Hello fellow Raven fans. Today is the first of a multi-part series in which I examine the draft from the Ravens' perspective and how it could have been done better. Why start with 2001? I'm not sure, but it seems like a good year considering it was the first draft after our Super Bowl win. So enjoy the analysis.
#31 - Todd Heap - Tight End - Arizona State
Other players available at the pick: Drew Brees, Chad Johnson, Matt Light, Kris Jenkins, Ken Lucas
Best choice? Heap was a good pick. He has been one of the better tight ends in the league and a mainstay of the Ravens offense since he has been drafted by them, but tight ends can be had from other places than a first round pick. Given, they may not be as dominant as Heap was for us, but our shortcomings at quarterback and wide receiver have been rampant for years, so Brees or Johnson would have been better picks for us. Still, a solid pick.
#62 - Gary Baxter - Cornerback - Baylor
Other players available at the pick: Adrian Wilson, Steve Smith, Derrick Burgess, William Peterson, Kareem McKenzie
Best choice? Yeah...no. Baxter was not bad for us, and now he's a not-bad nickel for the Browns, though injury-plagued. We simply could have done better. Getting Adrian Wilson here and drafting Ed Reed next draft would have been the greatest safety tandem, nay greatest thing in the history of the world. As far as cornerbacks, Peterson would have been a better choice and Smith would have really helped out our offense as well. Decent, but could have been a lot better.
#93 - Casey Rabach - Center - Wisconsin
Other players available at the pick: Anthony Henry, Rudi Johnson, Matt Stewart
Best choice? Not really. Rabach never really started for us. But he did provide us with one way you know you have total dominance over your crosstown rival team: they sign our backup center to make their starting line better. So that's nice. Henry woulda been a good pickup for us, really improving our secondary.
#126 - Edgerton Hartwell - Linebacker - Western Illinois
Other players available at the pick: Jerametrius Butler, Jarrod Cooper, AJ Feeley
Best choice? Eh, maybe. Hartwell wasn't bad for us during his tenure here and he'll be back in the NFL this season with the Raiders after a year without a team. So maybe Hartwell was the best choice, but the other players mentioned wouldn't be bad backups for us.
#161 - Chris Barnes - Running Back - New Mexico State
Other players available at the pick: Rodney Bailey, Chris Cooper, Ellis Wyms, Kevin Kasper
Best choice? No. It just wasn't. Barnes was totally irrelevant for us, and some of these guys would have bolstered our defense, or offense in Kasper's case.
#194 - Joe Maese - Center/Long Snapper - New Mexico
Other players available at the pick: TJ Houshmandzadeh, Renaldo Hill, Kynan Forney
Best choice? I'll be honest, I don't know much about Maese. The only thing I know about him is that he was the bald dude who was the lowest rated player (overall) in Madden 2004. So...he wasn't a good pick. Those three would have been far better.
#231 - Dwayne Missouri - Defense End - Northwestern
Other players available at the pick: Joe Tafoya, Terdell Sands, Marlon McCree
Best choice? Nah. Many of us know Missouri as "Little defensive endgine that could" from the Ravens edition of "Hard Knocks". A heartwarming story, true. But a good pick? Not really. Tafoya and Sands have proven to be good defensive linemen in the league, and would have been better choices for the Ravens.
So, for a team that has been one of the better drafting teams since their inception into the league, this has been one of their weaker drafts. Overall grade for the Ravens' 2001 Draft: B-
What would have given the Ravens the best possible draft:
#31 - Drew Brees
#62 - Adrian Wilson
#93 - Anthony Henry
#126 - Edgerton Hartwell
#161 - Ellis Wyms
#194 - TJ Houshmandzadeh
#231 - Terdell Sands