Baltimore Ravens Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
May 29, 2013

Solid Starter

Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State – Round 2
The Ravens taking Brown reminds me of Neal Anderson following Walter Payton with the Bears. Anderson was a very good and underrated pro, but not as good as the Hall of Famer before him. I think Brown is going to be a good, solid professional who should have a productive NFL career as a starting inside linebacker in the Ravens’ 3-4 defense.

That is a reasonable expectation for a second-round pick, and nobody should criticize Brown if he isn’t as good as Ray Lewis was. All Baltimore should be concerned about is if Brown turns into a functional player in the team’s defense.

Scouts told that they thought Brown was a poor-man’s version of Lavonte David, which was fitting description of Brown’s college career. He was a well-rounded defender for Kansas State the past two seasons. Brown did a good job of chasing down running backs, was skilled in pass coverage and was able to get pressure when blitzing.

Brown is a smart player who is extremely dedicated to football. He also brings a lot of leadership and character into the locker room. The Ravens should have a dependable starter in Brown for years to come.

Most Likely To Bust

Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern – Round 3
I don’t feel great about this projection. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and his scouting staff are so solid at drafting that I don’t feel confident saying any of their picks will bust. That being said, I have to pick one. and Williams has the most obstacles that could lead to him not being on the roster in a few years.

It made sense for the Ravens to get another nose tackle as Terrence Cody has been a disappointment up to now. However, the light bulb could come on for Cody as he approaches free agency after the 2013 season.

Williams was a good pass-rusher in college, but that domination was on a lower level of competition. He is going to have to adjust to a much better caliber of blocker in the NFL. The Ravens can be patient with Williams and develop him. Beyond Cody and stud lineman Haloti Ngata, Baltimore has two newly signed veterans in Marcus Spears and Chris Canty. It wouldn’t be surprising if Williams has a hard time earning playing time in the Ravens’ three-man defensive front. A stacked depth chart and jump in competition could prove to be too much for him to overcome.

Potential Boom Pick

Matt Elam, S, Florida – Round 1
The Ravens use the first round to try to land a solid double and a safe pick over the boom-and-bust potential of other first-round talents. Elam definitely fits that mold because he has a high floor -at a minimum he should be a solid starter-, but he has a big skill set to be an impact player in the NFL. Elam was one of the best safeties in the nation last year. He provided some huge impact plays to lead the Gators defense. Elam made his presence felt as a physical run-defender and as an instinctive play-maker in pass coverage.

Scouts from rival teams said they liked Elam and graded him highly. Their only concern with him was his height. The 5-foot-10 and 208-pounder could have some issues in pass coverage against tall tight ends and receivers. While those targets have the length to make catches above Elam, he has massive hitting ability to jar passes loose. Elam has good ball skills and the ability to be a weapon as a center fielder. He also is excellent on special teams. The Ravens’ defense lost a Hall of Fame safety this offseason in Ed Reed, but Elam could quickly pick up the torch to provide some continuity for Baltimore in having one of the top safeties in the NFL.

Future Depth Player

John Simon, OLB, Ohio State – Round 4
If John Simon (6-1, 257) were bigger and faster, he would have been a first-round pick. Simon showed off one of the best motors in college football as a Buckeye. He totaled 44 tackles and nine sacks in 11 games last season.

Simon is very strong and physical for his size. He does a nice job of using his hands to shed blocks and get free to make plays. Simon played defensive end for Ohio State, but in the NFL, he will have to transition to outside linebacker.

The Ravens already have two proven pass-rushers coming off the edge in Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. The team also has a promising young backup in Courtney Upshaw ahead of Simon. Thus, he would only see a lot of playing time if there were a rash of injuries.

Simon should be a good backup who can rotate into the game. He also could be a good special teams contributor. The Ravens used their qaulity depth to help propel them to a Super Bowl championship last year, and Simon looks like he will be a quality backup in the NFL.

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.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

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 Draft Team Grade: A- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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