Know Your Enemy: Ravens 2017 NFL Draft Review

The day after the draft, I posted my thoughts, my initial reaction, to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ draft haul based on my understanding of their needs and wants and what was available to them at the time that they were selecting. I am hoping to be able to provide the same sort of insight for the Steelers’ divisional opponents, perhaps from a bit of a Pittsburgh perspective.

We complete our journey as always with everybody’s favorite team—and seemingly everybody’s favorite draft—the Baltimore Ravens, who uncharacteristically only had seven draft picks to work with this year, though it included two in the third round.

The Ravens defense last season ranked ninth in the league in terms of points per game, just one spot and six total points ahead of the Steelers. They gave up the seventh-fewest total yards, eighth-fewest yards per play, and had the second-best third-down defense.

But they had just 31 sacks, even if they did come up with 18 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries, five more turnovers than the Steelers had in total, who had 38 sacks, tied for the ninth-most in the league.

So while one could argue that their defense was already strong, they have largely focused on that side of the ball this offseason, adding safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr in free agency, though they traded defensive end Timmy Jernigan and suffered the retirement of Zachary Orr, while releasing players, most notably Elvis Dumervil.

They used their first four draft picks on the defense, starting with the young, talented cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who will probably not play right away behind Carr, Jimmy Smith, and Tavon Young. In the second and third rounds, they added edge rushers Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams, as well as defensive end Chris Wormley.

Chances are good that Bowser and Williams will get a lot of burn as rookies, because they don’t have much at the edge defender position right now other than the aging (and showing) Terrell Suggs. Michael Pierce will probably log a lot of Jernigan’s lost snaps, but there will certainly be playing time for Wormley.

After losing two offensive linemen, the Ravens used a pair of Day-Three picks on linemen Nico Siragusa and Jermaine Eluemunor, neither of whom seem to be much more than a lateral move from their already mediocre current in-house replacement options, but the latter of whom I have reason to believe is from The Lord of the Rings.

The draft finished up with Chuck Clark, a six-foot safety who will likely fill out the bottom of the depth chart. If the Ravens want to used three safeties, they will more likely than not utilize Lardarius Webb, whom they released and re-signed at a cheaper price.

Looking at the Ravens’ roster, and their draft, however, there seem to be obvious holes in the starting lineup on offense. They wanted a wide receiver but the top three flew off the board in the first round before they could get one. They needed linemen, but they waited until Day Three in a weak class. Bold strategy. Let’s see how it pays off for them.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • terrygordon30

    The Ravens draft very well, trade well,and are pretty good in the free agent department. The big difference between the two teams over the last few years is that the Steelers drafted Ben, and the Ravens drafted Flacco. Just like Ben is no Brady, Flacco is no Ben.

    Unlike the Steelers over the next few months, look for the Ravens to be culling the market for upgrades, especially on defense.

  • JohnB

    I like Humphery and Bowser. But then again i liked Elam and Arthur Brown so…

  • Spencer Krick

    I think Williams offers the only pass rush boost out of all of the guys they drafted.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    their secondary is second best in the nfl in my opinion.

  • Darth Blount 47

    On reason why perception may be a bit of reality when it comes to the Ravens draft haul, is because the oft-relied upon Gil Brandt, has the Ravens picks ranked in order from:

    Humphrey: 43
    Bowser: 68
    Wormley: 48
    Williams: 47

    For a cumulative score (Lower obviously the better) of: 206

    Where the Steelers first 4 were ranked:
    Watt: 60
    JuJu: 36
    Sutton: 85
    Conner: 91

    For a score of: 272

    Of course the Ratbirds were picking “higher” than us, but based solely on the pre-draft rankings, they came away much better as well. They also had 4 picks in the first 3 rounds, exactly as we did. Including the same number of picks in each round.

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    ???

  • The Tony

    Well your opinion is definitely wrong

  • The Tony

    I have never been one to say if a player is an over draft or great value for the round they were taken. Obviously to an extent however is Myles Garrett fell to the Steelers than clearly that would be an incredible value. I am a believer in if a player fits your need and you hold them in high regard then it doesn’t matter what their perceived draft slot should be. Brandt had Watt at 60, we took him at 30. We clearly did our homework on him and felt it neccesary to take him when we did. Will the pick work out for us, hopefully. The Steelers have a very high success rate with 1st round picks since 2000. It’s interesting to see how many first round picks tend to bust for their teams

  • PapaJuju

    I think it is more likely they will seek a trade or to sign players that help their offense. They really don’t have any position on defense they didn’t address in free agency and the draft apart from middle linebacker.

  • HeavyMedicine

    Don’t be surprised if we see a familiar face back in the AFC North. The Ravens RB depth chart is probably one of the weakest in the league in my opinion. With Blount still looking for a new team, I think the Ravens could make a nice home for him.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Yeah. There is no doubt that if a guy is there and you want him, it doesn’t matter what the “pundits” think. And each fan has their own internal list of who they think is worth what. So the “value” or lack thereof, is entirely based upon perceptions. And I’m sure each team has a different looking board, even IF every board had a Myles Garrett sitting comfortably at ‘1’.

    I too, hope Watt was closer to 30 and not Brandt’s 60. But only time will tell. I know Brady in the 6th and Brown in the 6th, are popular go-to’s when it comes to mocking the rankings. But I like to go right to Mel Blount sitting there in the 3rd round, as an equal way to laugh at the other teams that passed on the greatest CB in NFL history.

    That all said, because I do my own vast amount of preparing for the draft, I DO have a pretty good idea of what I truly think is good or bad value, based upon where I think the talent levels of certain guys are. And so I have a much easier time than the average layperson, in making a determination on that aspect of the draft. But just like everyone else, it’s only my perception. And I get some calls very right. And I get some calls very wrong. And ultimately, I actually DO hope that Colbert and the gang make me look exceedingly foolish, when I don’t care for their picks, and they turn out to be studs.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    It doesn’t matter how good or bad they are, they often have our number. When the Ravens suck, the Steelers should dominate them and the 2 wins per year might have them challenging for best in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

    Unfortunately they usually win and Tomlinson needs to figure out why. They also should study how the Ravens defend against Brady, because sometimes they do just fine.

  • Rotten Sircus

    Ozzie loves those Bama players & he & Saban were on staff with the Browns when Belichek was Head Coach. Ozz

  • Beeze

    Ravens 2017 team goal: win every game 3-0 on the strength of 16 Justin Tucker field goals of 50+ yards each.

    Maybe Flacco is really “Elite” after all and can score points without any quality weapons.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Nice Darth. I agree!

  • ATL96STEELER

    It almost doesn’t matter who they draft or pickup in FA, on weeks 4 and 14, the Ravens will be a tough W.

    The other 14 games maybe it does matter. For the 1st time in a while the Ravens needed to get impact players at several spots and they seemed to address most of them…Ozzie loves his Bama boys. I still think the OFC will be a work in progress (outside of the Steeler games).

  • terrygordon30

    Oops, I meant to say offense.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Who are you? Nobody. Shut the hell up.

  • John

    I read before the draft that certain high ranking teams (read: Bama) refuse to give out legit Information on their players to most teams. Obviously Newsome has a pipeline there and can get the inside scoop others cannot. So he came weed out which players to take and which to avoid.

  • Rotten Sircus

    Yeah that’s my point. It almost isn’t fair !!!