The Ravens came into the 2015 NFL Draft needing to address the offensive side of the ball, and they did so in a big way. Six of the nine players they selected were offensive players.
The team traded one of its three fifth-round picks to the Arizona Cardinals to move up three spots from No. 58 overall to No. 55 to pick University of Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams. All told, the Ravens came away from this year's draft with two wide receivers, two tight ends, one running back, one offensive guard, one defensive end and one defensive tackle. Here are what the draft "experts" from NFL.com had to say about the picks, as well as my analysis.
Round One, Pick 26 (26th pick overall): Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Pick Analysis: "The speed this kid has is incredible. He can absolutely fly. Perriman reminds me a lot of Andre Johnson. When you start talking about money downs, no player made more plays on third and fourth downs than Perriman." -- Michael Irvin
KZ's take: I said all along the Ravens would pick a wide receiver during the first round. With Perriman, they went with pure speed and all the physical attributes. I love this pick for many reasons, but having a family pedigree -- Perriman's dad played in the NFL -- is one of the top. I liked Arizona State receiver Jaelen Strong on tape a bit more, but his wrist injury and lack of a initial burst off the line of scrimmage led the team to taking Perriman. At worst, Perriman will be a receiver who can stretch the field, and at best, he can be a true No. 1 target for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Round Two, Pick 23 (55th overall) (from Cardinals): Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
Pick Analysis: "The Ravens had to get ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers here because Heath Miller is getting older. Williams has a really good catch radius. He reminds me of Kyle Rudolph; a great athlete with big hands." -- Mike Mayock
KZ's Take: With the selection of Williams, the Ravens addressed their second biggest need. Williams was the top-ranked tight end prospect in this year's draft class, so getting him in the second round was a bonus. It only cost the Ravens one of their three fifth-round picks to move up and grab him, so it was a no brainer. Williams will provide another weapon for Flacco, and with Crockett Gillmore already in the fold, the Ravens should have a solid one-two punch at tight end.
Round Three, Pick 26 (90th overall): Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
Pick Analysis: "There's a value pick right here. Some thought Davis would sneak into the backend of the first round. He had an outstanding Senior Bowl week. He has dominating height-weight-speed physical traits." -- Mike Mayock
KZ's Take: Davis was an absolute steal for the Ravens. Maybe something will come out later as to why he dropped so far, but Davis was a borderline first-round pick. Davis has great footwork for a guy his size, and he will fit right into the Ravens' defensive line rotation. The loss of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will be a bit easier to handle now.
Round Four, Pick 23 (122th overall) (from Lions) Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky
Pick Analysis: "Smith was called up to the Senior Bowl after being named Most Valuable Defensive Player in the Shrine Game. Baltimore gets a tone setting edge setter who can develop into a rotational end." -- Mark Dulgerian
KZ's Take: Smith stands out on tape when you watch him at Kentucky. He is going to help the Ravens right away. He gets his hands on the quarterback a lot. He also sets the edge and has good mobility. This is another pick I love.
Round Four, Pick 26 (125th overall): Javorius Allen, RB, USC
Pick Analysis: "Allen is an excellent fit for Marc Trestman's offense as he is a one cut downhill runner who is also a proven receiver out of the backfield." (see: Matt Forte's 102 receptions in 2014 under Trestman). -- Mark Dulgerian
KZ's Take: Like Dulgerian said, Allen is an ideal fit for Trestman's offense. He is a big back who will remind many of Ravens running back Justin Forsett. Allen gives the Ravens the added depth they need in the backfield.
Round Four, Pick 37 (136th overall) (compensatory selection): Tray Walker, CB, Texas Southern
Pick Analysis: "Walker has press corner size and traits, but he's raw. He'll also need to become more assertive in run support if he wants to see consistent playing time down the road." -- Mark Dulgerian
KZ's Take: If I was going to criticize a pick in this year's draft, this would be it. I love Walker's size and ability to press receivers at the line of scrimmage, but on tape, he does not play as fast as he ran the 40-yard dash (4.53 seconds) at the NFL Scouting Combine. Walker must be more physical at the NFL level. The competition he played against in college is also a concern. He seems to be a project for the Ravens.
Round Five, Pick 35 (171st overall) (compensatory selection): Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware
Pick Analysis: "Their future at the tight end position was addressed earlier, when the Ravens selected Maxx Williams in the second round. However, Boyle is [from] a small school who has the physical tools to develop into their eventual No. 2 tight end." -- Mark Dulgerian
KZ's Take: Boyle was one of my targets for later in the draft if the Ravens didn't go for a tight end in the first few rounds. Getting Boyle and Williams should answers any questions the Ravens had at tight end entering the draft. Boyle is big enough to be a solid run blocker, and he has above average hands. He also plays more athletic than he has shown.
Round Five, Pick 40 (176th overall) (compensatory selection): Robert Myers, OG, Tennessee State
Pick Analysis: "Myers was a small-school Senior Bowl invite who held his own against top competition. He's a phone booth guard with limited mobility in space, but he's surprisingly sound from a technique standpoint and has tools to work with." -- Mark Dulgerian
KZ's Take: This is another steal for the Ravens. Myers will be a solid guard for the next 10 years in the NFL. He adds depth should right guard Marshal Yanda or Kelechi Osemele opt for free agency next year. The Ravens had to get a guard in this year's draft, and I think they got an excellent one in Myers.
Round Six, Pick 28 (204th overall) (from Cowboys): Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech
Pick Analysis: "Baltimore adds a giant perimeter receiver who had limited positional development playing in Georgia Tech's run-option system. Some see him as a potential tight end convert. Regardless, he has the rare size and ball skills [that] resemble Trestman's receiving corps in Chicago." -- Mark Dulgerian
KZ's Take: You can't teach height. Sure, Waller is raw, but he's not a project. Waller ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. He has solid hands and receives passes well. Waller never dropped a pass during his final collegiate season, catching all 26 passes he got his hands on. He played in a run-first offense at Georgia Tech, so he needs work running routes. But Waller will be a matchup nightmare as a red-zone target. I had him going late during the third or fourth rounder, so getting him in the sixth round appears to be a steal.
I think the Ravens did extremely well during this year's draft, but you can't only grade what they did during the selection meeting. You also have to see who they brought in as undrafted rookie free agents. Here are those players the team has signed.
Darius Allen, DE, Colorado State-Pueblo
A 2013 D2Football.com All-American, Allen could make the team.
Brennen Beyer, DE/OLB, Michigan
Beyer moved from defensive end to outside linebacker late during his collegiate career.
Gerald Bowman, S, USC
Bowman came to USC as a five-star recruit, but had troubled collegiate career.
DeAndre Carter, WR, Sacramento State
He could stick as a kick returner.
Blaine Clausell, OL, Mississippi State
Clausell has good size, with long arms (34 inches) and big hands (11 1/8 inches). He appears to have some athletic mobility and agility for an offensive tackle.
Trey DePriest, LB, Alabama
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome loves Alabama players.
Nick Easton, OL, Harvard
Easton is a solid center prospect, and I'd be surprised if he didn't make the practice squad.
Kaleb Johnson, OL, Rutgers
He was on the Preseason Outland Trophy Watch List -- awarded to the best offensive lineman in college football.
Terrence Jones, OL, Troy
He is very strong, as he can squat more than 800 pounds.
Jerry Lovelocke, QB, Prairie View
I don't think he'll be anything more than an extra arm for training camp.
Terrence Magee, RB, LSU
He's a solid running back, but not an NFL-caliber one.
Justin Manton, K, Louisiana-Monroe
He could be surprise as a punter.
Cory Morrissey, LB, Iowa State
He's an effort player, but lacks strength.
Nick Perry, S, Alabama
Could he be a keeper? Perry is solid, but lacks speed
David Peterson, OL, San Jose State
If given the time to develop, Peterson could be a strong center.
Lexington Smith, DT, Northern Colorado
He has good size, but lacks experience.
De'Ondre Wesley, OL, BYU
At 6-foot-6, Wesley possess size, but lack foot speed.
Julian Wilson, CB, Oklahoma
He has ideal size and athleticism for an NFL cornerback, but he lacks the speed for the position
Darryl Baldwin, DT, Ohio State
A converted defensive tackle, Baldwin played offensive tackle for two years.
The Ravens have brought in a solid group of undrafted rookie free agents, something they've excelled at throughout the years. I'd expect one or two to make this year's roster and a few more to be practice squad candidates.
Many fans wanted the Ravens to address the secondary more than they did during the draft. But after listening to all the pre-draft discussions, I think the team believes several key injuries were the cause for the secondary's woes last season. I don't think the unit is as bad as some fans believe.