Late for Work 4/13: Ravens 5-Year Draft Grades

Plus Lewis/Suggs LB rankings, Mason wears ‘Joke’ t-shirt, and Flacco criticism warranted?

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 at 9:26 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Grades For Last Five Ravens’ Drafts

AFC North Draft Grades
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Draft Picks/Grades Since 2006






Total Picks





On 2010 Roster





2010 Starters





Pro Bowlers





Dukes’ Grade





Green’s Grade





What grade would you give General Manager Ozzie Newsome and his staff for hand-picking the following players in the last five drafts: Haloti Ngata, Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Michael Oher, Ben Grubbs, Dawan Landry, Le’Ron McClain, Sam Koch, Jared Gaither and Lardarius Webb?

Since 2006, Newsome has found three Pro Bowlers, plus 28 players and 6 starters for the 2010 roster

That was enough for NFL Network’s Trent Green and Jamie Dukes to award the franchise with an A and A-minus for its body of work during the last five years.

“I give them an A-minus and this hurts me,” said Dukes for not giving the team a pure A. “The reason why I give them that A- has to do with last year’s draft. Sergio Kindle didn’t perform because of the injury situation there. You got big [Terrence] Mount Cody, he didn’t perform for them as well because he was just young and still trying to find his way around. So that’s why they get that A-. It would have been an A prior to last year’s class.”

Green isn’t ready to deduct the Ravens for those 2010 picks, however.

 ”With the Ravens, I’m giving them an A,” said Green. “You talk about the guys they have – they went out and they got a Joe Flacco, they got a Ray Rice, they have Haloti Ngata, they’ve made progress in a lot of areas and they’ve addressed a number of areas. [With] a 12-4 record, I’m giving them an A.”

Lewis Ranked No. 5 LB; Suggs Snubbed Again

ESPN ranked 12-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis as the fifth-best linebacker in the league today, while Terrell Suggs didn’t break the top-10 barrier (No. 11).

Suggs was also snubbed in ESPN’s pass-rusher rankings last month, where he was valued at No. 12.

The website’s seven divisional bloggers were quick to point out their dissension as to what criteria should be used, saying comparing linebackers from a 3-4 schemes to their 4-3 counterparts was like comparing apples and oranges.

Thus, some voters put more value on linebackers that could excel in either scheme, while other voters put an emphasis on pass rushers.

Four of the seven bloggers listed Suggs on their top-10 ballot, with Paul Kuharsky ranking Suggs the highest at No. 5.

"I unabashedly love Suggs, and frankly would have placed him higher if I thought there was any way he needed help to crack the top 10," Kuharsky said. "To me, there is a great deal of subjectivity in ranking this position when mixing guys from 4-3s and 3-4s, so I did a lot of know-them-when-I-see-them ranking. Suggs is absolutely a top-10 guy to me."

Meanwhile, Lewis made all seven voters’ lists, with his highest ranking coming from Kevin Seifert at No. 3.

"Ray Lewis would not be in my top five at this point,” wrote Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson, who did not participate in the voting. “For his age, he is still exceptional and a borderline Pro Bowler, but he doesn’t run like he did. I remember when I was with the Browns, I looked at every report the team had written since 1999 and Lewis had the highest grade ever given out. He was nearly perfect."

Below is ESPN’s full list. How would you rank ‘em?

1. Patrick Willis, 49ers
2. James Harrison, Steelers
3. DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
4. Clay Matthews Jr., Packers
5. Ray Lewis, Ravens
6. Jerod Mayo, Patriots
7. Brian Urlacher, Bears
8. LaMarr Woodley, Steelers
9 (tie). Tamba Hali, Chiefs
9 (tie). Jon Beason, Panthers

Mason Stands By Comments, Dresses In ‘A Joke’ T-Shirt

Derrick Mason

When receiver Derrick Mason woke up yesterday morning, he was pondering an important question:

“Off to Espn campus to put in work,” tweeted Mason. “Should I start controversy or not????????? Lol”

Scheduled to appear on “First Take,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show,” “The Scott Van Pelt Show,” “The Herd With Colin Cowherd,” “Football Today,” “Mike and Mike in the Morning” and “SportsCenter,” Mason showed up for his ESPN interviews sporting a T-shirt with “#A Joke” printed across the chest.

The shirt’s message referenced the comments Mason made last week, calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “a joke” for focusing on getting blood tests for the banned human growth hormone instead of giving all his attention to a new collective bargaining agreement.

During the interview tour, Mason clarified his comments by saying Goodell is a bright man and isn’t a joke in the sense that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but the 14-year receiver still stands by his opinion.
Posted by Jason Romano

“I don’t think anybody disagreed with me,” Mason said on ESPN2 per “Anybody that understands what’s been going on in the game of football on the inside, not just on the outside. Anyone that’s been in it, they understand that. Honestly, I’m not saying this to disrespect him in any way. 

"What has he done for the game of football to move it forward? Everything that has been done has been done by [former NFL commissioners] Pete Rozelle, [Paul] Tagliabue, people that came before him. The thing is, he hasn’t done anything significant to change the game of football."

Data Points: Criticism of Flacco Unwarranted?

Quarterback Joe Flacco, Tony Romo and Carson Palmer have all recently drawn criticism from “hard-to-please masses,” says NFL Network Research Analyst Elliot Harrison, who wonders how much of it is actually warranted.

Harrison stacked up Flacco and the two other oft-criticized QBs’ passer ratings against their NFL contemporaries.

Flacco’s 87.9 passer rating is more than five points ahead of the 82.3 aggregate NFL passer rating (compiled since 2005 – Palmer’s rookie year).

“Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry used to say that a quarterback didn’t hit his prime until he’d been in the league 10 years,” wrote Harrison. “Considering Palmer is entering his ninth season (“retirement” pending), Romo his ninth, and Flacco his fourth, each seems to be well ahead of the curve.”

Quick Hits

  • Attorneys for NFL players sat down Tuesday with the federal magistrate who will oversee court-ordered mediation with the league later this week. [Associated Press]


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