In preparation for this feature, I came to the realization that my odds-making knowledge lay somewhere on a spectrum of Charles Barkley and Rain Man, but realistically far closer to The Round Mound of Rebound than to the kids from 21. With that in mind I went on to do a measure of research into the nature of the system, so as to better assess the likely overall impacts of the Ravens’ rookies in their first NFL season. Now, following a healthy sacrifice to the Wikipedia gods, I believe I understand that in fact the higher the fractional discrepancy, the worse the odds. Vegas here I come!
Let’s get started:
C.J. Mosley, ILB, 1st Round
Over/Under: 120 Combined Tackles – I would hope that by the time this kid is starting beside Daryl Smith I will have learned where to place the "e" in his last name. By all accounts Mosley is performing every bit like a player billed as a top-10 draft talent would be up to this point. Granted, the players have yet to throw any pads on or do any real tackling, but it is encouraging nonetheless. For Mosley I took a look at several notable inside backers to come away with the 120 combined tackles number. Buzz around C.J. has included mentions of Defensive Rookie of the Year, but I wont go that far. At least until preseason, when he makes a nice play and I immediately tune in to hear Walter from Dundalk call 105.7 to anoint the next Ray Lewis. Looking at Luke Kuechly’s 163 combined tackles in his DROY season (a number that dipped just a bit the following year), and the less insane, but perfectly acceptable, 123 that Daryl Smith put up in 2013, I say Mosley produces similarly steady numbers to Smith. Here’s hoping I’m right. Verdict: Over.
Timmy Jernigan, DT, 2nd Round
Over/Under: 4 sacks – Art Jones is the fair barometer for Jernigan, a former first round talent that fell into the second. While Jones’ impact on the field could be felt in many aspects beyond sacks, such as in his 53 combined tackles, the hope is undoubtedly that Jernigan can replicate a level of his production, and the team always needs a pass rush. The greatest hindrance to the rookie is the crowded nature of the D-Line at the moment, but I think he’ll be able to see his share of snaps and match Jones’ 2013 sack total. Verdict: Even.
Terrence Brooks, FS, 3rd Round
Over/Under: 4 INT – Brooks is an intriguing prospect. His speed, athleticism and versatility cannot be argued (4.42sec 40, 38in vertical, played two seasons at CB) but my questions relate to his hands. Ozzie made no mistake in pointing to the need for a prototypical "center-fielder," and I have faith that that role will fall to Brooks eventually but for now I would be pleasantly surprised if he surpassed his 2 INT total from his final college season. Albeit, all indications are that Brooks is a hard worker who could improve with some NFL level coaching and competition. Verdict: Under.
Crockett Gilmore, TE, 3rd Round
Over/Under: 25 receptions – This is one of those ones where I hope I’m wrong. Not because I have any specific lack of confidence in Gilmore, we needed a third TE and especially one that could block, but because of my reasoning here. I chose 25 receptions as benchmark set by Ed Dickson is his frustratingly horrendous 2013 season, but more importantly I believe Gilmore surpasses it due to Owen Daniels fragility. I’m pulling for Daniels to stay healthy for his own sake, and because he is the proven commodity when functioning. However, don’t be surprised if Crockett, a player who’s name sounds more at home in Inside Lacrosse’s All Name Team, has a more accelerated development period. Verdict: Over.
Brent Urban, DE, 4th Round
Over/Under: 10 GP – Urban is the Ravens’ version of Clay Mathews’ Thor moniker. The Canadian born giant has the size (6’7") to play the five-technique and has flashed talent at Virginia. My worries with him pertain almost entirely to his ability to stay healthy. It always seems that teams are going to draft players in each class that just cannot stay on the field. I hope Urban proves to be every bit the quality defender that a Clay Mathews is and to be the Ravens own Thor, but that remains to be seen. Verdict: Under.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, 4th Round
Over/Under: 2 TDs – Alright well for starters lets hope Lorenzo is as good at hitting the hole as he is at allegedly hitting taxi cab windows. Likewise, I hope he shows softer hands when coming out of the backfield than when he’s allegedly coming out of a Williamsburg bar. That being said, I believe Taliaferro has a good chance of seeing a lot of playing time due to his blocking ability, scheme fit and Bernard Pierce’s inevitable shattering. Verdict: Over.
John Urschel, OG, 5th Round
Over/Under: 5 starts – Urschel has a few things going for him on this team beyond his prodigious brain. In the long run, it seems he should have a few years to develop due to the Ravens’ depth at guard. However, the overall line, particularly at tackle still seems thin and after such an abysmal 2013 there’s always room for continued change. Though this may be the case, I doubt Urschel sees the field very much in 2014. Verdict: Under.
Keith Wenning, QB, 6th Round
Over/Under: 1 PAT – This one was a bit tricky given that Wenning is such a developmental prospect, but I decided to go with the one pass attempt figure. I think Wenning is too valuable to stash on the practice squad, and thus will be the third QB. Maybe the Ravens are blowing someone out and he gets some snaps that way. Verdict: Under.
Michael Campanaro, WR, 7th Round
Over/Under: 20 Rec – Ho boy! The local kid! Here’s my HOT PREDICTION of the draft. I love Campanaro and I am predicting big things from him. He projects quite well as an undersized slot guy, and like DeCosta said, the Wes Welker types almost always come in the late rounds. Ozzie said they want guys who can make plays on third down. Furthermore, no one stands to learn more from Steve Smith than Campanaro about coming back to the ball. I predict big things down the road. Verdict: Even.
Place your bets now, gentlemen! The season is just a little under 100 days away! That’s plenty of time to mentally prepare for each and every prediction to go horribly awry. Let’s get to training camp in one piece everybody.