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Baltimore Beatdown Inbox: We're On to Chicago

The 2016 draft is at hand in the mind of many faithful Ravens. The Super Bowl is a nice distraction, but inside we get down and dirty looking at DB futures, draft, and more.

No matter what, I'm gonna keep pounding....the cyber-pavement, that is.  For answers to your questions. Having nothing to do with Panthers or Dabbing or Superman, and having everything to do with continuing the standard of Ravens Nation being the best fan base, bar none.

And NEVER having output like this from our fellow fans.

If I make any typos, it's because that video shaves off I.Q. points each time I watch.

Now, for the Clicks!

I'd like to know the status of the safety position.  Is Webb a real answer? What's happening with Matt Elam? Is he a contender, or another cap space casualty/bust? --Mikemor1

Excellent Q, Mike. We'd all love to know the answers to both of those. As has been covered here at Baltimore Beatdown, some say that Webb is not the answer at Safety, and that Elam is not to blame for the secondary issues.

I, in classic form, tend to have a different take on both of those.

Webb first. Pro Football Focus went ahead and graded him as a Safety for this season. If you consider how many snaps he took in the slot, that means that their consideration was for a safety covering a WR. That is how he was graded.

It is remarkable that he finished 2nd on the team. It is an indictment for Kendrick Lewis, as well. Webb, who has always been known to love to hit and tackle, is a solid grade on the run defense end of things. (The yellow color code means, average starter.) And remember, he is a punt returner. He plays the fly ball well. He now is experienced enough to know tendencies of offenses and NFL quarterbacks. Per se, he knows the defense. We would be ill-advised to simply ignore the accolades of Coach Harbaugh, who played defensive back in college, lauding Webb at Safety. I believe in his ability, and that he could be a great interim between the now and when a strong college prospect takes over--who is yet to be seen, but it might be T. Brooks. The only drawback is injury. I do think Webb is the real deal.

Matt Elam was an All-American Safety at Florida.

Let that sink in.

He was a first round draft pick.

What happened? He is not a slacker, doing things in the offseason like working at Finish Line in order to learn how to run a business from the ground up. He loves to tackle. He wants to do well and excel, according to any visible indication that one can gather. But he has not excelled. He really was downgraded to struggling during his 2nd year. I have a hypothesis for him: I think Dean Pees' defense is too complicated.

At Florida, he was doing far more reading and reacting. Now, he has more responsibility. It's a new paradigm and a steep climb.

He is not a bust quite yet, because he has one more chance to make it work. I would say that if he gets a serious injury in the preseason, game over. If he is able to make it to the season, I believe he will have one last opportunity to prove that he can do it. This time around, there is an X factor that wasn't present before: Coach Leslie Frazier. This man knows defense, and defensive backs. My favorite stat about his time with the Monsters of the Midway--yes, including the 18-1 1985 team--is that he had an interception in 18 of his last 19 games as a pro, over three years. That is incredible. If anyone can help Elam, the former all-American, he can. There is hope there.

Wait and see, for all of us. Let's check back in on this one. Thanks for the Q!

Let's magnify the next Click:

This one was cut and pasted from the comments section here on Baltimore Beatdown. CP! Fo' Life! (does anybody remember those old BP commercials? "BP, BP, For Life, For Life...."? No? OK, let's move on.)

Your point is well taken. Young kickers have proven to be able to make kicks and spending precious dollars on an experienced kicker should be thought out.

From what I researched, there are exact statistical reasons for having an experienced kicker and then there are abstract reasons as well. First off, J. Tucker is an exceptional kicker statistically.  While it is true that the general level of kicker accuracy and skill has gone up in the last decade, I would opine that one should consider playoffs and team playing style when figuring a kicker's worth. Every single point is extremely valuable in the playoffs. Games are closer and eliminative. The pressure is on, and cannot be duplicated. Here is where a rookie can't compare with an experienced professional. Now, we look at Tucker in the playoffs:

He has never missed a kick. Ever. That is darn good. In the playoffs, that is downright indispensable. So, other options would include signing an experienced kicker, but how much would you be able to save and keep the accuracy? Another playoff-type stat about Tucker is that he has never missed a FG in a dome or retractable-roofed stadium. Most Super Bowls are in a dome or retractable roof stadium, right? (6 of the last 10, and the next 2.)

The other metric, team playing style, is referencing whether a team has an explosive offense or a grind-it-out O. The latter would rely more on FGs. I mean, any kicker can excel when you're stomping the opponent. Where's the pressure? But if the game is close, and if the expectation is that games could be close, the kicker gains value. Notice Tucker's stats that reflect this thought:

He is best when it is a two-score-plus game. He has also been very, very good when the games are close.

The state of the Ravens offense does not currently fall in the category of explosive, although I do think we could be there soon. Right now, the kicker is imperative.

Spotrac.com does a valuation of players based on a production rating cross-referenced with their salary. Here are the top 6:

The Ravens are getting Tucker at good value now. You would agree that he loves the Ravens, right? He is popular on the team and well-liked. If they were to let him go, and bring in a rookie, they might be able to duplicate the production somewhat, but in pressure situations, the stability would skyrocket downward. It would be a total wildcard. Add in that kickers aren't exactly in the center of locker room regard, and having to break in a new one can really shake up a dependable arrangement. The Steelers were desperate when they traded for Josh Scobee. His valuation was low for 2014 compared with his salary (Approx. 15). While the rookie kicker Chris Boswell did well for them during the season, they 1) will eventually have to pay him or let him go; and 2) Their style happened to not rely on FGs due to the explosive nature of their O.

This is not to overlook that Tucker has had a decline in accuracy over the last three years and had his worst season as a pro in 2015. Those are bargaining points that should help the Ravens. I do think, however, that what the Ravens have with Tucker is very good and should be kept. It is worth spending money for now. Not breaking the bank, but a little expenditure.

Thanks for the ask, CPRenegade. I'll holla.

Next Click:

Do you think the Ravens will draft an offensive or defensive player with the 6th pick?

Posted by Justin Schlossberg

J-Booogiiiiiieeeee! You hometown hero, you. Thanks for the post.

So, it's an opinion question. So, the Ravens are an organization that builds its foundation on Defense first. So, we have had some slippage as far as legacy of invulnerability with regards to our current D. Especially pass defense. People want to point to "good" second-half seasonal rankings, but Seattle torched the secondary and didn't think twice about it.

The answer is obvious, yes?

Or not.

In the Ravens' 20 Years of existence, they have drafted exactly 10 defensive 1st-rounders, and 10 offensive first rounders. Now, that includes three years of dual #1s, 2/3 of which Ozzie split down the middle between O and D. The other year, 2000, they were both on Offense (Jamal Lewis, Travis Taylor).

Of note is the fact that, out of the 10 offensive players taken, a whopping SIX were not strong Raven picks. This means, Pro-Bowl types. This includes Perriman, but admittedly the jury is very much still out. Of the defensive picks, only ONE was not a strong Raven pick. That's Matt Elam, pick #32 in a weak draft, who also still has a window to turn this perception around. But all of the rest of the defensive first round picks--90%--turned out to be very solid. This does include Jimmy Smith, who is still going, but has not made a Pro-Bowl and could easily skip over to the wrong side of the percentage. Let's hope he doesn't.

See for yourself:

Year Pick Player name Position College Notes
1996 4 Jonathan Ogden OT UCLA NFL Hall of Famer,11-time Pro Bowler, 9-time AP All-Pro.
26 Ray Lewis LB Miami (FL) 13-time Pro-Bowler, 9-time AP All-Pro, two-time Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year (2000, 2003), Super Bowl XXXV MVP.
1997 4 Peter Boulware LB Florida State 1997 Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and 4-time Pro Bowler.
1998 10 Duane Starks CB Miami (FL)
1999 11 Chris McAlister CB Arizona 3-time Pro Bowler.
2000 5 Jamal Lewis RB Tennessee 2003 Offensive Player of the Year, 2,000 yard club and 1-time Pro Bowler.
10 Travis Taylor WR Florida
2001 31 Todd Heap TE Arizona State 2-time Pro Bowler.
2002 24 Ed Reed S Miami (FL) 2004 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year and 8-time Pro Bowler.
2003 10 Terrell Suggs LB Arizona State 2002 recipient of Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award, 2003 Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year, 5-time Pro Bowler, 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
19 Kyle Boller QB California
2004 No pick The Ravens traded their 2004 first-round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for the Patriots' 2003 first-round (19th overall) selection.
2005 22 Mark Clayton WR Oklahoma
2006 12 Haloti Ngata DT Oregon 5-time Pro Bowler.[13]
2007 29 Ben Grubbs G Auburn 1-time Pro-Bowler
2008 18 Joe Flacco QB Delaware 2008 Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year, Super Bowl XLVII MVP.
2009 23 Michael Oher OT Ole Miss
2010 No pick The Ravens traded their 2010 first-round pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for the Broncos' 2010 second-round (43rd overall), third-round (70th overall), and fourth-round (114th overall) selections.
2011 27 Jimmy Smith CB Colorado
2012 No pick The Ravens traded their 2012 first-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for the Vikings' 2012 second-round (35th overall), and fourth-round (98th overall) selections.
2013 32 Matt Elam S Florida
2014 17 C. J. Mosley LB Alabama 1-time Pro-Bowler, first Ravens rookie to reach the Pro Bowl.
2015 26 Breshad Perriman WR UCF


So, I'm going to offer two guesses. Either the Ravens:

  1. Take a defensive player in the first round. Or,
  2. Trade back and up, and get two first round picks, and split them.
This second one means that we'd trade to later in the first round, get a second round pick with that deal, and then deal the two second round picks for another first round pick, making the total, two.  One O and One D.

Man am I going to sound like a #genius if this happens!

Or, just another prognosticator when Ozzie defies us all and takes a LT at 6.

A'int it cool?!

Thanks for the Closing Pitch, Justin. I know you're a dual-sport athlete, but come on back over to football when NFL training camp begins. The O's can lend you!

That's it for this week's Inbox. Please do not hesitate to send a question for the next one: @BMoreBeatdown@chrisbraven, on the Beatdown Facebook page, or mine.  Or, simply comment below.

Thanks for reading!