Baltimore Ravens 2008 NFL Draft Grade
I am not crazy about Joe Flacco, but this man has seemingly drawn together the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff and front office on a quarterback for the first time in years. This is a giant of a man at six and a half feet tall. He can sling the ball around but never had his stuff tested against the big time talent of the FBS. I hope Flacco turns out well for Ravens fans everywhere.

Next, they snagged Ray Rice from Rutgers in round two and this pick saved any inhibitions I may have had with Flacco. Rice can flat out get it done; he displays a good burst and excellent balance in a compact frame. He also tends to fall forward every run, maximizing every touch this workhorse back took in college. He should be a nice combo with incumbent Willis McGahee. Looks like the Ravens plan to run the ball and play great defense, true AFC North style.  

Tavares Gooden could help out right away; this rangy athlete from Miami will probably fill Bart Scott's shoes when his contract expires after next season; if not he adds good depth for now. Tom Zbikowski from Notre Dame is a boxer in his other job so you might figure that he hits you hard. He's a really good leader and a good kick returner, which is where he will make his name early on. He should clear out locker room problems as well. Are you “gonna” pick a fight with a professional fighter? I think not. Oniel Cousins from UTEP is a typical Baltimore interior lineman; he is mean and aggressive and should push the other guys, like last year’s first round pick Ben Grubbs for playing time. 

We've got a pair of sleepers in Baltimore. Haruki Nakamura, a lights out safety, will put you on your back in a hurry. I can see him as a gunner on Special Teams from day one, and perhaps returning kicks as well. Bigby was a find for the Packers. Could Nakamura be that for the Ravens? All signs thus far point to “yes.” Allen Patrick is a nice back from Oklahoma who had the daunting task of taking over for a legend in Adrian Peterson. This reminds me of a time when Terrell Davis took over for Garrison Hearst at Georgia. Davis fell and so did Patrick. Could fate resurface? We may find out soon. Look for Patrick to land on the practice squad to start the year. 

Round 1 (18) – Joe Flacco – QB – 6’7” 236 – Delaware 

Round 2 (55) – Ray Rice – RB – 5’8” 199 – Rutgers 

Round 3 (71) – Tavares Gooden – OLB – 6’1” 233 – Miami 

Round 3 (86) – Tom Zbikowski – FS – 5’11” 210 – Notre Dame 

Round 3 (99) – Oniel Cousins – OG – 6’4” 308 – Texas-El Paso 

Round 4 (106) – Marcus Smith – WR – 6’2” 221 – New Mexico 

Round 4 (133) – David Hale – OT – 6’6” 308 – Weber State 

Round 6 (206) – Haruki Nakamura – FS – 5’10” 190 – Cincinnati 

Round 7 (215) – Justin Harper – WR – 6’4” 198 – Virginia Tech 

Round 7 (240) – Allen Patrick – RB – 6’1” 198 – Oklahoma 

Baltimore Ravens – Draft Grade – B- 

By T. Lewis,
May 7, 2008