During and after every NFL First Year Player Draft journalists, bloggers and fans are quick to give their opinion of how each team fared based on who they chose. Some outlets even go as far as handing out grades immediately after the draft is completed. While this may be an informative way to get our heads around the players our teams drafted and how teams performed as a whole, the exercise is a rather futile one. Year after year guys are busts, not deserving to be drafted as highly as they were and some guys slip and end up producing well above their draft slot. I feel that we do not get a true sense of a teams haul until at least three years removed from the draft and sometimes more. With that said, I thought it would be more informative to evaluate the Ravens draft five years later.
Round 1 – Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma
With the 22ndpick of the first round the Ravens chose Clayton, a quick play-making wideout from Oklahoma. Clayton was a star on some excellent teams at OU. He was known as a tough competitor whose quickness and elusiveness would make him hard to bring down in the open field. Clayton, however, has never established himself as a consistent play-maker, andwhile he has had some decent moments he has to be considered as one of the worst1st round choices by GM Ozzie Newsome, up there with Travis Taylor and Kyle Boller. This pick is even more suspect when you consider that Aaron Rodgers was taken two picks later by Green Bay andAtlanta chose WR Roddy White at 27. I can understand passing on Rodgers, because the Ravens had drafted Kyle Boller 2 years earlier, but White would have been a better choice for the Ravens. Guard Logan Mankinswas also chosen by the patriots with pick 32.
Round 2 – Dan Cody, LB, Oklahoma and Adam Terry, T, Syracuse
The Ravens selected another OU player withthe 53rd overall pick in outside linebacker Dan Cody. Cody was a productive player at OU, who as I recall had some troubles with depression. Unfortunately, Cody was never able to stay healthy as a Raven andwas let go after 3 injury shortened years. Adam Terry was selected with the 64th overall pick out of Syracuse. Terry saw the field a fair amount for the Ravens from ’05 through ’08 as a back up tackle and was used often in Cam Cameron’s un-balanced line scheme in ’08. Terry seemed to lack the skill or toughness to be a regular starter. He and the Ravens parted ways after ’09, a season Terry sat out due to a knee injury. After 2 rounds the Ravens were 0 for OU and 0-3 on picks. Kelvin Hayden was selected by Indy seven picks after Cody. After the selection of Terry, Frank Gore was selected 65th overall, Channing Crowderwas chosen with the 70th pick andJustin Tuck with pick #74. Also chosen after Terry and before the Ravens next pick in the 4thround were Dominique Foxworth, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs and Kerry Rhodes. If the Ravens had to do the round over again it seems like the right choices would have been Tuck and either Gore, Barber or Jacobs. To make matters worse the Ravens traded their 3rd and 6thround picks in the ’05 draft and their 3rd rounder in the ’06 draft to move up to select Terry. A rather auspicious beginning.
Round 4 – Jason Brown, OL, UNC
Jason Brown was selected by the Ravens with the 124th pick out of NorthCarolina. I do not have much of a problem withthis pick. Brown was productive during his time in Baltimore. It was a shame he departed as a free agent, but probably was not worth the money he commanded to the Ravens. The only other player selected after Brown that I would have considered for the pick was Chris Cantywho was chosen with pick # 132.
Round 5 – Justin Green, FB, Montana
Justin Green was the Ravens next selection at pick # 158. Green was a FB out of Montana who never caught on with the Ravens. Granted the pickings were getting pretty slim by this point, but Bo Scaife was chosen at pick #179 and Chris Kemoeatu at 204. Neither Scaife or Kemoeatuare world beaters, but they both have had much more productive careers than Green. Either would have been a better pick.
Round 6 – Derek Anderson, QB, Oregon St.
With a compensatory selection in the 6throundthe Ravens selected QB Derek Anderson at #213. This is also a pick that I do not have a problem with. The Ravens took a shot on a strong armed quarterback who has proven he can play in the NFL. You can debate how well he can play, but Anderson had a big year with Clevelandin ’07, leading them to a play-off berth. Anderson’s career has been rocky since, but the Ravens looked like they were going to have egg on their face after Anderson was claimed from the Ravens practice squad by the Browns. After ’07 most Ravens fans would have preferred Anderson over Boller. Perhaps Matt Cassell, selected with the 230th pick, would have been a better choice.
Round 7 MIke Smith, LB, Texas Tech
With the 234thpick the Ravens chose Mike Smith, a linebacker, from Texas Tech. Smithalso never got to show his wares with the Ravens and FB Madison Hedgecock would have been a better selection. Hedgecockwas selected with the 251st overall pick.
Looking back this might be the worst draft in the history of the Baltimore Ravens. Some of that may have to do withthe ’05 class being a pretty poor one. Alex Smith, Braylon Edwards, Pacman Jones, Troy Williamson, Carlos Rogers and Mike Williams were all selected in the top 10 of this draft. But you could argue that the Ravens missed on 5 of their 7 picks andsome of them were bad misses. How different would the Ravens fortunes have been with an Aaron Rodgers, Roddy White, Frank Gore, Justin tuck or Brandon Jacobs. Obviously, it is easy to look back and criticize picks, but I think it is interesting to evaluate how the front office is really doing at drafting players. What would you have done differently?