It's only midway through the preseason for the Ravens' rookie draft class, but it's been a mixed bag so far as they continue to learn on the job.

We caught up with Russ Lande, NFL draft expert for The Sporting News and a former NFL scout for the Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams, to discuss the defending AFC North champions' eight draft picks.

Second round: Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, Alabama, 6-foot-2, 272 pounds.

College: Second-team All-American, first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection had 141 career tackles, 17 1/2 sacks and 36 1/2 tackles for losses.

Preseason: Has been slowed by sprained right shoulder and reported to training camp at roughly 280 pounds and is trying to get down to a target weight of 270 pounds. Struggled to get off blocks against
Detroit Lions in NFL debut and recorded no tackles.

Lande: "When you look at him, he's a real physical kid, very strong with excellent use of his hands and good technique. He's never going to be a Terrell Suggs in terms of explosive edge ability. He's more of a strong, powerful, physical pass rusher along the lines of a LaMarr Woodley, but he wasn't as dominant as him in college.

"He's a high-character kid, very football smart. He fits what the Ravens want to do in terms of their scheme. I see him as a solid, workmanlike starter, but not a 12-to-15 sacks per year guy. He's a good solid football player who's excellent against the run."

Second round: Offensive tackle-guard Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State, 6-foot-5, 335 pounds.

College: First-team All-Big 12 Conference selection garnered some All-American notice.

Preseason: Has started at right tackle twice, drawing solid reviews with a powerful hand punch and quick feet.

Lande: "I think the talent is there. He has great feet, can bend his knees and has good, long arms. Physically, there's nothing he doesn't have. The biggest thing I saw in college was his competitiveness where he would kick his guy's butt in the first quarter and then coast and not play as hard. I see a lot of good things with him.

"If he competes hard and plays aggressive, he'll be a 10-year starter for them. He's got a tremendous punch. He can make it look so easy sliding out and picking up his man. He's got a violent hand punch. If he does it all the time, he's got All-Pro potential."

Third round: Running back Bernard Pierce, Temple, 6-foot, 218 pounds.

College: All-Conference selection rushed for 3,570 career yards, 54 touchdowns.

Preseason: Slowed by recurring hamstring injury, Pierce made his debut against the Lions and rushed for 1 yard on four carries with a long run of 7 yards as well as a loss of 14 yards when he tried to
bounce outside. Regarded as the favorite to emerge as the primary backup to Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice.

Lande: "He's a well-built guy, a little straight line and upright, very linear with not much cutting ability, but he can run through contact. He's perfect for Baltimore as a backup. I'm not sure if he's a guy you can count on as a starter. He's a really tough kid who will do what it takes to stay in the lineup.

"When you have a guy like Ray Rice, and there are so few guys like him, Pierce could be the perfect backup to give Ray a blow. He's never going to complain about his role and he'll be content to be part of a winning team. I think he's a great fit for the Ravens."

Fourth round: Center-guard Gino Gradkowski, Delaware, 6-foot-3, 300 pounds.

College: All-conference selection and first-team All-American selection who started 37 games after
transferring from West Virginia.

Preseason: Started opener against the Falcons and had some issues with line calls and picking up
blitzing linebackers. Has impressed coaching staff with tenacity and intelligence.