In the wake of every year’s draft, analysts and writers spend the immediate post-weekend days dishing out grades and analysis for each team’s rookie haul.
One of the most highly-anticipated reaction comes from ESPN’s premier draft expert, Mel Kiper Jr. More often that not, Kiper has a positive reaction to Baltimore’s draft decisions and this year is no different, as he dished out an “A” letter grade for Eric DeCosta and company.
“Look at this Ravens roster. Where are the holes? Definitely middle linebacker . . . so I liked that the Ravens got an off-ball linebacker at No. 28,” Kiper said. “Patrick Queen started only 16 games in his LSU career, but his talent bursts on tape.”
It’s been well-documented that in each of his five pre-draft mocks, Kiper had the Ravens selecting Queen with the 28th overall pick. So, it should come as no surprise that he’s a fan of this selection.
Furthermore, Kiper believes the Ravens got good value with each of their selections on Day 2. Kiper had RB J.K. Dobbins ranked 27th (drafted at No. 55), DT Justin Madubuike ranked 42nd (drafted at No. 71), WR Devin Duvernay ranked 64th (drafted at No. 92), Malik Harrison ranked 74th (drafted at No. 98) and OL Tyre Phillips ranked 83rd (drafted at No. 106).
Kiper is not alone in this assessment, as several other analysts have praised the Ravens ability to find tremendous value with their middle-round picks this year. Rounds 3-6 have proven to be the team’s bread-and-butter in the past and on paper, they appear to have found a few contributors in this range once again.
“Baltimore fortified the middle of its defense — it gave up 4.4. yards per carry last season, most in franchise history — got a playmaker to help Jackson in the slot, and picked a tackle with guard experience who could compete to take over for Yanda,” Kiper wrote.
Double-dipping at defensive tackle is certainly a good way to boost one’s rushing defense and that’s exactly what the Ravens did, selecting both Madubuike and then Broderick Washington Jr. in the fifth round. This comes on top of already adding two run-stuffers in Calais Campbell and Derrick Wolfe in free agency.
The “playmaker” Kiper is referring to is Duvernay, although he also spoke highly of the selection of James Proche in the sixth round. Like Duvernay, Proche is another receiver who can make plays out of the slot. As Kiper also notes, Tyre Phillips figures to compete for the vacant starting RG spot long occupied by Marshal Yanda.
“Eric DeCosta had another really strong draft. Except Baltimore to be a Super Bowl contender again,” Kiper said.
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