Ravensinsider draft analysis - Day 1

<i>For Ravens fans, the lack of a first round draft pick made most of day 1 largely uneventful. Many lawns were likely trimmed during the first 50 picks on Saturday. It wasnt until late in the afternoon that the Ravens were on the board snagging Oregon WR Devard Darling and Washington State DT Dwan Edwards.<br><br> Hopefully this gives the Ravens more depth on the D-Line and a possible deep threat WR once developed.<br><br> Site staffer Dev Panchwagh breaks down the picks from day 1.</i>

Second Round (pick No.52): Dwan Edwards, DT, Oregon State

Positives: Edwards seems like the perfect fit in the 3-4 scheme. At 6'3, 315 pounds, Edwards is a wide, compact player with the frame to get a little bigger. He's a lunch pail player that works hard to establish positioning. Edwards has decent quickness, and a high motor that allows him to pursue plays sideline-to-sideline. That said; Edwards' biggest strength is his run stopping ability. He can occupy blockers, allowing the action to filter through free defenders that have room to chase down the ball carrier. 

Negatives: While Edwards has decent speed, it's not ideal. He doesn't make a lot of game changing plays. Has nice power, but could stand to gain some more strength in the upper body. Edwards lacks solid pass rush instincts and moves. 

Grade: C+

Summary: The Ravens were determined to get a bigger defensive lineman to add to their rotation, and they did just that by acquiring Dwan Edwards with the 51st pick in the 2004 draft. Edwards is around 25 pounds heavier than defensive ends Marques Douglas, Jarret Johnson and Anthony Weaver. While the other three ends are quicker, more explosive players that can create havoc in the backfield, Edwards is a better run stopper who is capable of forcing a double team. 

With the addition of Edwards, the Ravens now have a versatile, talented and deep rotation at defensive line. Look for the 315-pound run stuffer to push Marques Douglas for the starting job at defensive end.

Value wise, the pick of Edwards was a good one. Some draft publications had the former Oregon State Beaver being drafted as high as the end of the first round. However, passing up on the chance to draft USC wideout Keary Colbert with the same pick is certainly a questionable move. Colbert was one of the top prospects at a deep position, and although he may not have had the instant impact for the Ravens that Edwards may have, he has better value at the 51st pick. 

Third Round (pick No. 82): Devard Darling, WR, Washington State

Positives: At 6'1, 215 pounds, Darling has ideal compact size. Darling is an adept deep threat with the speed to gain separation from opposing corners, and the instincts to locate jump balls. He also has the strength to establish positioning against smaller corners down the field, and to break tackles in the open area. With his speed, Darling is also capable of turning short catches into long gains. He's also known for his ability to escape press coverage. 

Negatives: Is still a raw player in the technical aspects of the game; specifically, he needs to hone his route running and pass catching skills. While Darling is capable of catching passes with decent consistency, he needs to do a better job of catching the ball in traffic, and in tight spaces. For the size and strength that Darling possesses, he is not as good of a blocker as he should be. Isn't as good at working the underneath routes as he is at making plays down the field. 

Grade: A

Summary: The Ravens moved up from pick No.88 to pick No.82 in the third round in order to secure Darling, and he was clearly worth that selection in the third round. In fact, the former Washington State Cougar could have been selected a few spots earlier. 

Darling possesses a lot of the attributes that Ravens' Coach Brian Billick covets of his receivers. He's a deep threat that has the size to snag lob passes, and the speed to run through passes that are slightly overthrown. Darling is also a player that seems to have an upside, and with some further fine tuning in his game, he can turn into a complete wideout.

However, don't look for a major contribution from Darling this year. He will surely be used in this offense, but it will take Darling some time to develop, and his true impact may not be felt until a year or two down the road.

Ravens Insider Top Stories