The Baltimore Ravens missed the playoffs for the first time under Joe Flacco. Finishing the season 8-8 and placing 3rd in the AFC North, behind the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers. In large part due to their offense, or lack thereof. Finishing 30th running ball, averaging an abysmal 83 yards on the ground. The Ravens weren't much better though the air, ending the season 18th overall.
Now there are a number of things we can blame this on, there lack of offensive as I stated above, some key injuries. Most notably Dennis Pita. Ray Rice’s productivity drop, seemingly coming out of nowhere. Or maybe it was due to the amount of money the Ravens gave Joe Flacco after winning the Super Bowl and because of that, they weren't able to bring back all of their free agents. One thing is for sure, it wasn't just one element, and it was many.
Here is a prediction of the Baltimore Ravens first three rounds, in the upcoming NFL draft. Based off of needs, the free agents the Ravens acquired and the ones they lost.
1st round-Pick Number 17: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville: The Ravens lost their most productive safety from 2013, James Ihedigbo through free agency to the Detroit Lions. The Ravens will need to replace him and since they haven’t up to this point, one can only assume that they will do so through the draft. Pryor would be a good replacement, he has the range, plays sideline to sideline and can play in the box, stopping the run with the best of them. Elam and Pryor will be a nightmare for receivers coming across the middle.
2nd round-Pick number 48: Jawuan James, OT, Tennessee: With the departure of Michael Other, the Ravens have a pretty big hole to fill. With a pretty deep class at tackle, I can see the Ravens waiting till the second round to pick up someone like James. A big body, good height and weight. A little top heavy at times though and has the tendency to slide off blocks. Still a great pick and a more than adequate replacement for Oher.
3rd round-Pick number 79: Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana: Without Dennis Pita and when Jacoby Jones got injured, to say that the Ravens struggled passing the ball, would be quite the understatement. Fortunaely for the Ravens, this year’s draft class is deep with receivers. After picking up Steve Smith, I think they wait until their first pick in the 3rd round to take Latimer. Latimer is the taller receiver that they need, he has great hands and eye hand coordination. Above average straight line speed and a great vertical to boot, at 39 inches. His only knocks against him are his lack of elusiveness and the potential health concerns, having missed 8 games over his collegiate career.
3rd round-Pick number 99: Louchiez Purifoy, CB, Florida: The Ravens lost more than just some depth when they lost standout CB, Corey Graham to the Buffalo Bills. Purifoy is one of the better corners in this draft and would have been a border line first rounder, if it weren’t for his off the field issues, stemming from an arrest in 2013. He’s got very good cover skills, plays with his feet under him and isn’t afraid to get aggressive when it comes to the run. Purifoy is a steal in the third and a great fit for the Ravens.
The 2014 NFL draft airs May 8th and goes through the 10th. Stay tuned for more NFL draft coverage and let us know what you think.
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