Baltimore’s Draft Class Has Made an Impact
The Ravens are off to a solid (3-1) start, and several rookies have already made key contributions. The bet here is that they will continue to do so and improve as the season continues.
Let’s hand out rookie grades after the first quarter of the season.
The Ravens first round selection was not a sexy pick. Nor is Stanley’s play. But his talent is immense and he has the potential to develop into a top flight tackle in this league. Stanley has a good release on pass sets, and his footwork, balance, and hand usage are very impressive. I’m attributing a rough Week 3 performance in Jacksonville to the foot injury, and you saw what happened when he was sidelined against the Raiders. Hopefully he’ll be back against the Redskins to help provide Joe Flacco with adequate time and space to throw.
A disappointment so far, Correa has yet to carve out a role in the Ravens defense. He has contributed on special teams and was in position for an interception in Week 3 (dropped), but Correa only logged 6 snaps against the Raiders, and seemingly has a ways to go.
The defensive end will miss the season with a broken ankle.
Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens
For a turnover-starved Baltimore defense, Tavon Young has been a breath of fresh air, getting his hands on the football in three straight games. Young has flashed plus cover skills in limited reps and will look to carve out an even bigger role as the season progresses.
Moore’s start to the season has been up-and-down, but you can tell the coaches see something in this kid. He’ll need to shake his case of the drops and start reeling in passes, so he can continue to build trust with Flacco. But Moore has great speed and has even showed special teams value, making an outstanding tackle on a first quarter punt return against the Raiders.
Lewis has started every game he’s been healthy, and has played pretty well. As a fourth round selection, that is a win for the Ravens. Jeremy Zuttah’s play to the right of Lewis has done the rookie no favors, but Lewis needs to continue developing a mean streak in the running game and developing chemistry with fellow rookie Ronnie Stanley to maintain his starting role and anchor the left side.
Henry has yet to play in the regular season amidst a crowded defensive line rotation.
Hobbled by a knee injury, Dixon has yet to be featured in a regular season contest. But with the release of Justin Forsett, you get the feeling that the coaching staff is clearing the way for Dixon to become the lightning to Terrance West’s thunder. Dixon has exciting quickness and pass catching ability, and could find himself as the Ravens’ starter sometime after the bye.
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Despite being a healthy scratch Sunday with the return of Elvis Dumervil, Judon has quickly contributed at the outside linebacker spot. He has shown a few useful pass rushing moves and the ability set the edge at times. He’ll need to improve his consistency to carve out a situational pass rushing role.
A clear fan favorite, Reynolds was unable to win the returner job or impress at wide receiver, but he will continue to learn in Baltimore, as the Ravens brought him back to the practice squad.
Many thought Canady would struggle to make the roster, but he showed enough on special teams to earn a place on the 53. He has yet to record a defensive snap, but has been active as a special teamer each week thus far.
Pierce is the unquestioned feel-good story of the rookie class, and has made the biggest mark thus far. Undrafted from Samford and now playing a key role along Baltimore’s talented defensive front, Pierce has surpassed all expectations and continues to use his compact frame, strength and quickness to create disruptive plays.