Where rounds five through seven are where team’s traditionally can find the biggest steals, rounds three and four are where the fringe first day players normally fall. This means that teams can potentially walk away from the third or fourth round with a first round talent, and injuries or down performances can frequently dock a player’s draft stock. That just means that teams have to be even more meticulous in their scouting to identify the players who shouldn’t even be available.
Just like yesterday’s piece, we will be talking about players that are perceived fits for the Ravens specific positional needs. You can read the criteria here. However, this time, due to the increase in information available about prospects, we will provide a brief informational blurb to give you a better idea about what kind of player they are.
So, here we go!
Ed Reynolds, Stanford — At 6-foot-2, Reynolds has the size to stick at safety. He is also one of the better athletes while graduating from Stanford, meaning he has a mind for not only football, but beyond. One of his only detractions is an ACL tear in 2011 that some believe he is just now fully recovering from. Can sometimes make bad reads in coverage, but in the fourth round, he is a good value.
Dion Bailey, USC — Played both outside linebacker and safety at USC, and only started playing safety for one season with the Trojans (2013). Very smart, instinctual player that is great at seeking out the ballcarrier as well as positioning himself on defense. However, due to his relative inexperience in the back-half, he relies more on his instincts than technique, which can sometimes get him in trouble. With time, he could turn into a very good playmaker in all facets.
Terrance West, Towson — A very popular projected pick for the Ravens, the organization scouts had ample time to gather opinions on the Towson RB, as he played his career in their backyard. West is built strongly and measures in at about 5-foot-9 and 225-pounds. That stout frame doesn’t restrict his movements, and West is a strong and shifty runner that would be right at home in Kubiak’s zone offense. On top of that, he possesses above average ability as a receiver out of the backfield. There is good reason that West is projected to the Ravens, and the two have expressed interest in one another.
Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona — At 5-foot-9, 209-pounds, Carey, like West, is a runner that packs a big punch from a relatively smaller package. However, unlike West, Carey is not well known for his speed and quickness, instead thriving in situations very much like the one he would find himself in if the Ravens were to select him. Carey thrives at identifying running lanes and hitting them with authority — essentially the watermark of a good zone runner. On top of that, he pretty much always falls forward and fights for the final yards. Add to the fact he has soft hands and natural receiving ability, many feel Carey is a great fit in Baltimore.
Charles Sims, West Virginia — Another great fit for the zone offense, Sims is the best receiver of the bunch. At 6-foot, 215-pounds, he is a big man at running back, but that doesn’t stop him from using his quick feet and deceptive speed to best defenders. In fact, Sims’ forty time was faster than both West and Carey. Sims excels at finding a hole or waiting for one to develop, and then has a powerful leg plant that allows him to drive forward and accelerate into the crease like not many other running backs can. On top of all of these traits, he is also a more than adequate pass blocker, something NFL teams covet and NCAA teams glaze over. The one detraction on Sims is that he can run too tall at times, exposing himself to injury.
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor — Seastrunk is the most electric runner of the four listed, however what he has in speed and quickness he somewhat lacks in vision (at least compared to West, Carey and Sims). Truly a rare quick-twitch athlete (his 41 1/2″ vertical ranked first of all RBs and tied for second of all combine participants, and his 11’2″ broad jump ranks tops of all players), Seastrunk was a highlight reel waiting to happen in Baylor’s fast paced offense. Can sometimes use his speed to hurt him, however, as he has been caught running east-west rather than north-south.
Jarvis Landry, LSU — In another draft, Landry might be competing for a late first-round pick (and there is still a chance one team likes him enough to have him off the board not long after that), however in this wide receiver rich class, he has somewhat slid down the board. Don’t let his decline mislead you — Landry is maybe the most NFL ready receiver from a physical standpoint as any in the draft. Jarvis Landry is a football player. Period. Along with pairing with Odell Beckham to give the Tigers one of the best receiving duos in the NCAA, he also acted as the LSU gunner on special teams and has delivered some crushing tackles. Some scouts have compared Landry to former-Baltimore hero, Anquan Boldin, and that will be music to Ravens’ fans ears. He has strong hands and isn’t afraid to run across the middle, while running nearly the whole route tree. Not to mention he is a fantastic blocker. I’m holding out hope that Landry will be in purple and black by the end of the weekend.
Martavis Bryant, Clemson — Like Landry, Bryant played behind a projected first rounder at Clemson in Sammy Watkins, however that doesn’t detract from his raw ability. At 6-foot-4, Bryant is a big target that can rise up to fight for the football (39″ vertical at the combine). Despite his playmaking ability, he still needs to add size to his frame to allow himself to succeed at the pro level, as his athleticism won’t be enough. With some proper coaching, he could be a very good receiver, but as is, he is an unfinished product. Needs polishing on his routes.
Paul Richardson, Colorado — Though not the physical specimen that Bryant is, or the bruising receiver that Landry is, Richardson is a very talented player that could make a difference immediately in the NFL. He ran a 4.33 forty at the combine in February, and in the positional drills, displayed unbelievable fluidity in his routes and hips as well as great hands to pluck the ball out of the air away from his body. His father played receiver in the NFL, and it seems some of his experience has seeped into Richardson’s game, as the younger Richardson is not afraid to get his hands dirty in blocking despite his slight frame. If he were 6-foot, 200-pounds, there is good reason to believe he would be in the conversation for a first round pick.
Dri Archer, Kent State — This year’s fastest forty time (4.26), Archer possesses gamebreaking speed. He played running back primarily at Kent State, but also lined up in the slot and special teams, giving whoever selects him on draft day a player that can give opposing defenses nightmares. When the ball is in Archer’s hands, there is a chance he will score. Every time. He is also not just a one trick pony, as he possesses good hands. That sort of talent can’t be overlooked, and in today’s NFL where size is becoming less and less important, the 5-foot-8, 173-pound Archer could carve out a role in the NFL as the joker, Dexter McCluster type player.
Brandon Coleman, Rutgers — Not dissimilar from Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State, Coleman possesses one of those rare frames from a wide receiver. Standing 6-foot-6 and 225-pounds, he is truly a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. His forty time of 4.52 at the combine was probably above expectations and only further demonstrates his physical ability. Although he is a physical specimen, Coleman is a bit raw and undeveloped from a skill standpoint, relying instead on his natural tools to beat defenders. This may work in college, but if he wants to find success at the NFL level he will need to develop his route running and start playing as physical as his size would suggest.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa — A hulking tight end, Fiedorowicz stands 6-foot-6 and 265-pounds, making him as close to a tackle as he is to some of the modern day tight ends. In fact, Fiedorowicz is throwback in every sense of the word, as he has absolutely no qualms staying on the line and mauling the man in front of him. Many felt as though C.J. was strictly a blocking tight end, however while at the combine he displayed competency running routes and catching the football, and although he certainly wasn’t the most fluid athlete with the softest hands, his skillset as a receiver is plenty when paired with his aptitude as a blocker. Combine the fact that Gary Kubiak often deploys his second tight end as a receiver in the redzone, Fiedorowicz seems to make more and more sense for the Ravens. He isn’t immobile either, as he ran a 4.73 forty at the combine.
Arthur Lynch, Georgia — This guy has Kubiak written all over him. Excelling as a run blocker, Lynch is great at getting proper angles and sealing off lanes for runners. This is unbelieveably important for a tight end in Kubiak’s offense, as the second tight end is relied upon frequently to help the running back find his crease. A smart blocker goes a long way in these offenses. Add to this information the fact that Lynch is a very good receiver also, and you have yourself a very good prospect at tight end. He can sit back on the line and handle his assignment, or he can catch a pass downfield and run with the ball after the fact. Lynch would look great lined up across from Pitta down the line, and would benefit a lot from learning under Owen Daniels.
Larry Webster, Bloomsburg — A four-year basketball player at Bloomsburg, Webster is somebody who would undoubtedly be a project. In fact, his profile on CBS is for a defensive end! However, with the tight end position’s trend in recent years towards rangy athletes, whoever drafts Webster would do so with the plans of converting him into the next Julius Thomas. At 6-foot-6 and 252-pounds, Webster ran a 4.58 forty and is only just scratching the surface of his potential.
Nevin Lawson, Utah State — An undersized corner, Lawson has displayed very good fluidity in his hips to run with wide receivers as well as a fearless attitude in run support. This is the kind of player that organizations look for in their nickel cornerback, and Lawson doesn’t mind playing in such open space. Recently Ozzie Newsome talked about how Duane Starks was one of his favorite all-time draft picks due to Starks unlikely dominance (he was only 175-pounds “soaking wet,” according to Newsome), don’t be surprised to see the Ravens draft a corner for the size of their heart rather than their body.
Walt Aikens, Liberty — At 6-foot-1, Aikens is the new flavor for NFL cornerbacks since Richard Sherman took over. The Ravens have proven to value size at corner in the past when they selected Jimmy Smith, so it really comes down to the kind of corner they’re looking for. Aikens can play press coverage or zone. He can run with the receiver or he can come up and stick the running back. He is a playmaker who wants to run it back to the endzone after an interception. The one detraction is his lack of top-end speed, but with his size and versatility, he would bolster whichever secondary he enters.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska — If Aikens is the flavor at cornerback, Jean-Baptiste is the crown jewel. At 6-foot-3, he possesses size that is rarely seen from a cornerback. Unfortunately, his physicality hasn’t quite reached the level of his frame. Despite this fact, he is a very good athlete to be such a big defender, and his fluidity at his height is truly rare. He is a good defender of the ball, and with his long arms, he is able to give wide receivers and quarterbacks fits.
Taylor Hart, Oregon — At 6-foot-6 and 285-pounds, Hart is a very large man, to say the least. However, despite his huge frame, he has surprisingly quick feet, which can be the difference between a good 5-technique defensive end and a great one. Is very good at diagnosing screens out of the backfield, as well as showing extremely strong hands to throw blockers off of him to stop the ball at the line. Played defensive end, defensive tackle, and even some linebacker at Oregon, showing the versatility that teams love at the next level.
Daniel McCullers, Tennessee — Standing at 6-foot-7 and 350-pounds, McCullers is an absolute mountain of a man. While he was a Volunteer, opposing defenses would consistently double and triple team him in order to try and keep him under wraps. This is all despite his relative inexperience. A 5-technique defensive end is expected to neutralize the running game, and McCuller is arguably the best run-stopping presence available in this draft, with untapped potential to boot.