Baltimore Ravens: 2014 Draft Class Among the Top


First I’d like send out congratulations to the writing staff and editors Randy, Shawn, and Rocky at The Baltimore Wire for its one year anniversary. It’s a privilege and a lot of fun writing for the Wire and being part of a huge FanSided team.

And like anniversaries that occur once a year so does the NFL Draft.

2014 has featured a deep crop of rookies. A number of teams have seen their draft picks already make significant impacts on the season thus far. Whether it’s the Oakland Raiders hitting it big with David Carr and Khalil Mack or the Minnesota Vikings with Teddy Bridgewater and Anthony Barr, there’s definitely no shortage of promising rookie athletes in the NFL.

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The Baltimore Ravens have had one of their best draft classes in recent memory this year. Most of the rookie class are not huge stars yet, but through Week 10 we’ve seen each of the Ravens picks show big signs of potential.

C.J. Mosley was a steal even at 17th overall. Mosley was the best linebacker in the draft, and a number of teams ahead of the Ravens needed impact players on defense. Ozzie Newsome believes draft the best player available, and Mosley was just that. Through Week 10, he has amassed 90 tackles (fourth in the league), two interceptions and one forced fumble and is a front-runner for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Timmy Jernigan and Terrence Brooks are a pair of Florida State alumni already finding their place on the defense. Jernigan, who was originally intended to be rotated at the defensive tackle position to take the pressure of Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams, has already recorded 11 tackles and a sack. Terrence Brooks has made an impact as well, most notably with a big hit on Titan tight end Delanie Walker. The hit comes at a crucial time when all around the league the Ravens are currently known for having such a weak secondary.

Brooks’ hit sent the message to the league, “We still play Ravens football.”

Lorenzo Taliaferro and Crockett Gilmore are two rookies who became important backups immediately and now find themselves making impact plays. Focusing on Justin Forsett is easy, and rightfully so, but Taliaferro is the one you might want to keep your eye on.

Forsett is 29, and although he is playing in his prime, the dreaded 30-year-old wall for running backs is near, and it doesn’t hurt to have a rookie back learning and preparing. Through Week 10, he has recorded 257 yards averaging 4.2 per carry and four touchdowns.

Additionally on offense, rookie tight end Crockett Gilmore spent some time thrust into the starting position after the Ravens lost two top-tier tight ends to injuries. Gilmore didn’t seem at all phased by the pressure. At 6’6″ with great hands, Gilmore has been a pivotal part to the success in the Ravens run blocking.

This is the second year the Ravens are rebuilding the team after the departure of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. It’s a long process. Baltimore’s 2014 draft class is a step in the right direction.