The Baltimore Ravens have had some pleasant surprises over the years, from late round draft picks coming up big like Pernell McPhee, undrafted free agents like Dannell Ellerbe playing key parts and under the radar free agents coming in and performing at near pro bowl levels like Bernard Pollard and Jacoby Jones.
On the other hand there are the Dan Cody's and Sergio Kindle's of the world. The guys the Ravens had extremely high hopes for but just never panned out. Sometimes you get a guy like Paul Kruger that looks like he could be a bust for a few years but then comes on like gang busters all of the sudden. The Ravens are hoping that several players on their current roster follow in the footsteps of Kruger.
First there is former second round pick Terrence Cody, who has shown some real potential but had his worst yeas as a pro last season after dropping some weight to try and help his pas rush. Also there is Ed Dickson, who was drafted a round earlier than his counterpart Dennis Pitta, who is quickly becoming a star in the NFL.
Perhaps the Ravens most troubling position for failed players is wide receiver. A position that has much depth for the team but the quality is till a question. Players like David Reed, Tandon Doss were drafted to, hopefully, become starters and productive parts of the Ravens offense. However, like most of the Ravens receiving prospects the waiting game is the only game they leave us fans watching on Sundays.
Jimmy Smith is a former first round draft pick and he has shown why. He is big, fast and shows tremendous potential when on the field. However, mental lapses and physical setbacks have kept him on the sidelines more that Baltimore would have liked thus far.
All of these players need to use 2013 to take a big step forward. Some will, some won't but who do the Ravens need to step up the most? Who must work out for this team to be what they see themselves as, a perennial Super Bowl contender?