The Ravens are the only team to have made the playoffs in each of the past four seasons. That’s a credit to G.M. Ozzie Newsome, who has given coach John Harbaugh enough talent to mold this team into a contender.
As we close in on the 2012 NFL draft, we’ll take a look at how the Ravens have fared in recent drafts. It’s too soon to give a fair evaluation from the 2010 and 2011 classes, but three years of NFL service time is enough for us to grade their 2007, 2008 and 2009 classes. In today’s blog post, we will break down the 2007 class.
Total picks: seven (No. 29 overall, 74, 86, 134, 137, 174, and 207).
2011 starters: left guard Ben Grubbs, right guard Marshal Yanda.
Players still with the team: one (Yanda).
Best pick: Yanda. The Ravens picked a pair of Pro Bowl guards in Grubbs and Yanda, but Yanda gets the nod because he was a third-rounder (Grubbs was the top pick) and because he brings nastiness and physicality to the Baltimore offensive line.
Biggest miss: Yamon Figurs. With the first of their two third-round picks, they drafted Figurs, a speedy wide receiver and returner out of Kansas State. He scored two return touchdowns in his rookie year, but made just two catches for 79 yards in two seasons here.
Trades: They dealt their second-round pick, No. 61, to the Detroit Lions for picks No. 74 (Figurs) and No. 101. They then traded No. 101, a fifth-round pick and a sixth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for No. 86 (Yanda).
Players they could have had: Wide receivers Laurent Robinson, Jason Hill and Mike Sims-Walker were selected within the five picks after the Ravens took Figurs. Linebackers Zac Diles and Brandon Siler, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and quarterback Tyler Thigpen were drafted after their final pick (Prescott Burgess).
Final grade: B. The Ravens selected a trio of Pro Bowl players in Grubbs, Yanda, and fullback Le’Ron McClain, but only one player from the draft is still here five years later (though the Ravens did try hard to retain Grubbs this offseason before he joined the New Orleans Saints). Linebacker Antwan Barnes has found success in San Diego and quarterback Troy Smith, who was pushed to the side when the team drafted Joe Flacco, is now in Pittsburgh. Burgess has had about 500 different stints with the Ravens.