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Looking at the eight draft picks that are now the newest Baltimore Ravens, we are going to pick which of them were the best and worst pick in the team's draft this past weekend. Don't be so quick to judge the eight picks in the order that they were selected, as the team got great value in certain picks regardless of the round they were taken in.
For example, both Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith and Maryland WR Torrrey Smith were projected to go in either the first or second round in many Mock Drafts. However, Jimmy went in the first and the Ravens were able to wait until the 58th pick to get Torrey.
So who do we rate as the best and who gets the "honor" of being the worst Ravens draft pick of 2011?
Even though Jimmy Smith was mentioned by the national media as being one of the best picks in the entire 2011 NFL Draft because while his so-called "character concerns" had many teams avoiding him like the plague, his shut-down cover corner skills may be as good if not better than either Patrick Peterson (LSU) or Prince Amukamara(Nebraska), both who went earlier than Smith did in the first round.
Torrey Smith was thought by many to be going in the first round, and some Mock Drafts even had the Ravens taking him with their first round pick at #26. That's why being able to stick to our draft board and watch him "fall" to us in the second round with the 58th overall selection, makes him the 'Best Draft Pick' of the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore arguably got a first round talent in Torrey, and they certainly scored a first-round "person" in a young man who has faced a lot tougher challenges off the field than he has or ever will on it.
Jimmy Smith will cover the best receiver on the Ravens opposition and make everyone else's life on defense easier if he can provide single-coverage skills to allow the rest of his teammates to focus their attention elsewhere. Torrey, on the other hand, will not only be that obvious deep threat that the team has lacked, but also a dangerous man every time he touches the ball, be it on a short pass, screen or end-around running play. He will open up the middle for tight end Todd Heap and force secondaries to play single coverage somewhere that will also open things up for the Wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and even RB Ray Rice. Speaking of Rice, the opposition's secondary will no longer be able to creep up and stock the box to dare the Ravens to throw, as if they make that mistake, QB Joe Flacco should be able to make them pay. That alone will improve the Ravens running game by leaps and bounds.
On the negative side of these "awards," the honor of getting the nod of what appears to be the 'Worst Draft Pick' of the team's 2011 NFL Draft goes to QB Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech). This selection by me might draw raised eyebrows by many, as Taylor set tons of records at Virginia Tech and was one of the most athletic QB's in the nation while earning the MVP in the ACC Championship Game, mostly on the strength of his arm by throwing three TD passes while running for another touchdown. Therefore, I would feel much more comfortable if the title was changed to the "Most Questionable Pick" as opposed to"worst."
My reasoning for this pick, although I was looking at one of the other picks from round five through seven as the worst pick, is that it doesn't look promising that Taylor will see the field very often at all. The Ravens might look at him as a kick or punt returner, which could allow him to contribute in some way. I cannot see him making the transition to wide receiver, especially based on our current group, especially the talent we invested in ahead of him in the draft. Finally, you better hope he never gets on the field under center, because that will mean that starter Joe Flacco is either injured or playing so bad he has to be pulled, which just is not going to happen.
Therefore, regardless of the talent he showed at the college level, Tyrod Taylor might not get any real chance to prove he can do it at the professional level and while I still expect the Ravens to find a veteran QB in free agency to back up Flacco, Tyrod Taylor is just not going to be the draft pick we got this past weekend that will contribute as much as the others in 2011 or beyond.
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