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Mel Kiper Jr. predicts rookie honors for Ravens tight end Maxx Williams

Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams answers a question during a news conference at the NFL scouting combine.
Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams answers a question during a news conference at the NFL scouting combine. (David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is bullish on the Ravens' rookie draft class, giving them an A-minus in his annual post-draft grades.

Kiper expressed surprise that Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman, a 4.22 speedster in the 40-yard dash, lasted until the Ravens' 26th overall pick of the first round.

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He also provided a prediction on Perriman, who will try to replace former Ravens wide reciever Torrey Smith after Smith signed with the San Francisco 49ers this offseaosn.

"I think he'll be better than Torrey Smith," Kiper said during a conference call Sunday afternoon.

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The Ravens drafted Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams in the second round and anticipate hihe will have a major pass-catching role in new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's tight end-friendly scheme. So does Kiper.

"I think Maxx Williams could be NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year," Kiper said. "He could be everything that Dennis Pitta was when he was healthy."

Kiper said that he thought Iowa defensive tackle Carl Davis, the Ravens' third-round draft pick, would go in the second round.

Kiper liked Kentucky defensive end Za'Darius Smith as a potential replacement for Pernell McPhee, who signed a five-year, $39 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

The Jarrettsville resident also liked fourth-round running back Buck Allen as a complementary presence to veteran running back Justin Forsett.

Kiper praised Texas Southern cornerback Tray Walker, a fifth-round NFL draft pick, for his height and athleticism.

"People will nitpick them not getting a corner earlier, but that's how the board worked out," Kiper said. "They're not going to force it."

Kiper also liked the size-speed combination of sixth-round Georgia Tech wide receiver Darren Waller, a 6-foot-6, 238-pound receiver with 4.46 speed and a 37-inch vertical leap.

"Big guy to throw to in the red zone," Kiper said. "He has tremendous physical talent."

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay praised Allen as a player that jumped out in terms of adding value for where he was picked.

"He could do a better job of breaking tackles and be more powerful," McShay said. "He does run with high knees, can catch, can block. He has a lot of tread left on the tires. Considering their running back situation, this may wind up being a really good pick for them down the road."

awilson@baltsun.com

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