by Adam Fournier, Ourlads’ Intern
Since moving to Baltimore from Cleveland, the Ravens have been one of the premier teams in the AFC capturing two Super Bowl victories. The Ravens built their team with a strong core that was acquired through the draft. The Ravens boast a draft history that most teams would dream of with names like Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Chris McAlister, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Marshall Yanda. All of these players helped contribute to at least one of the Ravens two Super Bowl victories. However in recent years, the Ravens have not been able to replicate as much success in the draft.
The two biggest busts of the past five years are the Ravens first two draft picks in 2010: Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody. Kindle and Cody were both All-Americans in college but could not replicate their success in the NFL. Kindle is arguably the biggest bust in team history as he only played in three NFL games in his career. Kindle fell down a flight of stairs before his rookie season fracturing his skull and he just never got his career back on track. Cody’s career lasted longer than Kindle making contributions for the Ravens for 5 seasons but simply never lived up to his evaluation. Two other names that could end up in their category are Courtney Upshaw and Matt Elam. Like Kindle and Cody, Upshaw and Elam were also collegiate All-Americans who just haven’t lived up to their billing. It is unfair to label either as a bust because they both still have the opportunity to turn it around. However Elam’s mountain to climb just got even bigger as he is likely to miss the entire 2015 season with a torn bicep.
When talking about the last five Ravens drafts, the players that contributed to their Super Bowl run and eventual victory must be acknowledged. The biggest name out of this bunch is wide receiver Torrey Smith. Smith emerged as the Ravens number two receiver alongside Anquan Boldin on their run to Super Bowl Champions. After Boldin’s departure, Smith became the team’s number one target until departing for San Francisco in the 2015 season. Also deserving recognition are tight end duo Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta along with running back Bernard Pierce. Dickson and Pitta formed a solid one two punch at tight end up until Dickson’s departure in 2014. Pierce made a nice contribution at running back for three years; however, he was released following an arrest in 2015. Kelechi Osemele has also been a good pick up for the Ravens. Osemele started every game in 2012 rookie season including Super Bowl and was named a 2nd team All-Pro in 2014.
While defensive players like Kindle, Cody, Upshaw, and Elam have not lived up to their hype, C.J. Mosley certainly did during his rookie campaign. It seems the Ravens have finally found a player that lives up to the standard of player everyone is accustomed to seeing play defense for the Ravens. Mosley was a star at Alabama and has so far lived up to expectations. Mosley started all 16 games for the Ravens in 2014 and finished 2nd in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl and named Second-Team All-Pro. The Ravens will be looking to Mosley to anchor the middle of their defense for many years to come.