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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary



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I tell ya...this draft isn't the sexiest by any means but we got a lot of players that we should be excited about having.


Round 2 #35: Courtney Upshaw, OLB will be a starter at OLB from Day 1 and we traded back and still got him. He is an every down OLB that will be able to set the edge against the run and rush the passer. Imagine a package for passing downs that have Suggs, Upshaw, McPhee, Kruger, and Ngata on the field!?! Our pass rush went from a questionable area to an area of strength. Grade A+


Round 2 #60: Kelechi Osemele, OL will likely win the starting LOG vacancy. He has a lot more natural talent than Jah Reid and is just as large. I could envision our line being (left to right) Bryant, Osemele, Birk, Yanda, Oher. That is a lot of beef on the left side and having two mammoth run blockers around Birk will definitely help him in knocking big DT/NT off the line of scrimmage. Grade B+


Round 3 #84: Bernard Pierce, RB will be the top back up to Ray Rice and will essentially be a change of pace back in the same mold as Ricky Williams was. Seems like he was high on the Ravens board as apparently Harbaugh had been texting him about wanting him since day 1 of the draft. Grade B-


Round 4 #98: Gino Gradkowski, OG/OC will be the top back up at Center/Guard and hopefully the successor to Matt Birk. He is a gritty, tough, hard nosed O-lineman which exactly what we need and want. If you read some of the information on him on ESPN and CBSsports, they report that he is a smart player that is dedicated. He is a Pittsburgh native that wants to play for the Ravens...ya gotta love it. Grade C+


Initially, I thought that we reached for Gradkowski but if you notice there is a run on Centers early in the 4th round after we picked Gino and before we were on the clock again. Perhaps the Ravens were in the know that the Centers were going to come off the board and Gino was clearly their favorite of the group after Konz and knew if they wanted him they would have to take him with the 98th pick.


Round 4 #130: ChristianThompson, S is one of those players that I can see being a small school guy that everyone says Ozzie reached for but turns out to be a solid special teams contributor and eventually a starter. He has a year to learn behind both Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard to absorb as much as he can from them. He is extremely athletic and a solid hitter and could contribute on all special teams. Grade B


Round 5 #169: Asa "Ace" Jackson, CB will also add special teams depth and will be in the rotation for KR/PR. He was one of the fastest DB's this year and has great ball skills from the looks of it. He is a tad undersized, but Lardarius Webb isn't that big either. He will be 4th-5th on the depth chart CB and an active special teamer. At the very least, hopefully we are able to find a way to get him on the practice squad if he isn't ready for the 53 man roster. Grade B-


Round 6 #198: Tommy Streeter, WR I'm not going to lie, he certainly wasn't my favorite WR in the draft...he wasn't even in my top 8-10 but he fills a major need and he was a huge value pick at the end of the 6th round. Streeter was predicted by many to go in the 2nd-3rd round range; mainly do to his size/speed combination. He's 6'5" and 220 lbs and ran a 4.40 40 at the combine. He only had one productive season at Miami- this past season he had 820 yards with 8 touchdowns. A lot of this can be do to inconsistent QB play at Miami, but there are also some holes in his game. He will need a lot of work on developing his route running and being more physical getting off the line of scrimmage, but he his a huge target with incredible speed- something that the Ravens desperately needed.

Grade B+


Round 7 #236: DeAngelo Tyson, DL This is a developmental player who will more than likely find his way onto the practice squad. He has good size at 6'2" 315 lbs and ran a 4.83 40 at his Pro Day. He seems to have underperformed in college and could use some serious coaching to try and bring out his potential. He could potentially be someone who could play as a 5 technique in the 3-4 in a rotation with Art Jones and Pernell McPhee. At best he could see the field in 2 years if he even is on the team still. At this point on the draft I would have preferred taking a flier on Vontaze Burfict but maybe he can come in as a UDFA. Grade D



So there you have it. Like I said, not a sexy draft but a good number of guys that will add much needed depth to key positions and special teams and will start in 2012 (Upshaw and Osmele) or in 2013 (Gradkowski and Streeter).


The grade I give our draft has a whole is: B-

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Gino is either going to be another David Hale. A real head scratcher of a pick or he is going to be a very good pick. From what I have read about him is he is smart and plays with a mean streak. That is a very good combo for an O-Lineman and especially a C.


I think Jackson was drafted to be our kick returner and anything he offers on D will be a bonus. He also has potential to be a gunner on special teams. Not a bad pick if we get all that out of him.


My favorite pick was Upshaw. I loved him before the draft but never thought he would fall out of the top 15 until the whispers after that combine. This guy just lives in the backfield. The fact we traded back and still got him means I think this draft was at least an A right from the start.


About the only thing we have failed to do is get that ILB we all wanted as Ray's heir. I'm getting worried that we aren't going to get someone in before Ray retires as anyone replacing him will be better for having played a year alongside him or backing him up. That said, we are never going to be able to replace Ray. We might be able to replace his production especially as his production drops off with each passing year but his all round package will never be matched.

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