Grades all over the board

The Baltimore Sun

How the Ravens' draft was graded by experts and newspapers:

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

The Ravens wanted Matt Ryan, but Joe Flacco was the next-best quarterback in this draft. The Ravens made a great deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars that got them three additional picks. They also traded down and still were able to get running back Ray Rice in the second round. The Ravens need to start bringing in young linebackers and Miami's Tavares Gooden had a very good 2007 season. Tom Zbikowski is a good third-round choice, but only if his play resembles what he did in 2006 as opposed to 2007. Oniel Cousins is a versatile offensive lineman and WR Marcus Smith will help on special teams in kick coverage and as a returner. Safety Haruki Nakamura and RB Allen Patrick might have to make this roster by performing on special teams.

Grade: B

USA Today

Wanted a QB. They suspected Matt Ryan would not fall to them in the eighth spot and could not trade up. So they dropped down and grabbed a recent riser in Joe Flacco. Big arm, but how his skills translate from a smaller college program (Delaware) to the NFL is anyone's guess. Filling this position has been an intractable problem for years. Did not get an OT to replace Jonathan Ogden. Grade is higher if you like trade for CB Fabian Washington, a former No. 1 of Oakland's acquired for a fourth-round pick.

Grade: C

The Washington Post

Trading down after not getting Matt Ryan was the right move. But trading back up to get fellow QB Joe Flacco at No. 18 wasn't necessary. The next QB, Brian Brohm, wouldn't come off the board for another 38 picks.

Grade: C-

The Dallas Morning News

The Ravens needed a quarterback and probably overextended for Flacco. Coach John Harbaugh didn't forget his special teams roots when he drafted safeties Zbikowski and Nakamura and WR Smith.

Grade: C

The Miami Herald

Delaware's Joe Flacco fills their desperate need at quarterback. Unfortunately, quarterback and wide receiver have been Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome's undoing on draft day. With Jonathan Ogden retiring, they should have dived into the pool of offensive tackles before Round 4, but linebacker Tavares Gooden might help an aging defense.

Grade: B

Orlando Sentinel

The wheeling-and-dealing Ravens (none of their first four picks was their own) get a passing grade (barely) just for -- finally -- giving up on Kyle Boller.

Grade: D+

Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports

There's a lot of excitement about Flacco, who has a cannon arm. But look at the history of the league: QBs who are taller than 6-5 generally aren't very good. They can't move fast enough to avoid hits. Flacco lumbers when he moves and he's making a big jump from Delaware. Good luck. Rice is a very good backup to Willis McGahee, and Gooden is a much better player than he showed at Miami.

Grade: C

Pete Prisco,

They reached for Flacco and I didn't really like the pick of Ray Rice in the second round.

Grade: C

John Czarnecki, Fox Sports

With Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan gone, the Ravens did the wise thing and traded down with Jacksonville, knowing they would be able to take Delaware's Joe Flacco later in the first round. Flacco was a definite need with Steve McNair retired and Kyle Boller never holding on to the job. Flacco is 6-foot-6 and has a solid arm. Rutgers RB Ray Rice was a steal with the 55th pick, and he'll give Willis McGahee a chance to rest. Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski is a former boxer and tough guy. David Hale of Weber State played well in the East-West Shrine Game and could develop into an offensive tackle, although he lacks athleticism.

Grade: A-

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