Baltimore Ravens 2017 NFL Draft retrospective

Baltimore Ravens, NFL Draft Retrospective

In a draft class dominated by defense, the Baltimore Ravens had some great picks and major misses coming from the Crimson Tide.

The Baltimore Ravens spent the 2017 NFL Draft ignoring their offensive needs and more than doubling down on picks for the defense.

The Ravens drafted the best player available in the first round (Marlon Humphrey) and it worked out. Instead of reaching on a player at a position of need, they drafted a great player. After the first round, the Ravens draft went mostly in the wrong direction. With that in mind, let’s review each pick of the 2017 draft for the purple and black.

Original grade

FanSided: D

The Baltimore Ravens were hoping one of the top three receivers would fall to them in the middle of the round. However, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross each went in the top 10. Derek Barnett went just before them to the Philadelphia Eagles. This put them in an awkward position. They either could have reached for a tackle or receiver, or they could draft the best player available. Baltimore went with the former.

They’ve upgraded their secondary a lot this offseason, so drafting Marlon Humphrey shouldn’t be a surprise. With him, Baltimore’s secondary looks much better on paper than last season, even without Jimmy Smith. Jonathan Allen’s shoulder issues likely cost him a chance to play for the Ravens.

Draft class

Round 1 (No. 16)

1

Marlon Humphrey

CB Alabama

CURRENT TEAM: Baltimore Ravens

Marlon Humphrey was one of Ozzie Newsome‘s best draft picks as the general manager of the Ravens.

Newsome took the best player available and this is an example of that methodology working to perfection. The three receivers that were most coveted (Corey Davis, John Ross, and Mike Williams) were gone. The Philadelphia Eagles had taken Derek Barnett off the board, which prevented them from going with the pass rusher they wanted.

Humphrey quickly became a shutdown corner who can take away elite wide receivers from the game. Fast forward to 2019, and Humphrey has arguably become the best Ravens player not named Lamar Jackson. It is now debatable whether or not Humphrey is the best cornerback in the game.

In 2019, Humphrey was an All-Pro selection and earned a Pro Bowl nod.

Round 2 (No. 47)

2

Tyus Bowser

OLB Houston

CURRENT TEAM: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens went with Tyus Bowser when they could have had JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp or Chris Godwin. There are plenty of members of the Ravens Flock who still haven’t gotten over Newsome passing on Smith-Schuster, who became a star for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bowser hasn’t given Baltimore much production. In three seasons he has a total of 46 tackles, eight and a half sacks, and an interception. With the departure of Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith, Bowser got more of a chance to shine in 2019 and had five sacks this season. The light may have started to come on for him.

Round 3 (No. 74)

3

Chris Wormley

DE Michigan

CURRENT TEAM: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens drafted their third straight player for the defense here, and Ravens fans still aren’t over it. Chris Wormley became a bigger part of the defensive line rotation in 2019. He had 33 tackles and ended up with a sack and a half on the year. Wormley is a decent player as a formidable 300-pound defensive lineman who quietly does his job.

Round 3 (No. 78)

4

Tim Williams

OLB Alabama

CURRENT TEAM: Green Bay Packers

This will go down as one of the worst draft picks in the history of the Ravens. Tim Williams’ time with the Ravens is already over and he had two sacks and less than 20 tackles to show for it. At the time many pundits thought the Ravens might have gotten a steal in the third round.

Round 4 (No. 122)

5

Nico Siragusa

G San Diego State

CURRENT TEAM: XFL

Siragusa didn’t work out for the Ravens. In his first training camp, he got injured and was out for the season. He never played in the regular season in the NFL. He is now in the XFL.

Round 5 (No. 154)

6

Jermaine Eluemunor

G Texas A&M

CURRENT TEAM: New England Patriots

Jermaine Eluemunor looked the part of a massive offensive lineman. Unfortunately, that was all he brought to the table as a player from England who got a late start playing football. Eluemunor’s size and great athleticism never manifested in good play. He was traded to the New England Patriots before the 2019 regular season.

Round 6 (No. 186)

7

Chuck Clark

S Virginia Tech

CURRENT TEAM: Baltimore Ravens

This was one of the best sixth-round picks you’ll ever see.

Clark started as a special teams star for the Ravens. He became the starting strong safety this year when Tony Jefferson went down with an injury. As much as Baltimore loves Jefferson, Clark provided an upgrade. The Ravens even gave Clark the green dot on the helmet as a smart leader and a hard-hitting defensive back.

Bottom line

This draft class didn’t do what the Ravens were hoping it would. They found two good defensive backs. Tyus Bowser has some potential and started to deliver in the second half of the 2019 season. There is nothing even remotely positive to say about the rest of the draft class. If you take Humphrey and Clark out of this group an F may be the only appropriate grade. The Ravens made their signature mistake of neglecting the offense. It works out a little if the overload of defensive picks pans out. In 2019 the Ravens still have a desperate need for pass rushers and could use an upgrade on the defensive line. Three of the Ravens’ first four picks in 2017, were players for the front seven, so that’s a problem.

The Ravens had seven picks that year. They got two starters out of it. Three of the seven players they drafted are no longer with the team. Whether or not Bowser ends up having a good run with the Ravens, it doesn’t look like he will ever be what the Ravens hoped he would be. The Ravens left this draft with a completely ignored offense and a lack of play-makers. Baltimore drafted the best player available in the first round and misfired on almost every other pick.

Newsome and company have a great resume when it comes to the NFL Draft. This draft class, much like the 2013 and 2015 draft classes, were forgettable entries in that historic resume. The Ravens always were stubborn when it came to sticking to their philosophy in the draft, however, in 2017 they took it to another level of stubbornness. They went defense, defense, defense and followed it up by more defense. In a year where they needed players at running back, wide receiver and tight end, Baltimore selected two linemen as their only picks for the offense. It’s an unforgivable draft class sandwiched between two great picks in Humphrey and Clark.

This draft class teaches a few lessons. First, it teaches us the value of drafting a Pro Bowl caliber player with your number one pick. The addition of Humphrey legitimized this draft class. Secondly, it teaches that you have to draft for team need. The Ravens should have adjusted their best player available model to the best player that fills a need. Taking a shot on a third or fourth-round wide receiver would have been better than betting on two players at the same position. Finally, it teaches you the value of hitting on a sixth-round pick. Clark ended up being a good player and it paid off in a big way this past season.

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