With the 2015 NFL Draft way behind us, we are beginning to see analysts fully go through all the draft selections and create their well researched draft grades. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks has done exactly this and has graded every team and every pick.
It should come as no surprise that the Ravens did well, earning a B grade. Brooks marked the selection of tight end Maxx Williams as the best pick from the AFC North. He noted that the Ravens desperately needed help in the middle of the field for Joe Flacco to thrive as a pocket passer and that Williams will have the ability to be a monster in Marc Trestman's new system in Baltimore.
Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens got their B grade by selecting numerous prospects that have the potential to make immediate contributions. Between receiver Breshad Perriman, tight end Maxx Williams and defensive tackle Carl Davis, most Ravens fans would agree that those players should see a decent amount of time on the field in their first season.
However, in the AFC North, the Ravens finish third behind the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals; who both earned themselves B+ grades. Now we know that those grades have rarely turned into success on the field and in the win/loss column for both teams, but it is interesting to see how and why those teams did better.
Both the Bengals and Browns had higher overall picks than the Ravens due to another mediocre season that saw them finish at 10-5-1 and 7-9 respectively, with the Bengals heading out of the playoffs early. The Bengals found themselves with 4 picks in the top 100, while the Browns had 5 picks in the top 100 and 2 within the top 20 overall. When teams routinely select at the top of the first round, they usually find themselves in a better position to grab a highly rated prospect, rather than towards the bottom of the round, where the Ravens are usually left with only a few prospects left on their board for that round.
As we've discussed in the past, these grades are great fodder for talking about the draft, but ultimately have little to no bearing on how a team actually performs. Players that look great at the combine could turn into duds and players that look like reaches could end up being Super Bowl MVPs. These draft grades often look stupid a few years later when we look back at them to see who is on their original team, or even in the NFL any longer. So while the Ravens have a B rating now, I'm guessing they will be one of the few teams that can hold that rating in 3 or 4 years time.