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Baltimore Ravens drafts: Hindsight is 20/20

Especially in the NFL draft.

Chris Humphreys / USA TODAY Sports

Before reviewing every draft pick the Ravens made from 2010 to 2014, this article must be prefaced with the obvious fact that no team picks the best prospect in every round.  That would be a ludacrous success rate, completely unrealistic to expect from any talent evaluator.

NFL general managers, no matter how talented they are, always miss on some draft picks.  Even the Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, and Cardinals, teams that probably have drafted better than the Ravens lately, regret not selecting some of the players the Ravens picked.  With 32 teams in the league, the hypothetical median point would be for each team to pick the best prospect in a round once every four and a half drafts.

Listing who was drafted close to the Ravens draft picks could be done with any team around the league and would cause every single front office to be second guessed.  As much work that goes into compiling a draft board, the selection process is still a crapshoot, even for the very best franchises.

In fairness, what one player has been able to accomplish with the team that drafted him may not have been the same on another team, for a multitude of reasons.  Finding two to three starters in each draft along with one Pro Bowl talent every few drafts is a solid hit rate that will keep most teams in championship contention every season.

No teams have a crystal ball, hindsight is indeed 20/20.  This exercise is not meant to be an indictment against the Ravens front office.  Even the Wizard himself, Ozzie Newsome, is fallible.

2010 Draft

The pick:  #43 Sergio Kindle

What could have been: After the Cowboys beat Ozzie to the punch for Dez Bryant, the Ravens traded down and selected Kindle one pick after Rob Gronkowski.  Devin McCourty would have been available at the Ravens spot in the first round and Lamarr Houston was selected one pick after Kindle.

The pick: #57 Terrence Cody

What could have been: Cody was picked three spots after Carlos Dunlap and three spots before Golden Tate.

The pick: #70 Ed Dickson

What could have been: Dickson was sandwiched between two solid players in Jared Veldheer and Morgan Burnett.  Emmanuel Sanders, NaVorro Bowman and Jimmy Graham were also picked after Dickson in the 3rd round.

The pick: #114 Dennis Pitta

What could have been: Pitta was one of the best picks made in the 4th round, going one spot after Aaron Hernandez and six spots before Geno Atkins.

The picks: #156 & 157 David Reed and Arthur Jones

What could have been: Jones was one of the best players selected in the 5th round, along with Kam Chancellor who was picked about 20 spots earlier and Reshad Jones, who was picked six spots later.

The pick: #194 Ramon Harewood

What could have been: Antonio Brown was selected with the very next pick, becoming one of the best players ever picked in the 6th round.

2011 Draft

The pick: #27 Jimmy Smith

What could have been: Jimmy has been one of the best values of the first round, along with Muhammad Wilkerson who was selected three picks later.

The pick: #58 Torrey Smith

What could have been: Torrey was probably the best pick made in the 2nd round this year, especially with a late position in the round. Justin Houston was selected in the 3rd round, twelve players after Torrey.

The pick: #85 Jah Reid

What could have been: Reid was selected one spot before Allen Bailey and seven spots before Joe Barksdale.

The pick: #123 Tandon Doss

What could have been: Julius Thomas went six selections after Doss.

The picks: #164 & #165 Chykie Brown and Pernell McPhee

What could have been: McPhee turned out to be the second best player drafted in this round, after Richard Sherman.  Byron Maxwell came off the board nine picks after Brown.

The pick: #180 Tyrod Taylor

What could have been: Tyrod was one of the best players picked in the 6th round.

The pick: #225 Anthony Allen

What could have been: Virgil Green, Derek Newton and Lawrence Guy were notable 7th round picks.

2012 Draft

The pick: #35 Courtney Upshaw

What could have been: The Ravens traded down from their original pick, Harrison Smith was picked in the Ravens original spot.  Donte Hightower and Kevin Zeitler were picked within striking distance of the first round position.  Derek Wolfe, Mitchell Schwartz, Janoris Jenkins, Cordy Glenn and Alshon Jeffery were all selected within the the ten selections after Upshaw.

The pick: #60 Kelechi Osemele

What could have been: K.O. developed into the best player drafted in the late 2nd round.  Olivier Vernon and Russell Wilson were selected in the first dozen picks of the 3rd round.

The pick: #84 Bernard Pierce

What could have been: T.Y. Hilton was drafted eight selections after Pierce.

The pick: #98 Gino Gradkowski

What could have been: Gino was surrounded by Lamar Miller, picked one spot earlier, Ben Jones and Travis Benjamin, who were drafted with the two picks directly after Gino.

The pick: #130 Christian Thompson

What could have been: Mike Daniels was picked two spots after Thompson.  Malik Jackson and Brandon Marshall came off the board near the top of the 5th round.

The pick: #169 Asa Jackson

What could have been: George Iloka went two spots before Asa.  Jeremy Lane went three spots after Asa.

The pick: #198 Tommy Streeter

What could have been: Notable players picked in the 6th round include Danny Trevathan and Alfred Morris.

The pick: #236 DeAngelo Tyson

What could have been: Kelvin Beachum was picked near the end of the 7th round.

2013 Draft

The pick: #32 Matt Elam

What could have been: 2013 was a notoriously weak draft class.  Travis Frederick went one pick before Elam. DeAndre Hopkins went six spots earlier.  John Cyprien, Zach Ertz, Darius Slay and Gio Bernard were all picked within the five slots after Elam.

The pick: #56 Arthur Brown

What could have been: Jonathan Hankins and Jamie Collins were both picked within the eight picks that preceded Brown.  Eddie Lacy, Travis Kelce and Tyrann Mathieu were chosen shortly after Brown.

The pick: #94 Brandon Williams

What could have been: Along with Keenan Allen, B-Will was one of the very best players selected in the 3rd round.

The picks:#129 & #130 John Simon and Kyle Juszczyk

What could have been: Not a great round overall. Alex Okafor, Jelani Jenkins and William Gholston are the only notable players picked in the 4th.

The pick: #168 Ricky Wagner

What could have been: Wagner has proven to be the best player selected in this round.  Kenny Stills was the only other notable player drafted in the 5th.

The pick: #203 Ryan Jensen

What could have been: Latavius Murray and Andre Ellington were drafted earlier in the 6th round.

The picks: #238 & #247 Aaron Mellette and Marc Anthony

What could have been: Marquess Wilson was picked two spots before Mellete.  Charles Johnson was the only other notable player drafted in the 7th.

2014 Draft

The pick: #17 C.J. Mosley

What could have been: Too soon to tell if the Ravens made the best choice with Mosley.  Ha-Ha Clinton Dix and Kelvin Benjamin were both drafted after Mosley in the first round.

The pick: #48 Timmy Jernigan

What could have been: Jeremiah Attaochu, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry were all selected after Jernigan in the 2nd round.

The pick: #79 Terrance Brooks

What could have been: Gabe Jackson came of the board two spots after Brooks.  John Brown was also selected later in the 3rd round.

The pick: #99 Crockett Gillmore

What could have been: Bashaud Breeland and Devonta Freeman were picked within the five spots after Crockett.

The picks: #134 & #138 Brent Urban and Lorenzo Taliaferro

What could have been: Telvin Smith and Aaron Lynch were selected early in the following round.

The pick: #175 John Urschel

What could have been: So far, Urschel appears to be one of the best players picked in this portion of the draft.

The pick: #194 Keith Wenning

What could have been: None of the 6th rounders have stood out so far.

The pick: #218 Michael Campanaro

What could have been: Even with his injury issues, Camp has been the most impactful player selected in an underwhelming 7th round.

This retrospective should dispel with the notion that a team needs early draft position to pick elite difference makers.  All-Pro caliber talent was available at or near the Ravens draft spot in the majority rounds from 2010 to 2014.

Overall, the Ravens have some room for improvement, especially with the speed positions of wide receiver, cornerback and safety.  All things considered, Ozzie has done a solid job drafting from 2010-2014.  Just not as great as the high bar Ozzie set in 1996, 1997 and 2008.  When you swing for solid doubles, you should not be surprised when you hit solid doubles.

How would you grade the drafting in this time period?