The NFL Draft concluded weeks ago and OTA’s have begun. Fans are clamoring for any and all news relating to each teams shiny new rookie talents and the Ravens are no different. In fact, fans are more locked in as Baltimore picked twice in the first round. But today, we focus on the No. 27 overall pick and look at the past decade of picks at the same spot.
Last decade of No. 27 picks
2020: LB Jordyn Brooks — Seattle Seahawks
Brooks performed admirably in 2020, according to SB Nation’s Field Gulls. His passer rating allowed was better than Ravens LB Patrick Queen, who struggled in pass coverage his rookie season. He finished the season with two tackles for loss, two passes defensed and 57 total tackles. Overall, there’s not much to go off in 2020 as Brooks has played only one season.
2019: SS Johnathan Abram — Las Vegas Raiders
Abram missed all but a quarter of his rookie season, suffering a torn rotator cuff in the first quarter of Week 1. Then in 2020, Brooks was inactive in two games and placed on the COVID-19 list for a third. According to SB Nation’s Silver & Black Pride, Abram has been put on notice, as Las Vegas not only took three safeties in the 2021 NFL Draft, but traded up twice for two of them. Here’s an excerpt from managing editor Bill Williamson:
The Raiders haven’t given up on Abram. They still think he can be a good player. But he has been injury prone, he has struggled in coverage and he has been undisciplined on the field.
If Abram doesn’t develop in Gus Bradley’s defense, the Raiders could turn to Deablo and/or Gillespie.
There is a reason why the Raiders have been aggressive at safety. It is clear they aren’t completely sold on Abram despite the recent huge draft investment in him.
2018: RB Rashaad Penny — Seattle Seahawks
Penny’s definitely underperformed in terms of where he was taken. For comparison, Gus Edwards rushed for 718 yards and two touchdowns on 137 attempts in 2018. Lamar Jackson rushed for 695 yards and five touchdowns on 147 attempts. Penny finished his rookie year with only 419 yards and two touchdowns on 85 carries. For a first-round talent with 14 games played, this is bad. Take into account he has yet to crack 1,000 career rushing yards in three seasons played, and only five touchdowns, and you can label this one a disappointing pick at No. 27 overall.
2017: CB Tre’Davious White — Buffalo Bills
Davis is one of the league’s elite cornerbacks. His coverage ability is among the best and he’s not one to shy from contact. He’s started in every game he’s played, and missed only three over the course of his four-year career. He boasts 15 career interceptions and 54 passes defensed. In 2019, White earned his first of two Pro Bowls and First-Team All-Pro honors. White has been competing against Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey each year for AFC honors and the two both warrant their draft status.
2016: DT Kenny Clark — Green Bay Packers
Over the course of Clark’s five seasons in the NFL, the defensive tackle has amassed 18.5 sacks, 140 solo tackles and 32 QB hits. Those numbers earned Clark a nice payday with the Packers, agreeing to a four-year, $70 million contract extension in August of 2020. Clark earned a Pro Bowl nomination in 2019, where he forced one fumble, notched 6.0 sacks, nine tackles for loss and seven QB hits. Though his 2020 season was a bit slower, he’s one of the Packers’ contributors on defense.
2015: CB Byron Jones — Dallas Cowboys
Jones was a solid player for the Cowboys throughout his tenure in the Lone Star State. He played loads of free safety with the Cowboys and played in all but one game over the course of his five seasons in Dallas. In 2020, Jones signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract. The Dolphins defense wasn’t a top-tier defense last season and will need more from Jones in his second year with the team. Though he isn’t up to the level of play of Tre’Davious White, he’s earned a second contract and that’s what you at least hope to expect from players taken at No. 27.
2014: S Deone Bucannon — Arizona Cardinals
The safety/linebacker Bucannon last played in the NFL in 2019. Last month, SB Nation’s Revenge of the Birds published an article last month discussing first-round picks in the Keim era and how many failed for the Cardinals.
Pick Status: No 2nd contract, considered below average as “tweener” linebacker
Reason: Positional fit
Bucannon was actually a “hit” for the Cardinals through his first two years at the position. While he only had one interception overall, many forget that he played strong safety and was drafted as the spot to take over for Yeremiah Bell following the 2013 season.
However...there was an issue that ended up backfiring on the Cardinals in the end...from the 2016 season and on.
Teams started game-planning around Bucannon’s size as he was a safety in size playing a linebacker in position.
In 2020, Bucannon was a practice squad player for the Atlanta Falcons, before his contract was terminated and he joined the Buccaneers for a short period. The 29-year-old is still a free agent and it doesn’t look likely he’ll be on a roster come the start of 2021.
2013: WR DeAndre Hopkins — Houston Texans
The dream of Bateman becoming DeAndre Hopkins is the best possible scenario. Hopkins has utterly dominated in the NFL. He’s played 126 games, and hauled in 747 receptions for 10,009 yards and 60 receiving touchdowns. He’s also earned three First-Team All-Pro nominations and earned six Pro Bowls. Of the last decade, Hopkins is my No. 1 for players taken at No. 27 overall.
2012: OG Kevin Zeitler — Cincinnati Bengals
A familiar face for the Ravens both in terms of him recently joining Charm City, but also because he’s spent nearly his entire career in the AFC North. Originally, Zeitler was taken by the Bengals and did his job of pushing the pile for two AFC North division titles. However, he then joined the Browns in 2017, who won zero games with Hue Jackson at the helm. What a rough change of venue...
Zeitler has done an excellent job in the NFL and is a well-known name for a guard. He’ll look to contribute for the best running team in the league and fill in the hole that is Marshal Yanda after his retirement a season ago.
2011: CB Jimmy Smith — Baltimore Ravens
Another familiar face, who has spent his entire career in Baltimore. Smith has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL at some points, though his injury history has kept him from the recognition. Many know my respect to Smith so I’ll do my best to narrow down my praise.
Smith, when healthy, was among the most elite corners in the NFL. He was a valiant defender against some of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He’s faced off against A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon. He would clamp up just about anybody when one-on-one. If his body had kept up with his dominant play, he’d be more respected, but he’s arguably a Ring of Honor candidate for the Ravens.
In all, Smith has helped contribute to some of the best years for the Ravens, including a Super Bowl championship in 2012.
Overall, there’s been far more hits than misses, including two players earning First-Team All-Pro honors. We can only wait to see if Bateman will be mentioned among the successes or misses at his number.