Most people say you have to wait three years before properly judging a draft class. This is a good time frame, but four years is even better.
All rookies under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) sign four-year contracts, with the first round picks getting a team option for a fifth year.
With the 26th overall selection in 2011, how did the Baltimore Ravens do?
Round 1 (Pick #27): CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
Round 2 (Pick #58): WR Torrey Smith, Maryland
Round 3 (Pick #85, from Eagles): OL Jah Reid, Central Florida
Round 4 (Pick #123): WR Tandon Doss, Indiana
Round 5 (Pick #164): CB Chykie Brown, Texas
Round 5 (Pick #165): OLB Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State
Round 6 (Pick #180, from Rams): QB Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
Round 7 (Pick #225, from Eagles): RB Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech
Draft Grade in 2011:
ESPN (Mel Kiper Jr.): B+
Yahoo! (Jason Cole): C+
First Round Pick: Jimmy Smith
Baltimore entered the draft with the 26th overall pick, but ended up selecting at number 27. They had a trade worked out with Chicago to move down to number 29, but the Bears never called the trade in to the league. Due to this snafu, the clock ran out on the Ravens. By the time the Ravens handed in their pick, Kansas City had jumped them. With the 27th selection, the Ravens took a chance on Smith, a troubled cornerback out of Colorado, and the pick has worked out very well. It took him a few years to develop, but he has become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
Best Pick (Not First Round): Torrey Smith
No relation to Jimmy Smith, Torrey Smith was an essential part of the Ravens’ offense over the last four seasons, before departing for San Francisco in free agency. Smith started 62 of a possible 64 regular season games in Baltimore while catching 213 passes for 3,591 yards and 30 touchdowns. His speed made him the ideal deep threat for the strong-armed Joe Flacco.
Worst Pick: Jah Reid
In order to select Reid, the Ravens traded up a few spots in the third round. However, he hasn’t become the starting guard or right tackle that they hoped for. Baltimore got seven starts out of him in the second half of the 2012 season, but the offensive line was shuffled around for the playoffs after he suffered an injury and ended up performing better. Outside of 2012, the Ravens received only 52 offensive snaps from Reid (638 total in four seasons).
Both Jimmy and Torrey Smith turned out how the Ravens hoped for, becoming quality players. Reid was a disappointment in the third round, but he at least gave the Ravens a few starts. Doss and Brown flashed talent, but were never able to capitalize on it. McPhee sandwiched two poor seasons between an excellent rookie year (six sacks) and an excellent 2014 season (7.5 sacks), where he was a sub-package superstar. Multiple players from the draft were important pieces of Baltimore’s victory in Super Bowl XLVII, in what was the second season for these players.