2013 NFL Offseason: Baltimore Ravens
Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents
Baltimore Ravens (Last Year: 10-6)
2013 NFL Draft Grade: A-
Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.
Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Super Bowl champions lost some key members of their franchise this offseason. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are the obvious ones, but Bryant McKinnie and Anquan Boldin's absences might be felt most. McKinnie's outstanding play in the postseason gave Joe Flacco the pass protection he needed, while Boldin reemerged as an awesome possession target. All of these players have to be replaced.
2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It appears as though the reports of the Ravens' demise have been greatly exaggerated. After losing many key veterans, all the media could talk about was how much Baltimore regressed. That was an obvious story angle, given the departures of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and other players of renown. However, what people seemed to forget was that Ozzie Newsome is one of the elite general managers in the NFL.
Newsome made some solid signings in free agency and then was able to complement those with a terrific draft class. Baltimore's first three picks were a work of art. Matt Elam is a perfect fit in the Ravens' defense. Second-rounder Arthur Brown, was seen by many as a first-round prospect, is very talented and fully capable of replacing Lewis. Meanwhile, Brandon Williams was another steal at No. 94. Seen by many as a second-rounder, Williams can be the long-term solution at nose tackle.
The Ravens didn't stop there. They made numerous quality third-day picks, such as John Simon, who should blossom into an effective pass-rusher. Aaron Mellette and Marc Anthony were both steals at Nos. 238 and 247, respectively.
Baltimore came away with one of the league's top draft classes. The only thing keeping this from being an A+ is that the team didn't target a receiver or a left tackle earlier. It could have done so where a fullback was taken (No. 130), but then again, who am I to question the great Newsome?
2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
32. Matt Elam, S, Florida: B+ Grade
Patient Ozzie Newsome gets his way again. He was targeting Matt Elam among other prospects and got his man without panicking. Elam fills a big need at safety across from Michael Huff. He also fits the range and could have gone a bit earlier than this.
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56. Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State: A+ Grade
This is the best pick of the second round. Arthur Brown may have been chose in the 20 range had he been completely healthy. He'll heal up, and Ozzie Newsome will end up with another draft-day steal. Brown is as best of a successor to Ray Lewis as Baltimore could have obtained in the 2013 NFL Draft.
94. Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern: A- Grade
Brandon Williams dominated the Senior Bowl, so there was speculation that he would be drafted somewhere in Round 2. That apparently was not the case, but the Ravens are not complaining because they were able to land another great value. Baltimore signed Marcus Spears and Chris Canty this offseason, but neither is the long-term solution on the defensive line.
129. John Simon, DE/OLB, Ohio State: B+ Grade
You can never have enough pass-rushers, so while John Simon doesn't fit an immediate need, he could be useful down the road or in the wake of injuries. He was seen by some as a third-round prospect (I had him in the fourth), so this is yet another good value pick by Ozzie Newsome.
130. Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard: C+ Grade
I think this is a bit early for a fullback, considering that some teams don't even use one. The Ravens do, but Vonta Leach is pretty expensive. They want someone to challenge him in order to save some money.
168. Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin: B Grade
The Ravens needed some tackle depth, so this selection makes sense for both a needs and a draft range perspective. He's a right tackle only though, so he's definitely not a replacement for Bryant McKinnie.
200. Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE/DT, Notre Dame: B Grade
Like the 49ers, Baltimore had so many draft picks that it could draft someone it could redshirt. Kapron Lewis-Moore would have gone higher than this had he not suffered an injury in the championship. He'll be useful down the road once Chris Canty and Marcus Spears move on.
203. Ryan Jensen, G/OT, Colorado State: B Grade
Ryan Jensen, widely considered a Round 6-7 prospect, should be able to provide some solid interior line depth.
238. Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon: A Grade
Ravens steal, yadda, yadda, yadda. I had Aaron Mellette in the fourth round, so this is tremendous value for him.
247. Marc Anthony, CB, California: A Grade
Ravens steal, yadda, yadda, yadda. Marc Anthony was a fourth- or a fifth-round projection, and Baltimore needed some cornerback depth.
*** 2013 NFL TEAM NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***
Congratulations to the Ravens for winning Super Bowl XLVII! They were hardly the best team all year, but once they got several players healthy in late December and January, they were able to go on a tear. Unfortunately, it's bittersweet because Baltimore will have to move on from Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and some other long-time veterans.
- Quarterback: Retaining Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco is Baltimore's top priority this offseason. Re-signed Joe Flacco
- Inside Linebacker: Ray Lewis is retiring. If that's not bad enough, Dannell Ellerbe is a free agent. Oh, and Jameel McClain is coming off a spinal cord contusion. Alec Ogletree will be an option for Baltimore if he falls to the very bottom of the first round. Signed Rolando McClain
- Wide Receiver: Despite his brilliant performance in the playoffs, Anquan Boldin was traded. An early pick could be used on a wideout.
- Two Safeties: Like Lewis, Ed Reed isn't expected back. He's a free agent. If he goes, the Ravens have to find a worthy substitute. Bernard Pollard was also cut, so two safeties are needed. Matt Elam will be an option in the first round this April. Signed Michael Huff
- Left Tackle: Flacco was able to maintain the best playoff touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history because his offensive line had improved tremendously. The catalyst for this was Bryant McKinnie, who actually got into shape for a change. McKinnie is a free agent, however. Re-signed Bryant McKinnie
- Nose Tackle: Ma'ake Kemoeatu, who took the starting nose tackle job away from bust Terrence Cody, is a free agent. The Ravens have to find a replacement if they plan on giving up on Cody. Signed Chris Canty and Marcus Spears (Haloti Ngata to NT)
- Rush Linebacker: Paul Kruger was the team's top pass-rusher down the stretch. He's a free agent who will be highly sought-after if he's allowed to hit the market. Signed Elvis Dumervil
- Cornerback: Depth will be needed here if Cary Williams leaves via free agency.
2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Elvis Dumervil, DE, Broncos. Age: 29.
Signed with Ravens
Elvis Dumervil has 63.5 sacks in six NFL seasons (he missed all of 2010 with an injury). This includes 11 sacks in 2012. He can be a liability in run support, but his tremendous ability to get to the quarterback makes up for that.
Michael Huff, S, Raiders. Age: 30.
Signed with Ravens
Michael Huff is a cap casualty; the Raiders couldn't afford his $4 million salary in 2013. Huff is still a quality safety who is versatile enough to play cornerback effectively.
Chris Canty, DE/DT, Giants. Age: 30.
Signed with Ravens
Chris Canty served as a solid interior pass-rusher prior to 2012, but was ineffective last year because of a nagging knee injury. Perhaps he'll be able to rebound next season, but he'll be 31 in November, so his best days are behind him. He can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4.
Rolando McClain, ILB, Raiders. Age: 24.
Signed with Ravens
The positive for Rolando McClain: He's a strong run defender who will be just 24 in July. The negative? He was used on just two downs in 2012 because he can't cover. He also has major work-ethic issues, though these could be fixed if he's brought into a strong locker room.
- Marcus Spears, DE/DT, Cowboys. Age: 30. -- Signed with Ravens (2 years)
Baltimore Ravens Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Ravens (6 years, $120.6 million)
I had this prepared prior to his playoff run: "Joe Flacco considers himself elite, but he's way too inconsistent to be on that level. He's a good starter who still has the potential to take the next step, but he has yet to do that." Well, Flacco has proven that once again, he steps up when it counts the most. He deserves a big contract.
Paul Kruger, DE/OLB, Ravens. Age: 27.
Signed with Browns (5 years, $41 million)
Paul Kruger notched nine sacks during the regular season and then three more against the Colts in the playoffs. He also was solid in coverage.
Ed Reed, S, Ravens. Age: 34.
Signed with Texans (2 years)
Ed Reed will turn 35 in September, but he still played at a high level for the Ravens this past season despite battling an injury.
Dannell Ellerbe, ILB, Ravens. Age: 27.
Signed with Dolphins
Dannell Ellerbe was the top inside linebacker on the roster this past season - even when Ray Lewis was healthy. He had a strong second half, emerging after Lewis went down.
Dennis Pitta (RFA), TE, Ravens. Age: 28.
Tendered by Ravens (2nd round)
Dennis Pitta really grew at the end of the season to become one of Joe Flacco's more reliable targets. He finished the year with 61 catches, 669 yards and seven touchdowns.
Bernard Pollard, S, Ravens. Age: 28.
Signed with Titans (1 year)
Bernard Pollard isn't particularly good in coverage, but he's awesome in run support and has a knack for knocking out opposing players - especially if they happen to be New England Patriots.
Bryant McKinnie, OT, Ravens. Age: 33.
Re-signed with Ravens (2 years)
Bryant McKinnie can still be a quality left tackle if he keeps his weight under control, but that's been a big issue for him. He was awesome during Baltimore's Super Bowl run, but can he maintain his motivation?
Cary Williams, CB, Ravens. Age: 28.
Signed with Eagles
Cary Williams had some rough outings in 2012, but mostly played solidly at corner for the Ravens, holding down the fort after Lardarius Webb was lost for the year.
Arthur Jones (RFA), DE/DT, Ravens. Age: 27.
Tendered by Ravens (original)
Arthur Jones broke into the starting lineup in the middle of the season and performed well, stopping the run effectively and getting to the quarterback on occasion.
Ed Dickson (RFA), TE, Ravens. Age: 26.
Tendered by Ravens (2nd round)
Ed Dickson has lots of potential, but he's never developed into the type of receiving threat the Ravens hoped he'd become when they took him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
- Ramon Harewood (RFA), OT/G, Ravens. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Ravens
- James Ihedigbo, S, Ravens. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Ravens (1 year)
- Ryan McBean, DT, Ravens. Age: 29.
- Maake Kemoeatu, NT, Ravens. Age: 34.
- Dennis Dixon, QB, Ravens. Age: 28. -- Signed with Eagles (2 years)
- Billy Bajema, TE, Ravens. Age: 30.
- Bobbie Williams, G, Ravens. Age: 36.
- Brendon Ayanbadejo, ILB, Ravens. Age: 36.
- Sean Considine, S, Ravens. Age: 30.
- Ricky Brown, ILB, Ravens. Age: 29.
- Chris Johnson, CB, Ravens. Age: 33. -- Re-signed with Ravens
- David Reed (RFA), WR, Ravens. Age: 26.
2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades
2013 Fantasy Football Rankings - May 21
2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 21
Charlie's 2014 NFL Mock Draft - May 20
2013 NBA Mock Draft - May 3
NFL Picks - Feb. 3
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