Baltimore Ravens Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota – Round 2
The Ravens entered the 2015 NFL Draft with a huge hole at the tight end position, and they needed a receiving threat for Marc Trestman’s offense. Baltimore was very fortunate to land Williams in the second round, and the team’s trade up for him looks like another brilliant move by general manager Ozzie Newsome. Williams has the speed and athleticism to be a dangerous threat in the NFL.

Williams has good size, natural receiving ability, athleticism and run-after-the-catch skills. He also has some blocking potential to be developed. Williams recorded 36 passes for 569 yards with eight touchdowns during the regular season. He was capable of a lot more production for the Gophers, as he is a real mismatch weapon, but they had a run-based offense.

Sources with some teams said that Williams didn’t impress teams in the interviews at the Combine, while others team contacts said that Williams wasn’t a poor-character guy but needed more maturity. The Ravens have a veteran locker room and a track record of success in developing their draft picks. It shouldn’t be long before Williams emerges as a solid starter for Baltimore.

Most Likely To Bust

Carl Davis, DT, Iowa – Round 3
Across the NFL, everyone agrees that Davis has an excellent skill set for the next level. The 6-foot-4, 321-pounder has a lot of natural talent with size, strength and speed at the point of attack. That was put on display at the Senior Bowl when he had a superb week of practice and the all-star offensive linemen struggled to block him. However, the reason why Davis slid to the third round, and why he is my pick for most likely to bust, has to do with his attitude and work ethic.

Sources said that Davis was awful in team interviews at the Senior Bowl. He came across as lazy and arrogant. Davis said he should only play 20-30 snaps per game and was unabashed about regularly taking himself out of games as a senior. That led to meager production with only 34 tackles and two sacks in his final season. He also gave excuses for poor practice effort because he said he didn’t want to risk injury while going against enthusiastic scout-team linemen trying to work their way up the depth chart.

Perhaps sliding to pick No. 90 will serve as a wake-up call for Davis. Jon Gruden used to say there are two kind of players in the NFL: “playas” and “players.” Players are professionals who work hard and also enjoy the game of football. “Playas” are lazy and are only playing football for the money and fame. Davis sounds like a “playa,” and I think that could lead to him being a bust as a pro.

Potential Boom Pick

Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida – Round 1
The Ravens were desperate at the wide receiver position this offseason. Veteran Torrey Smith left Baltimore in free agency, and the team’s top leading receiver is the 36-year-old Steve Smith Sr. Quarterback Joe Flacco needs some long-term wideouts to work with, while new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman runs an offense that relies on receivers to provide big plays. Baltimore took Perriman with the 26th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and it looks like a great fit.

The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Perriman is a vertical receiver who produced 906 yards on only 41 receptions with nine touchdowns in his final collegiate season. He showed his deep speed with a blistering 40 time at his pro day. Perriman needs to improve his route-running and learn to run a variety of routes. He also drops way too many passes.

However, Perriman is adept at running the slant routes and vertical routes that are very important in Trestman’s offense. Perriman will fit nicely in the role that Alshon Jeffery occupied for Trestman in Chicago. With Flacco’s powerful arm, Perriman should be able to contribute quickly for Baltimore. With his combination of size and speed, Perriman could be a huge boom pick for the Ravens.

Future Depth Player

Buck Allen, RB, USC – Round 4
The 2015 NFL Draft was very strong at the running back position, and one of the many mid-round values was the USC product Allen. The 6-foot, 220-pounder is a one-cut downhill runner who has the strength to pick up yards after contact. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 1,489 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground in 2014. Allen also caught 41 passes for 458 yards and a score. I really like Allen’s fit in Marc Trestman’s offense. In Chicago, among other stops, Trestman used his running backs, like Matt Forte, as receiving weapons, and Allen is a great fit for that. The former Trojan played in a West Coast offense in college that has a lot of similarities to Trestman’s system. There was some overlap from USC’s offense in Allen’s early years under Lane Kiffin and Trestman’s system as both of those coaches learned to scheme under Jon Gruden. Allen won’t beat out Justin Forsett to be the Ravens’ lead back this season, but I think he will be a quality backup and role player for Baltimore.

Walt’s 2015 NFL Draft Grades:

26. Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida: B Grade
The media was talking about Breshad Perriman going as high as No. 14 or 15, which I thought was crazy. Perriman, while very athletic, was way too raw to be chosen that early. This, however, is the right spot for him; in fact, I had Perriman going to Baltimore a week ago before changing the selection on Tuesday. The need for Perriman is obvious; with Torrey Smith gone, Joe Flacco needed a deep threat across from Steve Smith.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

55. Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota: A+ Grade
If you’re the Falcons or another team with a glaring need at tight end, and you passed on Maxx Williams and later saw Ozzie Newsome select him in the very same round, what are you thinking? Probably, “Ah, crap, we f***ed up.” It’s true. I don’t know what those teams were thinking because this is an absolute steal. Williams could’ve easily gone at the end of the first round, but the Ravens aren’t complaining. He’ll provide a boost on offense while filling a huge need for them.

90. Carl Davis, DT, Iowa: A+ Grade
Ozzie Newsome with another A+ pick. Shocker. Carl Davis has first-round talent, but we thought he would drop because he interviewed extremely poorly at the Senior Bowl. Taking him in the second would’ve been fine, but snagging him in the third frame is a downright steal. The Ravens had to find a replacement up front for Haloti Ngata. Some fans panicked during free agency, but they should’ve known that Newsome would find a solution.

122. Za’Darius Smith, DE/OLB, Kentucky: B+ Grade
The Ravens acquired this selection in the Haloti Ngata trade, but they used it on a player who could eventually replace another Pro Bowler – Terrell Suggs. Za’Darius Smith once again provides Ozzie Newsome with value; he could have easily gone in the third frame without any complaints.

125. Buck Allen, RB, USC: B+ Grade
Here’s another Baltimore selection that can’t be argued. I had Buck Allen going at the beginning of the fourth round, so there’s some value here. Allen is a solid pass protector, so he’ll have a role in this offense. He also fills a need with Bernard Pierce gone.

136. Tray Walker, CB, Texas Southern: C+ Grade
Finally, a Baltimore pick I’m not in love with. Tray Walker doesn’t bring value like the Ravens’ other selections. However, he generated a ton of interest during the pre-draft process, so perhaps Baltimore was scared that Walker would come off the board soon despite being a sixth-round prospect. Oh, and he does fill a need.

171. Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware: B+ Grade
Nick Boyle has to deal with Maxx Williams ahead of him on the depth chart, but the Ravens needed another tight end. Nick Boyle is a big, long, tight end who is very athletic. He has good upside and could eventually emerge as a strong No. 2 option at the position behind Williams.

176. Robert Myers, G, Tennessee State: A- Grade
Another steal for Ozzie Newsome. I had the Ravens taking Robert Myers – but at No. 136. Newsome is getting a skilled guard 40 spots later than projected, so this obviously deserves a high grade.

204. Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech: A Grade
Darren Waller is one of the most-athletic receivers in the draft despite being 6-6 and close to 240 pounds. He blew up the Combine, so I thought he’d go earlier than this. No one was going to be surprised if he went in the fourth round, so this is a steal.

2015 NFL Draft Team Grade: A+ . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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