Draft Review: Rounds 1-3

Dev takes a critical look at the Ravens draft performance on day one and breaks down the three selections.

First Round: Terrell Suggs, DE, Arizona State
Positives: Suggs is arguably the best defensive player out of the 2003 class. Although he ran a poor 40 time, Suggs plays faster on the field and has the top end bust, motor and quick first step to get past offensive tackles consistently around the corner. The tweener end also uses his hands well, coordinating a combination of rip, spin and jerk moves to get to the quarterback. He's also a legitimate threat to disrupt running play in the backfield. 

Negatives: Although he did drop back into coverage at times during his college career, Suggs will need to work on his ability to backpedal and move laterally in space. Needs to improve his ability to diagnose running plays and play with leverage off the edge. Although he is an outstanding athlete, he is a bit stiff when he needs to turn his hips. 

Overall: The selection of Suggs with the tenth pick may have been the best in Ravens' draft history, in terms of getting the most value out of a draft choice. Suggs was clearly a top five player at the least, who fell due to posting poor performance numbers at the combine.

In the 3-4 defensive front, the former NCAA sack champion should be able to excel at rushing off the edge. With Peter Boulware on the other side, teams will have to be wary of double teaming either player. Suggs also has the versatility to play defensive end in the 4-3 alignment. 

Grade: A+

First Round: Kyle Boller, QB, California
Positives: The Cal quarterback has tremendous physical attributes. He can throw the ball with as much distance as anyone and will also get great velocity on his pitches. Boller can throw fairly accurately on the run and has the quickness to make plays outside of the pocket. At 230 pounds, he's big enough to shake off tacklers. Boller has compacted his delivery and gets a quicker release on his passes than he used to. 

Negatives: Up until last year, Boller was a major disappointment for his first three seasons at California. He's a career 50% passer who played well in quarterback friendly system. Although he's got the arm strength to air out any pass, he doesn't always hit his receivers in stride and will also under/over throw his targets. Didn't handle the blitz well last year, and must do a better job of scanning the field and going through his progressions. 

Overall: Although Boller's worth at the 19th pick was sound, the Ravens gave up way too much compensation (a first round pick next year and their 41st pick this season) to acquire him.

Boller is an unproven passer who has yet to prove that he can read defenses with precision and mix up the velocity on his passes when he needs to. His mechanics have gotten better, and Boller should fit nicely in the west coast offense, because he will be able to work on refining his intermediate passing skills. 

However, Boller will need to continue to grow as a player and shouldn't be thrown into the fire as a starting quarterback for a year and half. 

Grade: D+

Third Round: Musa Smith, RB, Georgia
Positives: Smith is a big, powerful back who is at his best when he gets to pound the ball in between the tackles. Has better speed than the stopwatch indicates, although he's not a threat to go all the way. He will wear opponents down if he can carry the ball enough times, in an offense where he is the feature back. Can break tackles and is a power back. Is a good cutback runner who has solid vision, and will be able to gain positive yardage, especially in short-yardage situations. 

Negatives: Has to prove that he won't wear down at the next level. Isn't elusive and isn't a threat to hit a home run on his carries. Although he's got decent shiftiness, Smith doesn't always display this attribute in the open field. Smith will also need to work on his ability to catch passes coming out of the backfield and improve as a blocker. 

Overall: Smith is a good running back who might be able to become an every down starter at the next level, and he is worth a third round selection, but the Ravens didn't need to stretch to draft a player who will likely take his place behind Lewis and Taylor on the depth chart.

The team would have gotten better value out of their third round pick by selecting a defensive lineman like Kenny Peterson or a guard like Montre Holland. And because they traded their second round pick away to grab Boller, netting a future starter along either the defensive or offensive line was a clear cut need in round three. 

Grade: D


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