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All of the 2010 draft grades are in and the Ravens’ are deservedly getting high marks on their report card.
But if going by conventional wisdom (something I always try to avoid), we won’t be able to accurately judge the 2010 class until three years from now.
That means we can justifiably take a magnifying glass to the Ravens’ 2007 draft class. Succinctly, it was one of the Ravens’ top classes of all-time – No. 3 according to my previous list.
Here’s why 2007 was so good. The Ravens essentially found the teeth for one of the NFL’s best pounding run games in one draft.
With their first pick (No. 27 overall), Baltimore snagged Auburn guard Ben Grubbs. Grubbs started five games into his rookie season and hasn’t missed a game there since. He was a Pro Bowl alternate last year and it would surprise nobody in Owings Mills, Md., if he heads to Hawaii next year.
The Ravens landed one of the biggest steals in the draft when they grabbed fullback Le’Ron McClain in the fourth round. McClain is now a back-to-back Pro Bowler who not only showed he can be a force running the ball (2008), but proved he’s an explosive blocker (2009).
In between, Baltimore snagged tackle Marshal Yanda out of Iowa in the third round. Yanda’s rough, mauling style has perfectly fit into the Ravens’ offensive mentality and his move to starting right guard fueled Baltimore’s winter push last season.
In the supplemental draft, the Ravens pounced on Maryland-product Jared Gaither, who has manned the left tackle spot for the past two seasons. Gaither has become one of the league’s better tackles and still has room to grow.
It wasn’t just a good draft for the offensive line, however. Baltimore selected reliable backup quarterback Troy Smith in the fifth round and linebacker Prescott Burgess, who led the Ravens in special teams stops last year, in the sixth round.
Rush linebacker Antwan Barnes (fourth round) has flashed his talent, but has yet to find a consistent spot. Wide receiver/returner Yamon Figurs (third round) is the only pick still not with the team, as he was cut during Training Camp last year.