By Chris Schisler
Ranking the worst Baltimore Ravens draft picks seems a little played out. I feel like I’ve written that kind of article before. I know you’ve read that kind of article before. It’s as if we needed to be told that Breshad Perriman or Matt Elam was objectively awful.
Let’s get on our compassionate hat and try to see what the Ravens were thinking. They’ve been bashed for picking these players and what’s the point of piling on. It may be a useful exercise to figure out what the Ravens were looking for instead of just saying they didn’t get it.
4 Baltimore Ravens draft picks gone wrong:
Matt Elam (2013)
I have a confession to make. I really was a big Matt Elam guy when he was coming out of Florida. The main thing I saw in Elam was a nose for the football… where did that go? Elam was a crazy productive player at the University of Florida, he was fun to watch too. In his last year with the Gators he had 76 tackles, four interceptions, and two sacks. He was a strong safety who routinely found his way to tackles in the backfield. I repeat where did that go?
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Elam at the end of the first round. It turned out to be an awful pick but some team would have scooped him up early in the second round. The Ravens mistook Elam’s productiveness for instincts. They thought his six career interceptions at Florida meant he had a feel for the game. They thought that his 22 tackles for a loss in his collegiate career meant that he was a natural run stopper. Yeah… about that.
It’s pretty convincing that Elam’s problem was confidence. At Florida, it was a lot simpler than it was with the Ravens’ defense. He got asked to do a lot with the Ravens. His rookie season wasn’t a disaster He started 15 games, he was in on 77 tackles and he had a pick.
I think the more the Ravens asked him to do other than “See football, attack football” the worse it was for him. Elam never had good coverage skills and was always limited outside of the tackle box. When a strong safety starts whiffing on tackles and taking himself out of position that’s kind of it for him.
Arthur Brown (2013)
Arthur Brown is the reason I’ll always have a little skepticism when it comes to big 12 linebackers. Brown was another prospect that didn’t work out where I totally get it from the Ravens perspective. Brown was a fast linebacker who was a little undersized. The idea was having a linebacker who could roam sideline to sideline and play well in pass coverage. On paper Brown had everything but a dominating build.
Let’s be honest, it is not hard to see what the Ravens saw. They have a statue of Ray Lewis outside M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore is in love with the idea of a slightly undersized linebacker who can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. The Ravens were predispositioned to this. Think of it this way, Patrick Queen and Brown have almost the same exact build. Queen is the kind of player Brown was supposed to be.
Breshad Perriman (2015)
This was a pick I was never not nervous about. Perriman had red flags. The point of this article isn’t to skewer Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta for things they already receive criticism for. That doesn’t mean there is a lot of nice things to say about this draft choice.
Perriman had a very big frame and awesome speed. This one isn’t hard guys. The Ravens were looking for the Randy Moss type. They were looking for the home run hitter for their offense, the big play down the field guy. To Perriman’s credit he was that for the UCF Knights, He averaged over 20 yards per reception in his last two seasons at Central Florida.
Did he ever have great hands? Nope. Were there concerns and red flags from an injury perspective? You bet. Did the Ravens care? Nope. The same way the Ravens went after traits and ignored everything else with Kyle Boller at the quarterback position they did with Perriman at the wide receiver position. He had traits. Sigh.
Maxx Williams (2015)
The Ravens were looking for Rob Gronkowski 2.0 here. Williams was a quick tight end with a 6-4 build that looked the part. One knock for Williams coming out was he was a stiff football player. Think of Williams like an action figure.
There are moving parts that connect to a rectangular body but the movement is tight and limited. It was one of the concerns about Gronkowski and it ended up not mattering for him (Obviously). The Ravens tried to learn from passing on Gronk but Williams wasn’t the same kind of player.
The Baltimore Ravens bottom Line:
The Ravens have gotten it wrong sometimes. It’s important to understand that there was a process. There is a reason these mistakes were made, and there was a reason that each pick provided hope before it provided dread.
NEXT POST: 3 Forgotten Baltimore Ravens of the month: vol. 2
I hope you enjoyed this twist on this kind of article. Keep coming back to Purple and Black Nest for everything Ravens.