With the latest NFL Draft in the books, let’s take a closer look at the group of guys that Ozzie & Co. feel may be able to improve this team in 2009 and beyond.
1st Round – 23rd overall selection
Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
Oher is an extremely interesting pick. Most experts had him going somewhere around picks 10-15. That the Ravens were able to trade up just 3 spots and get him at 23 reportedly had their war room quite giddy. Oher is expected to come in and immediately challenge Willie Anderson and Adam Terry (who may be relegated to afterthought) for the right tackle position, but Oher is even more valuable in that he can play the left side as well.
Oher is probably the first Ravens’ draft pick to have already been featured in a book before entering the NFL. If you don’t have time to check out the entire book (which also features Jon Ogden), at least read this, courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.
2nd Round – 57th overall selection
Paul Kruger, DE/OLB, Utah
Continuing with the “build your team from the lines outward” philosophy, the Ravens moved to the defensive line for their next selection. Kruger, who had 7.5 sacks in 2008, could potentially take over for the aging Trevor Pryce some day, and has been compared to Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings. Hopefully Kruger will pan out better than a similar guy the Ravens took in the 2nd round a few years back, the injury-prone Dan Cody.
Like Oher, Kruger is another guy with an interesting past. Last January, he was stabbed twice during a brawl at a party.
(Side note – Ravens fans, brace yourselves for the onslaught of Ray Lewis/Paul Kruger jokes. Super.)
3rd Round – 88th overall selection
Ladarius Webb, CB, Nicholls State
Webb said on a radio interview last weekend that he tries to mold his game after Ed Reed. Not a bad star to reach for. He can play cornerback or safety, and can also be a potential return man. He tied for the fastest 40-yard dash among CBs at this year’s NFL combine (4.46). According to Scouts, Inc., he has above average recognition skills/toughness and ball skills, possesses exceptional durability, and hits hard for his size.
5th Round – 137th overall selection
Jason Phillips, ILB, Texas Christian
Many were surprised when the Ravens passed up Ray Maualuga (ILB, USC) in the first round, but Ozzie & Co. feel they may have addressed their ILB needs in the draft with the high-value, late-round selection of Phillips. He started all 4 years at TCU and was First-Team All Mountain West in 2006 and 2008 (2nd team the other 2 seasons). If he plays anywhere near as mean as he looks, well…let’s just say he has potential. Perhaps another late 2nd day LB success story a la’ Adalius Thomas? Let’s hope so.
5th Round – 149th overall selection
Davon Drew, TE, East Carolina
Once the Ravens missed out on Brandon Pettigrew, they ended up waiting until the 5th round to pick up their tight end. A “project” type guy who can learn from veterans L.J. Smith and Todd Heap, Drew is more of a pass-catching tight end than a blocker.
Read his entire combine analysis here.
6th Round – 185th overall selection
Cedric Peerman, RB, Virginia
Terps fans will be familiar with Peerman, the former Cavalier. Unless he really stands out on special teams, most don’t really see room for him on the Ravens’ roster, behind Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain, and Ray Rice.