Many experts and general managers believe the third day of the NFL Draft is the most important day of the entire draft. The Baltimore Ravens had six picks in rounds four through six. Here is my analysis on each selection:
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Za’Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky (4th Round):
I am a huge fan of this pick. Smith often lived in the shadow of Bud Dupree, but was still fairly productive at Kentucky. He has versatility, and Dean Pees will move him all across the defensive line as a five technique player. He will most likely look to fill the void of Pernell McPhee with the help of last years fourth round selection Brent Urban who is coming off a torn ACL that he suffered in training camp. Smith came at a great value and filled another need the Ravens had.
Javorius “Buck” Allen, RB, USC (4th Round):
The Ravens signed Justin Forsett to a three-year deal and drafted running back Lorenzo Taliaferro in the 2014 NFL Draft, but they still needed to add a chance of pace back who can take on the load when Forsett needs a breather. I like the pick, but I would have much rather selected David Cobb, and Allen is still a solid selection for the Ravens. Allen has very nice vision along with solid agility. Allen catches the ball well out of the backfield, which is very important and will get him on the field early because of Marc Trestman’s offense.
Tray Walker, CB, Texas Southern (4th Round):
Arguably one of the Ravens biggest needs is cornerback depth behind newly extended Jimmy Smith and veteran Lardarius Webb. They got a huge, lengthy corner with Walker. He’s listed at 6-foot-2, and in today’s NFL, tall cornerbacks are the newest fad. He is a very solid press corner who will bring depth to the Ravens and will contend for that third corner spot with Asa Jackson and Rasheen Melvin. If Walker wins the job, I would imagine him and Jimmy Smith would man the outside, while Webb would go into the slot in nickel packages, which is where he excels.
Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware (5th Round):
This was one very confusing pick to me. Unfortunately, this selection leads me to believe Dennis Pitta will not play the game of football again. That is pure speculation on my behalf, but taking two tight ends, certainly does not bode well for his return. In my opinion, this was my least favorite pick of the Ravens draft simply because it seems like a reach at a really unnecessary position. The Ravens used a third-round pick in last year’s draft on Crockett Gillmore, who looked good when Pitta went down and was an impressive blocker. He also looked solid in the passing game, scoring a very important touchdown in the AFC Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think Gillmore is fully capable to be the second tight end in this offense behind newly acquired Maxx Williams. Boyle at the very most will see time as a blocker in sub goal line packages, and will be treated as a developmental player.
Robert Myers, OG, Tennessee State (5th Round):
It’s not a Ravens draft unless they select an offensive lineman in the late rounds of the draft. They have had recent success with selecting lineman in the later rounds. The most recent example is mathlete John Urschel who was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft and started three games for the injured Kelechi Osemele. Urschel is believed to even compete for the starting center job this offseason. You cannot forget starting right tackle Rick Wagner either, who was taken also in the fifth round two years ago. He started fifteen games and was one of the highest rated tackles on Pro Football Focus. Myers has very solid footwork along with toughness that you just can’t teach. He has the quickness to pull and trap consistently. Ozzie may be looking into the future here with this pick. Marshall Yanda and Kelechi Osemele are both free agents in 2016, so the Ravens may unfortunately need guard depth if they cannot retain both of those players.
Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech (6th Round):
The last, but certainly not the shortest Ravens draft selection. Waller measures at 6-foot-6 and looks to be a fourth or fifth option for Joe Flacco. Marc Trestman knows how to get the most out of tall receivers as we’ve seen in his Chicago days with Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. We know one thing about Georgia Tech receivers and that is they know how to block because of their triple option offense. This looks to be a late round flyer on a player with all of the tools athletically who the Ravens are hoping to develop into a future red zone target. They did this with Marlon Brown, an undrafted free agent, who is six-foot-five.
Expert and Fan Reaction:
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