The Baltimore Ravens nine-man 2015 draft class has been rather underwhelming through the first six games of their second professional season. While we cannot legitimately judge the teams selections until after the 2017 season, once they have been in the league for three years, the franchise was surely hoping for more production from this draft class by now.
Continuing the general theme prevalent on the past several Ravens rosters, the 2015 draft class has been snakebitten by injuries. First round choice Breshad Perriman missed his entire rookie season, and most of this past offseason with knee problems. While he is finally gaining some experience on the field this season, and made a nice catch on the first drive against the Giants, his hands need improvement. Perriman has caught less than 47% of the passes thrown to him, and does not have a touchdown on his resume.
Ravens Day 2 selections Maxx Williams and Carl Davis are both currently on injured reserve after middling rookie seasons. Neither was projected for much playing time this season, even when healthy. The team hopes to mine production from these early round picks next season, their rookie contracts will expire after 2018.
Fourth round selections Za’Darius Smith and Buck Allen were at the top of the class last season as rookies. Smith posted five and a half sacks in 2015, but has been invisible on the field for large stretches this season and has yet to record a sack. Allen earned more than 850 total yards as a rookie, but has been demoted to third string in 2016 and has only ten total touches on the season.
Late round tight ends Nick Boyle and Darren Waller are both still with the organization, but each was suspended to begin the season. Waller has been activated, but has not dressed the last two weeks. In total, the Ravens 2015 crop so far has produced two part-time starters, Perriman and Smith, and not much else.
Clearly in rebuilding mode, the Cleveland Browns have given their 2015 draft class ample playing time to develop. Nose tackle Danny Shelton is growing into an interior disruptor and stout run plugger in his second season. Second round offensive lineman Cam Erving has been demoted to the second team, and pass rusher Nate Orchard’s role has been reduced this season. However, mid round safety Ibraheim Campbell is starting and running back Duke Johnson has made numerous impact plays while rotating with Isaiah Crowell over the last two seasons. Defensive end Xavier Howard is also contributing.
Cincinnati found their starting right tackle in the first round of the 2015 draft in Cedric Ogbuehi. Second year tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft have filled in while Tyler Eifert has been sidelined. Defensive back Josh Shaw has started four games for the Bengals this season, and has recorded one interception. And safety Darron Smith is serving as a backup.
Bud Dupree, the Steelers first round edge setter, has been a disappointment. He provided four sacks last season, fewer than his less heralded college teammate Za’Darius Smith, and has yet to suit up this year due to a sports hernia. Second round corner Senquez Golson has also struggled with injuries, he has not been healthy enough to even make an appearance in the NFL yet. Pittsburgh did hit on third round receiver Sammie Coates, who has over 400 receiving yards and two touchdowns this season. Tight end Jesse James, a fifth round pick, has chipped in three scores this season while starting in place of the injured Ladarius Green. Anthony Chickillo, who has a sack an forced fumble in 2016, provides depth to the defensive front.
If the Ravens losing streak continues, while the younger players do not show more signs of a promising future, the team will certainly consider making some changes in their scouting department. And possibly front office management as well.