Last Thursday the Baltimore Ravens came away with a lot of selections. Three potential week one starters makes for a very good draft in Baltimore. C.J. Mosley
C.J. Mosley, LB
The expectation with C.J. Mosley is for him to start right away. Before being drafted, the Baltimore Ravens’ plan “B” was to have Arthur Brown starting next to Daryl Smith. A second round pick from the 2013 draft, Brown was being compared to NaVorro Bowman coming out of Kansas State. The Ravens acquisition of Mosley should not be considered a knock on Brown; however, he will just have to wait a couple of more years before making the expected impact on the field.
The only criticism for C.J. Mosley is his injury history. 2011 saw Mosley dislocate his elbow and hip, and the end of 2012 season had Mosley getting shoulder surgery, which limited him at the combine, forcing him to miss some drills. If his injuries are truly in the past, Mosley can be the Ravens’ voice they have missed on defense since the retirement of Ray Lewis. In 2013, it seemed like the Ravens defense was struggling to finish off offenses and keep them off the field each week.
One thing the Ravens will get out of Mosley is his skills as a coverage linebacker. Last year Arthur Brown was used in pass coverage, and he provided a great blitzing ability. Now the Ravens have two linebackers that have the versatility to provide a little bit of everything on third down situations.
Timmy Jernigan, DT/NT
A steal for the Ravens in the second round, Jernigan is a massive defensive tackle hailing from Florida State. He will be competing for the 2014 starting job vacated by Arthur Jones. Although Jernigan looks like the starter on opening day, when one looks at the Ravens roster the only certainty is that him starting is not a sure thing.
Jernigan brings with him versatility as he can play nose tackle and defensive tackle. Those attributes give him enough value to see see the field in 2014. But, that doesn’t mean that the starting job will be handed to him on a silver platter. His competition includes DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore, and Brandon Williams.
A 2013 3rd round selection, Brandon Williams is thought of highly by the Ravens front office. With unquestionable athleticism, Williams will be a dominant force for years to come. Out of all of them, DeAngelo Tyson is by far my favorite player on the Ravens roster. A Georgia Bulldog and a 7th round selection, he has been the most unheralded player on the roster since drafted. The most intriguing however is Lewis-Moore. A Notre Dame Fighting Irish, he was graded to be a second or third rounder before he tore his ACL in the National Championship game of 2013.
It is obvious that the Ravens will have a lot of young talented players competing for the same starting role. Timmy Jernigan will most likely not start due to the competition but clearly his value is in his versatility and him being on the sidelines will be a clear waste.
Terrence Brooks, FS
Probably one of the most shocking drop-offs was the fact that Brooks was still available in the third round of the draft. The Ravens were looking for an athletic free safety and they got just that in Terrance Brooks.
The Ravens safety position will not be the most heated one during camp, but it will be the most talked about for sure. After the bad play of Michael Huff last season, Matt Elam was forced to play out of position as free safety. Elam really struggled frequently but was excellent when he played close to the line of scrimmage as the strong safety.
Matt Elam looks to be moved back to his natural position of strong safety in 2014, but even with that he doesn’t quite have the experience as a strong safety in the NFL, so look for some growing pains there. The end result for the Ravens will be having two rookies start at safety, that is if Brooks wins the starting free safety job. Lucky for Baltimore is the fact that they have one of the best cornerback duos in the league with Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith.
Brooks’ only competition will come from Darian Stewart. Steward was a free agent acquisition from St. Louis and he brings veteran knowledge; however, his injury concerns and the fact that he is more of a strong safety gives Brooks a bit of an edge.
Crockett Gillmore, TE
Everyone knew that the Ravens would address the tight end position in the draft; I for one was sure of it, but I never expected they would do it so early. My only real knock on the Ravens draft, when looking at how the rest of the 3rd round and the beginning of the 4th went, was that the Ravens could of done better here.
Brandon Thomas could of provided a long term answer at right tackle for the Ravens despite a torn ACL. Bashaud Breeland was a steal by the Redskins in the fourth that could of easily of been an impact player for the Ravens as nickleback. If Breeland would have stayed in school one more year, it is almost guaranteed that he would have been a first rounder in 2015.
To be fair, I can’t question Ozzie Newsome too much, as he has had endless success on draft day. Gilmore will find it hard to become a Ravens pass catcher, but can contribute in red zone blocking, given that he is behind Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels on the depth chart.
Brent Urban, DE
My favorite selection of the Ravens in the 2014 draft for sure. Granted, he is raw, but you just can’t pass up on his athleticism and size, making him a very potential future starter. Even though Urbans’ injury and available competition on the defensive line will sideline him to the practice squad. 2015 will be his year – mark my words.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB
Ray Rice’s looming suspension is the reason Taliaferro will play a large role for the Ravens in 2014. Bernard Pierce is a talented back up to Rice, but his injury issues leave the Ravens questioning his durability. Third in line is Justin Forsett, an offseason acquisition. Forsett does have some history with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, but there’s no way he can be a featured runner for the Ravens. The most viable scenario if Ray Rice gets suspended is a running back committee between Taliaferro, Pierce and Forsett.
John Urschel, G
Now if you have any questions regarding the intelligence of John Urschel, I implore you to read his thesis on “Instabilities in the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem” to look for the answers.
I really have no clue what his thesis means, but I will say this: Urschel will be the solution for the Ravens’ offensive line issues. If the Ravens see fit to make Urschel the starter at left guard, Kelechi Osemele will be moved to right tackle. The big factor in the decision will be Urschel’s athletic limitations, as Gary Kubiak’s zone blocking schemes require strong athleticism at every position to be effective.
Keith Wenning, QB
The Baltimore Ravens’ current backup at quarterback is Tyrod Taylor. Thankfully, he hasn’t played much, as Flacco has managed to remain healthy. The only times he was on the field were during pre-season when Flacco was either benched or he didn’t play at all. Taylor has great athletic abilities but he just can’t seem to progress through his reads. He always seems to opt for the run when his primary target is not open. Solid results, sure, but if Flacco gets injured, Taylor will not win the Ravens many games in the interim.
Wenning comes in as competition with Taylor for the backup spot. With all the competition on the other side of the ball, I just can’t see the Ravens keeping more than two QBs on the roster. Wenning strikes me as more of a natural pocket passer and could offer more value to the team as the backup.
Mike Campanaro, WR
A project player out of Wake Forest, Campanaro has a good chance to have a successful career in the NFL as a slot receiver. Even with his project status, I feel he will make the 53-man roster.
The Ravens seem to have four solid players on the depth chart as wide receivers. Marlon Brown, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, and Jacoby Jones will most certainly make the 53-man roster in 2014. The fifth spot at the position will be a fight between Aaron Mellette and Deonte Thompson. Thompson is the only one in jeopardy, as recent legal issues and the failure to live up to expectations put him at the bottom of the list. I think Campanaro will have a solid preseason and will be the 5th receiver for the Ravens come the start of the 2014 campaign.
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