team. He doesn’t show the skills to play nickel and would have to impress on special teams to help his chances.

Top Undrafted Free Agents to watch:

TE Matt Furstenberg, Maryland: Was a steal to get as an undrafted free agent. Many draft analysts rated Furstenberg as a middle to late round pick. An underrated player that could contend for the third TE spot behind Pitta & Dickson. Will need to show he can be effective as a blocker as he was in college. Has a good shot in sticking with the team because of his skill set, toughness and versatility.

OT Rogers Gaines, Tennessee State: A massive athletic OL with great size (6-6 334 lb.),
strength and good feet. Gaines has the tools to be a starting RT in the NFL. I had
him projected as a late round pick. Still needs development to his game but
posses enough upside that NFL coaches like to work with and develop. Could see a future at LT if his 
game matures. 

DL/LB Brandon Copeland, Penn (Gilman HS): A college defensive lineman who was on the Ravens radar throughout the entire NFL draft process. Copeland is a decent run stuffer who also shows ability to get pressure on the quarterback. Plays with good instincts, strength and explosion. The Ravens like adding defensive players such as Copeland who can line up and play multiple positions.  Will have to make the transition to OLB and show he can rush standing up and also drop back in coverage. 

WR Gerrard Sheppard, Towson (McDonough HS): An athletic wider receiver with
good size, hands and speed. A transfer from UConn who wasn’t very productive
in college but the Ravens also gave the same chance to local player LaQuan Williams
who didn’t have a lot of stats coming out of Maryland as well and made the team
from 2011 training camp. Sheppard has a tough uphill battle because he will need to
out perform the list of receivers that are already a head of him on the depth chart.
They also drafted WR Aaron Mellete in the 7th Round. But if those receivers do not
step up the way they should, Sheppard could come in and surprise the coaching staff with his play.  

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