How they are grading the 2012 Ravens' draft class

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We gave you our early grades on the 2012 Ravens draft class on Sunday. Now here is a look at how a handful of national draft analysts have graded what G.M. Ozzie Newsome and Co. did over the weekend.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Solid B. "The Ravens had a great weekend. Any time you move out of the first round, still get a guy with first-round talent, and he happens to fill your biggest need, you're happy. Courtney Upshaw isn't a gifted pass-rusher, but he does exactly what Jarret Johnson did, sealing the edge against the run. He plays with relentless energy and has the experience to start immediately. Kelechi Osemele isn't a future starter at tackle, but moved inside you might have a player at guard. Again, that's a big need. Bernard Pierce provides insurance in the run game, and Asa Jackson has a chance to stick in what's already a good secondary. No stars, but really good value at the top, and needs were hit."


Jason Cole, Yahoo!: C-plus. "This is an acceptable average draft from a team that handles the draft as well as any. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome traded out of the first round and still picked up a tough football player in Upshaw. Osemele and Gradkowski are road-graders who should help rebuild the offensive line after recent losses in free agency, such as Ben Grubbs. The Ravens still need to find a center of the future to replace Matt Birk, but that will have to wait another year."

Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated: Solid B. "The Ravens traded down and still landed DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw (35), who may develop into the next feared defender in Baltimore. Guard Kelechi Osemele (60) and running back Bernard Pierce (84) filled needs well, making the Ravens' reaches in Round 5 (Gino Gradkowski and Christian Thompson) more tolerable."


Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: B-plus. "One thing about the Ravens is when they are done drafting you know that Ozzie Newsome will find good football players. They always seem to do so. Moving out of the first and landing Upshaw was a nice move. They added some nice third-day pieces as well."

John Czarnecki, Fox Sports: Solid B. "There is no doubt Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome and his PR-conscious sidekick Eric DeCosta know how to draft. Their first three selections, none in the first round, reflected quality. Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw had tremendous value, but he's not a replacement for Ray Lewis. Upshaw, who is excited about joining this defense, will be given a chance to replace Jarret Johnson, who jumped to the Chargers. Iowa State guard Kelechi Osemele and Delaware guard Gino Gradkowski prove that Newsome wants to fix his offensive line. Temple running back Bernard Pierce has the slashing style of Ray Rice, but he needs to work on his receiving skills."

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: A-minus. "Upshaw has a chance to fill the big void of fellow former Alabama star Jarret Johnson, while Osemele was the powerful guard they needed."

Rob Rang, B-minus. "The Ravens deftly moved out of the first round after realizing one of the players they were targeting was going to slip into the second. Having lost outside linebacker Jarret Johnson to the Chargers though free agency and unable to wait any longer for former second-round pick Sergio Kindle to return to his playmaking ways, the Ravens nabbed one of the safest pass rushing OLBs in the draft in Courtney Upshaw at No. 35 overall. Upshaw will erase any doubts about his ability to transition from Alabama to the NFL when he makes an immediate impact for Baltimore. Four-year starter Kelechi Osemele won't be asked to remain at left tackle in the NFL as he played for Iowa State but move either to the right or compete with second-year pro Jah Reid to take over for another free agent defection Ben Grubbs (Saints) at left guard. Of the Ravens' later picks, watch out for Temple running back Bernard Pierce and Cal-Poly cornerback Asa Jackson to emerge as strong contributors in backup roles."

Walter Cherepinsky, A-minus. "Newsome always walks away with a great draft class because good players magically fall to him to every April. It's really amazing how this phenomenon occurs year after year.  It wasn't any different this past weekend. Courtney Upshaw, once projected to go as high as No. 10 overall, dropped all the way to the second round. ...  Only a couple of things stood out after that, but Newsome didn't make a single bad selection. His worst was probably Gino Gradkowski at No. 98, but the Delaware center had generated so much interest in pre-draft visits that Newsome probably just wanted to be safe than sorry. I'm OK with that because it's not like Gradkowski was a major reach."