BSL’s Ravens Post-Draft Roundtable
With a couple weeks to digest the draft, watch tape on our new players, watch the roster expand up to 90, and mini-camps getting underway, it’s time to give our thoughts. Contributing in the discussion are BSL’s Ravens Analysts, Mike Randall, Gabe Ferguson, and Shawn Brubaker.
Discuss your thoughts on these questions and answers on our message board.
1. So much drama went down in the early going of the draft. What are your thoughts on the events that led up to the Ravens drafting OT, Ronnie Stanley, with the sixth overall pick?
Mike Randall – Apparently a lot of folks misread how teams felt about Myles Jack. A lot of mocks had him going top ten, top five, despite the injury situation. He was my prediction, assuming Joey Bosa, Laremy Tunsil, and Jalen Ramsey would be taken ahead of Baltimore at number six. When the Tunsil video came out, I thought that would hurt him. It did, but I didn’t expect the fall to 13 though. When Dallas took Ezekiel Elliott, I thought that guaranteed the Ravens would get one of the top three talents in the draft. Just a bizarre turn of events all around. Two teams trade up to the top two spots. A Twitter hack sabotages the presumptive top talent. Medical red flags hurt arguably the best linebacker more than we expected. All in all, the Ravens got a solid left tackle in Ronnie Stanley. He checks all the boxes for protecting Joe Flacco, and O-lineman projected to go that high in the draft are safe bets to live up to the hype, more so than players of other positions. I’d predict Stanley to be more successful than Carson Wentz when all is said and done.
Gabe Ferguson – First of all, I think it’s a shame that Laremy Tunsil was forced to go through that drama during the draft. I think the Ravens did what they thought was necessary at the time. Tunsil was most assuredly their highest rated player at #6 before the video, but afterwards it became too much of a risk and PR nightmare to deal with. Stanley is fine player, but I would have personally liked to see the Ravens go with the higher rated Tunsil in this situation.
Shawn Brubaker – I try not to spend too much time worrying about who the Ravens didn’t draft, and spend more time focusing on who they did. I get why they passed on Tunsil, so that’s a non-issue for me. I just don’t see a world in which Ronnie Stanley was the sixth best player in this draft class. He’s a good pass blocker, but doesn’t block well downfield and doesn’t push guys around in the ground game. Someone with those caveats shouldn’t be taken sixth overall.
2. With Stanley being the pick, what are your thoughts on the offensive line as a whole? Furthermore, do you feel like a previous role player on the line, days are numbered? (Eugene Monroe, Rick Wagner, John Urschel, Ryan Jensen, Jeremy Zuttah).
MR – I think Stanley is going to anchor one of the tackle spots. Eugene Monroe has been put on notice. Wagner would be my guess to move into a guard position where he played a bit in college, if all three of Monroe, Wagner, Stanley, prove their worth through the summer. Zuttah is a scheme fit for center, and performed much better than Urschel has there. The good news is that there should not be room for James Hurst on the 2016 roster. Sorry to say, but he is not good.
GF – The offensive line is improved with the addition of Stanley and Lewis, that much is certain. The LT position will likely be an open competition, and I don’t think Monroe’s roster spot is guaranteed by any stretch. In the end, I think we will see Stanley sliding into LG with Monroe at remaining at LT, but if he falters Stanley could kick outside with either Lewis, Urschel or Jensen taking his spot at LG.
SB – I feel good about the depth, and I see no reason why anyone’s job should be in jeopardy from that group.. Monroe is still your best left tackle, and I’d rather keep the modest cap savings they’d get from cutting him and take a chance he can play. The key question if Monroe stays is what is the plan for Stanley? Compete at left guard against Ryan Jensen and John Urschel? Compete at right tackle against Wagner? Regardless, the depth is in good shape, so this unit should be better. And James Hurst will probably be out of the picture.
3. Much of the discussion post draft has been on how the Ravens approached day two, rounds two and three. Give us your thoughts on what they accomplished, and if it jives with what you wanted to see.
MR – Once again, the Myles Jack situation was tough to dissect. At some point you have to be willing to take the risk. I’m not sure how it will play out, I don’t grade drafts until a couple years after at least. But I feel like the Ravens passed on some immensely talented players who could have had first round grades like Jack, and Mackensie Alexander. I like Kamalei Correa as an edge rusher, and Bronson Kafusi seems like a Brent Urban type of player. Some potential there for sure. Not terrible picks by any means. It sounds like they tried to trade up at times, but teams weren’t willing to deal. I wonder who the targets were they wanted to trade up for.
GF – I would have liked to see the Ravens stay put at #36 and drafted Myles Jack or perhaps Noah Spence, but accumulating picks is never a bad option for a team with the number of needs the Ravens had. I doubt all 11 picks make the final 53 man roster, but the Ravens will field a strong roster that was honed by real competition at multiple positions.
SB – I like the picks. The Ravens desperately needed a pass rusher, and they got two. Kamalei Correa is a passionate football player with a well-rounded skillset and good athleticism. Noah Spence was pretty much only a speed rusher. Correa is a complete football player. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest the Ravens passed on him. Bronson Kaufusi is a nice fit in the role that Chris Canty played last year. The Ravens have a lot of depth on that D-line, which is great for them. All in all, the Ravens took three guys who can rush the passer after years of settling for run stuffers. That’s a great move.
4. It appears the Ravens shifted philosophy in this draft. Best player available was always their style. But if you follow the expert’s big boards, this wasn’t the case, at least after round one. Do you think there is change given how the draft played out?
MR – I think when you come off of a five-win season, you can’t afford to be wrong in the next draft. Yeah, they could have gotten Tunsil and Jack. But that could have also turned into a drug suspension and a year on IR given the information we got. That obviously wouldn’t help the 2016 Ravens one bit. I wouldn’t think the Ravens are making changes to how they approach the draft. I think given their position in this draft, the record they are coming off of, they wanted to land as many solid picks as they can, rather than question marks with high ceilings and very low floors. They played it pretty safe, tried to move up for guys they really wanted, so it probably didn’t play out for the Ravens they way they wanted it to. But I don’t think there is much change in philosophy.
GF – According to the Ravens, their Board and the team’s needs coincided extremely well in this draft and it’s hard to argue too much with that given the perceived value of many of the players taken especially in the 4th round. I think they stuck to the BPA approach although it’s important to remember that BPA really means best player available on a board stacked with the team’s needs in mind.
SB – I don’t think it’s a change in philosophy. The Ravens have long eschewed flashy names in the mid to late rounds in favor of small-school or unheralded players. It’s not a bad move. Flashy names are probably overvalued. Watching this year’s picks on tape, I think they got good players whose talents exceed their draft stock.
5. On to day three, where pundits like what the Ravens did quite a bit. Which pick do you feel has the potential to be a major contributor on this team?
MR – In the short term, I think it could be Willie Henry. I think the competition on the front line is wide open, with the exception of Brandon Williams entrenched as nose tackle. He’s a Michigan guy, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Jim Harbaugh told brother John, “you’re really going to want this guy.” Henry was a key player on likely the best defense in the NCAA. Long term, Kenneth Dixon has playmaking potential all over, especially as a receiver. Makes him a perfect fit for Marc Trestman’s offense, but in 2016 he might see minimal playing time given the log jam at the position.
GF – Two picks really stand out to me, and they are both offensive skill players. I think both Chris Moore and Kenneth Dixon have a chance to be starters for the Ravens in the near future. It wouldn’t surprise me if Dixon emerges as the top RB in 2016.
SB – I’ll give two names. The most likely player to become a key contributor is Tavon Young, who covers very well and plays bigger than his listed size. That lack of height may put a ceiling on Young, but it doesn’t keep him from being a quality nickel corner. The player most likely to be a star is Matt Judon, a Division II star with immense athleticism. Judon looked like he was playing in a game of Madden on rookie mode. He didn’t do anything fancy: He just dominated. If the Ravens can train him in the nuances of the game, he can be special.
6. Keenan Reynolds was arguably the best story of the draft. Watching the draft with his family in Maryland, a Naval Academy grad, who was selected by the Ravens in emotional fashion. As a record setting quarterback for Navy running the triple option, the Ravens announced his name as a wide receiver upon selection. How do you feel about the selection, possible military obligations aside?
MR – Forgive me if this sounds insensitive, but I feel like Reynolds was a novelty pick. Like in a baseball draft when you get to later rounds and you take some former star players kid or grand kid, or Joe Flacco’s brother, Mike (who is going to try to make it through mini-camp with the Ravens this year as a tight end). There is Maryland, Navy connections here. Makes for a great story. But Reynolds has caught one ball in his entire college career, and they want him to play wide receiver at the games highest level? I don’t know. It a nice story, and Reynolds is a great young man, and I hope he gets his shot and shows well. But that’s about all I can say.
GF – He was an absolute playmaker for Navy when was a ball carrier. He’s going to have to make the transition to slot WR like a Julian Edelman, but he has a real chance to stick. I like the selection a lot.
SB – It’s a fun pick for the fans. Anyone who claims to know how Reynolds will look at wide receiver is lying to you. It’s a shot in the dark, but one worth taking. At minimum, he should be a quality special teamer and scout team quarterback.
7. It’s early, but after the draft, many positions are overloaded as teams boost the roster to 90 guys. Which position battle are you looking forward to this summer?
MR – Looks like early on, It’s running back for me. Very interested to see how quickly Kenneth Dixon develops, if Justin Forsett becomes and unlikely, but possible salary cap casualty. If Trent Richardson losing 20 pounds will make a difference in his game. A lot of pieces in that position group.
GF – The offensive skill positions will be the most interesting to me. The Ravens have a lot of options at RB, WR and TE and it will be interesting to see how the depth chart shakes out.
SB – The Ravens didn’t draft at the position, but I’m excited to see the tight end battle. Ben Watson, Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmore should allow the Ravens to do a lot of three tight end looks. Who gets the most looks will be interesting to watch, but it should be Williams. He needs his chance to shine, and he can make contested catches as well as anybody on the team.
8. Lastly, if you you look at he Ravens draft history, it’s often you can pick out three players from each class who were major contributors during their tenure. Which three guys will wind up being the cream of the 2016 crop?
MR – Ronnie Stanley, Kenneth Dixon, and a guy I haven’t talked about yet in Matt Judon. Judon dominated the combine at his position, impressive explosion and agility. That will translate to any game, even though he went to a D-II school, Grand Valley State. Some day, people are going to have to realize it doesn’t matter if you are a small school guy, right? On the Ravens alone, Joe Flacco, Lardarius Webb, Brandon Williams are big time players. And countless others who have been worthy in their careers like Terrence West and Kyle Arrington.
GF – Stanley will be a longterm starter for the Ravens in my estimation. I think Bronson Kaufusi will also be a very nice DL piece for the team right away, and Kenneth Dixon could start as early as this coming year. I think those three will be the most impactful players from this draft class, but they are going to get a lot of contributions for many years from this group.
SB – Ronnie Stanley, Kamalei Correa and Tavon Young.