Much like the team overall during the 2016 season, Baltimore’s rookie class experienced its share of highs and lows this year. With the team’s disappointing season firmly in the rearview, let’s take a look at the future of the Ravens by handing out grades to the rookies.
(Note: I took draft position of each rookie into consideration when assessing grades.)
Stanley was never a sexy pick at #6 overall, but by season’s end, fans and coaches came to see the raw talent that Ozzie Newsome saw back in April.
Early on, it was clear that the Notre Dame product has very nimble feet that allow him to expertly mirror pass rushers. It’s probably not a total coincidence that Stanley’s four-game absence due to a foot injury correlated with Baltimore’s devastating 4-game losing streak early in the season.
Once he returned, the first rounder started making highlight-reel blocks and eventually developed more of a mean streak in the running game, getting to the second level more frequently. His five-game span to end the season was best among all NFL tackles according to PFF, and his final four were the best by a Baltimore tackle since J.O., according to our own Ken McKusick.
— Ken McKusick (@FilmstudyRavens) January 4, 2017
Stanley has an all-pro ceiling, and will trend towards pro bowl appearances before his second contract if he stays healthy.
The coaching staff probably didn’t do Correa any favors by failing to creating a clear positional plan for him, but the fact remains that Correa played in just nine games and recorded just three total tackles. The 42nd overall pick dropped an easy interception in Jacksonville that could have lit a spark under his rookie campaign. Thereafter he never cracked the rotation and was placed on IR on Christmas Eve.
A broken ankle left him in on IR all season, but with uncertainty surrounding the return of Lawrence Guy, Kaufusi’s recovery and development will be under the microscope next summer.
The pleasant surprise of the draft class, Tavon Young provided phenomenal value as a fourth-round pick that became a clear starter by Week 5. He has better quickness, tackling wherewithal and flat-out coverage ability than fans could have reasonably expected. He finished the season with 53 tackles, two interceptions, eight passes defended, and a fumble recovery. His toughness and competitiveness allowed him to even thrive outside the numbers in addition to the limited slot role Baltimore envisioned when they drafted him.
Under secondary coach Leslie Frazier, Young will look to improve his footwork and technique when the ball is in the air, having already cultivated the most vital cornerback trait: confidence.
Photo Credit: NY Daily News
Moore made his name more on special teams than offense, contributing to several scoring plays. He flashed his trademark quickness to shake free from coverage at times, but failed to make contested catches, especially towards the end of the year, and never really seemed to earn Joe Flacco’s (or the coaches’) trust. With very few proven commodities at receiver next season, I project Moore as the Ravens 5th receiver in 2017–his efforts to make the roster will surely be buoyed by his special teams versatility.
Steve Bisciotti had high praise for guard Alex Lewis’ potential during Tuesday’s State of the Ravens presser, as the Ravens brass clearly foresee Lewis as the team’s left guard of the future. It was the first time in over two decades that a team started an all-rookie left side of the offensive line, and Lewis and Stanley worked well together in the few games where they lined up side-by-side.
Lewis isn’t the strongest or quickest, but shows balance and precision in his pass set, and has good vision and a tireless demeanor in the running game—tools coaches can use to mold an above-average guard over the next few years. The Wisconsin graduate is versatile and could be in the mix at right tackle if Rick Wagner departs this offseason, but we saw this year that he is much better suited inside.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Rookie Report Card, and let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree with any of these grades.