It's hard to imagine how the Ravens could have gotten more out the 2009 draft than they did with Michael Oher, Lardarius Webb and Dannell Ellerbe all playing big roles. (OK, Ellerbe didn't come in the draft, but he came from the Class of 2009 and that qualifies, even if the Ravens didn't have to invest a pick on him.)

That's three starters in a draft where they bobbed and weaved with six picks. Three starters for a team that reached the AFC championship game the year before. That's knowing the player pool and knowing what works on your team.


So one year after the draft, the Ravens have to score high. Here's a review, with a grade on each pick:

1st round (23 overall) – Oher

In hindsight: Who knew he would be this good? Twenty teams passed on Oher, including Detroit and Denver twice each. The Packers needed a tackle, but took defensive tackle B.J. Raji with the ninth pick. The 49ers needed a tackle, but they took wide receiver Michael Crabtree with the 10th. The Lions were desperate for a tackle, but took tight end Brandon Pettigrew at 20 instead. When Oher cleared the Lions, general manager Ozzie Newsome executed a trade up from 26 to get him. Newsome wasn't timid when other teams were.

Oher not only started every game, he moved almost effortlessly to left tackle when Jared Gaither was out. Oher was the MVP of the offensive line for what he meant and how he played. And to think, he was the fourth tackle selected.

Grade: A

2nd round (57 overall) – LB-DE Paul Kruger

In hindsight: The Ravens loved Kruger's motor and his passion, even if he only played two seasons at linebacker at Utah. He got high grades in character and intelligence, and projected at defensive end or either outside linebacker spot. The problem was, he had never played special teams (he was a quarterback in high school and for one year at Utah) and didn't have the bulk to play with his hand down in the NFL.

So it was a long, frustrating season for Kruger, who was inactive seven games and made one start when Terrell Suggs was hurt. There was a big interception at home to help beat the Steelers and not much else.

Grade: C-

3rd round (88 overall) – CB Lardarius Webb

In hindsight: Although the Ravens don't like drafting players from small schools, they took a small college safety from Nicholls State and projected him at cornerback. Brilliant. Webb exceeded all expectations and was starting at left corner before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 15. Not only that, he gave the Ravens a potent kick returner, averaging 26.2 yards.

The injury will slow his progress as a second-year player – he needed to add muscle to his slender, 175-pound frame – but assuming the knee heals properly, he should have a very good career ahead.

Grade: A

5th round (137 overall) – LB Jason Phillips


In hindsight: Worth a gamble that late, but Phillips came in with a knee injury and never was able to show anything in training camp. He spent the year on injured reserve. This will be a big summer for him.

Grade: incomplete

5th round (149 overall) – TE Davon Drew

In hindsight: Drew was a project at a position where the Ravens needed reinforcements. He became a pass-catcher his senior year at East Carolina, but it didn't show in training camp. Cut and claimed by the Dolphins. Drew was soon back with the Ravens on the practice squad, though. He gets a second chance this summer.

Grade: D

6th round (185 overall) – RB Cedric Peerman

In hindsight: Peerman was a training camp body who would help out on special teams at best. Never could work his way into the big picture in camp. Cut and wasn't placed on the practice squad.

Grade: F

Rookie free agents

It figured to be extremely difficult for any rookie free agent to make this team and have an impact, but Ellerbe did as a big, physical linebacker. He may be the heir apparent to Ray Lewis even. But it's too early to say. After a knee injury cost him a chance in camp, he came on during the season to win a starting job. He is more of a brawler than Tavares Gooden, but doesn't have Gooden's athleticism. That should be one of training camp's better battles.

The Ravens also kept defensive back K.J. Gerard, wide receiver Eron Riley and outside linebacker William VanDeSteeg on the practice squad as projects. Gerard got into three games before finished the year on injured reserve.

Grade: B

Overall team grade: A