For all of the success that Ozzie Newsome and Eric De Costa experience in the NFL Draft, there have been a few blunders. There is nary a draft day where the Ravens don’t leave New York as one of the most highly touted teams, and analysts rarely disagree with the decisions that their draft room makes. But just because analysts and front offices feel a pick is a good one, there are innumerable factors that can combine to create a different, unexpected outcome.
Perhaps no situation demonstrates this better than the 2010 draft.
Although there were productive Ravens drafted in that year’s draft, the top two picks have largely been disappointments. And although Terrence Cody had some moments in his tenure with the Ravens (which may not be over, as Cody met with the Ravens last week), the player drafted before him in the second round’s career hasn’t amounted to much other than silence.
Coming into the 2010 draft season, Texas’ Sergio Kindle was widely thought of as one of the most dangerous defensive players in the draft. But when news came out that Kindle had a chronic knee issue that may require microfracture surgery, there were a lot of NFL front offices that balked. As a result, Kindle fell from a mid-to-late first round pick, all the way to the second round. Ozzie Newsome, never one to shy away from an opportunity to stockpile draft picks, traded away the team’s first round pick — 25th overall to the Broncos, the pick that controversially drafted Tim Tebow — and selected Kindle with their first pick of the second round, 43rd overall.
But that knee issue wasn’t the only red flag attached to Kindle. Early in the pass-rusher’s Longhorn career, in 2007, he got arrested for a drunk driving offense. All the more concerning was in 2009, Kindle crashed his car into an apartment building while texting on his phone.
The confluence of factors surrounding Kindle were the big reason that he was available in the second round, and the Ravens have proven that concerns with character aren’t enough to deter them from selecting a player. But it was what came after Kindle was selected that really closed the casket on his chances of contributing.
Despite lofty expectations (Kindle told the Baltimore media that his goal for the season was to take home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award), his rookie season never got off its feet. Ironic considering it derailed because Kindle couldn’t stay on his.
On July 25, 2010, Kindle was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night with an apparent head injury. Kindle apparently “took a wrong turn” in his house and tumbled down two flights of stairs, with the end result being a fractured skull. Football production aside, it was a scary moment for Kindle, his family and the organization. The cause of the fall has been attributed to anything from narcolepsy to inebriation, and although we don’t want to speculate, Kindle didn’t do much in his career to dispel the suspicions of the latter.
After being placed on IR for all of his rookie season, he still managed to find headlines. In December of 2010, he was again arrested for driving under the influence, blowing a .17 on the breathalyzer at four in the morning.
The following season, after finally returning to the field — deaf in one ear, mind you — it was reported that he still hadn’t learned the playbook more than half way through the season.
He made strides late in the 2011-2012 season, and the team still had hopes that he could contribute down the line. However in October of 2012, the Ravens cut the former second round pick to make room for Terrell Suggs, who had just recovered from an achilles tear from the prior offseason. Kindle expressed a desire to find his way back to the 53-man roster, and the Ravens signed him to the practice squad shortly after activating Suggs. However, in January of 2013, they released him from the practice squad and organization altogether.
Despite stating his intentions to continue his career, Kindle hasn’t occupied an NFL roster since. From a football perspective, Kindle’s story is a cautionary tale of opportunity squandered. But even still, from a human outlook, one can only hope that Kindle has found peace of mind and the ability to live responsibly. And even though he holds the title of the Worst Outside Linebacker drafted by the Ravens, we still wish him the best moving forward. Maybe one day, he will be lined up across from Joe Flacco.