Ravens Rookies: Kamalei Correa
Ht/Wt: 6’3”/243 lbs
Accolades: Second team All-Mountain West 2015. First team All-Mountain West 2014
Pronounced : (Kah-mah-lay Core-ray-ah)
The Ravens addressed the edge rush position with their second round pick, 42nd overall after trading back twice from number 36. With the selection, Kamalei Correa, Boise State Broncos.
Let’s go to the tape, starting with the strengths in Correa’s game.
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Strengths: Correa brings speed, and a dynamite swim move as part of his arsenal. Watch as he blows past the opposing guard #61. #61 is standing there waiting for someone to block, as if Correa didn’t just breeze past past him in a blink.
In addition to speed, he has a nice punch that knocks a backpedaling blocker off balance, allowing him to turn the corner and attack the quarterback. I also like the direct route Correa takes to the quarterback. Often times players will take a wide loop around the blocker and have to come back to the quarterback. It leads to a half second difference in the sack, or a completed pass.
A little different angle of attack here than the clip against Virginia. A little punch on a tackle going backwards, hard for the tackle to gather himself before Correa gets past him.
Correa looks like he has the makings of a game changing playmaker. Game changing in the way that he has a knack for jarring the football loose. He fundamentally wraps up the ball carrier, or quarterback in this case, so his hands end up where the ball sits comfortably.
And there is more where that comes from.
Other strengths include the ability to shed blocks of tight ends with ease. He also has a knack for playing zone coverage which makes Correa a nice fit in Dean Pees’ defensive scheme. The Ravens lack a linebacker with exceptional coverage skills. C.J. Mosley is a very good player, but gets lost in coverage. He makes up for it with his interior rush skills.
Weaknesses: There is no perfect player. So we’ll split hairs and talk about the young man’s weaknesses, starting with the lack of a bull rush or dipping of the hips off the edge. He does at other times show good bend on the edge. This may have been a one off occurrence where there was a lapse in the fundamentals. It happens. You’re going to call me crazy because this clip of Correa getting a sack, or at least a half of one, is going under “weaknesses”. But this is the type of play you can get away with against Colorado State. Standing up tall, using speed to beat a less than nimble blocker. At the pro level, he’ll need to win leverage battles. Correa won’t gain leverage in the NFL playing this upright.
I showed you earlier where Correa gets a quick punch on the passing downs, knocking a backpedaling blocker off balance. But when it’s a running play this was a common result. The blocker has a head of steam moving forward, Correa playing upright like in the previous clip, the tackle moves the relatively light linebacker with ease. Correa is at the bottom of the screen going against the BYU left tackle.
Correa has a high motor out there, but will at times stop his feet and try to shed blocks with brute upper body strength. On the plus side, if the runner bounces this run to the outside, Correa wasn’t manhandled by the blocker. He would have been able to get free and pursue the ball carrier which is what they call, setting the edge. But at the next level, more talented tackles will move Correa out of the way with ease if he stops in his tracks and tries to hand fight for position.
While being excellent in zone coverage, it did not appear he was tasked with covering a tight end or slot receiver one on one in man coverage.
Ravens depth chart: Correa showed versatility as an edge rusher at Boise State on three man fronts, a hand in the dirt defensive end on four man fronts, playing inside or outside. I expect that he’ll likely see most of his playing time in the 3-4 edge rush capacity with the linebacking group. I see veterans Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil manning their posts to start things off, with Kamalei Correa and Za’Darius Smith behind them. Dumervil was always a rotational piece, and I kind of see Correa being that same kind of player as a rookie. Situational pass rusher. I’m not sure Correa fits the bill as a Courtney Upshaw replacement yet as setting the edge in the run game is a skill he needs to develop. That is where Smith may earn more reps early on if they keep Dumervil in the sub package role.
What the Ravens said: “When you meet him, you’ll see it. We didn’t need to talk too much,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We knew what his character was. We had 15 minutes; that was all we needed to know.”
What Correa said: “They picked a guy who is a hard worker, who isn’t going to stop, is dedicated and will help them win a Super Bowl.”
What Scouts say: Mike Mayock, NFL Network talked about Correa pre-draft. “When you draft guys like that, you have to know how to use them. If you’re asking them to set an edge in the run game 30 times a game, thats probably not the answer. But if you’re using him intelligently in the pass game, and again it’s a pass first league, and you got to go chase Ben Roethlisberger and you got to go get Andy Dalton, then he’s the type of guy that makes sense.”
Where scouts ranked Correa: ESPN’s team ranked the 42nd overall pick at number 34. Former Ravens Scout, and now NFL Network analyst, Daniel Jeramiah, had Correa ranked 33rd on his big board. CBS Sports ranked him 40th on their board. Pro Football Focus listed Correa as a third round selection, and the 12th best edge rusher in the draft. Oddly enough, ranked just behind Bronson Kafusi, whom the Ravens would select in the next round. Mike Mayock made him a first round bubble guy. Late first, early second round pick projection.
It should be noted that PFF is new to the draft and college scouting game. It has been interesting to see some of their projections. A lot of their analysis appears to be based on the same advanced stats they use in the NFL that are wonderful. They apply the same to college players. I don’t believe in college stats translating to the NFL game, or else Timmy Chang would have been a first round pick and likely Hall of Fame quarterback. But time will tell. I plan on monitoring this closely as the forward thinking company looks to transcend the staples in the business like Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock. Similar to how Bill James changed how many analyze baseball and was ridiculed early in process.
Interesting facts: Kamalei Correa was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Outstanding three-cone drill time of 6.96 seconds at the NFL’s Scouting Combine. Under seven seconds is elite. The drill measures the ability to turn a corner and accelerate like an edge rusher would pursuing a quarterback. The Ravens met with him at the Scouting Combine, and that was all they needed. No contact with Correa until they drafted him on day two. Pro Football Focus noted that Correa played an even split against left and right tackles, but was more productive against the right tackles.
On ESPN’s one through five scale (One = Exceptional. Three = Average. Five = Marginal), Kamalei Correa checked every box with a one or a two. Exceptional durability, production and range versus the run.
As far as I can tell, Kamalei is unrelated to budding young baseball star, Carlos Correa, shortstop of the Houston Astros. So any ideas of a brother, or cousin, convincing a relative to relocate to Baltimore just north of Russell Street is out of the question.
GIFs courtesy of Draft Breakdown. Photo Courtesy of Baltimore Ravens
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]