Biggest Question Surrounding Each Pick

Here’s what to watch for as the Ravens’ 2011 Draft Class begins its transition to the pros.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Categories: 2011 NFL Draft, Mike Duffy

Now that the Ravens’ 2011 NFL Draft is over, what are the biggest questions surrounding each of their eight draft picks?

  1. Can cornerback Jimmy Smith walk a straight line?
    The Ravens’ first-round draft pick comes with some character concerns, but the Ravens have done an extensive amount of homework on their top-15 talent.Smith readily admits to his mistakes, but he still had to show the Ravens throughout the evaluation process that he was mature and those transgressions were in his past. 

    At the end of the day, it is up to Smith whether he can stay out of trouble. Having examples to follow like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will help, but Smith has to do it on his own.  The signs currently point to success.

    “Most of the mistakes I made, or the bad decisions I made were when I was 18, 19 years old, so they were more like a maturity thing,” Smith said Sunday.  “I can tell them everything in the world, but if I didn’t have my coaching staff backing me or people that they talked to that I don’t even know they talked to, if those people said bad things then I wouldn’t be here right now.”

  2. Can receiver Torrey Smith adjust to the pro game?
    The Ravens haven’t had much success drafting wideouts, but Smith has a great chance of changing that track record.Smith is the burner that could bolster the Ravens’ passing game by threatening defenses over the top.  A productive career in Maryland’s pro-style offense and a pristine character record suggest that he will succeed at the next level.

    “I had the opportunity to learn the pro-style offense from when I stepped on campus that summer to that fall and then [former Maryland Offensive Coordinator] James Franklin came in my first spring, and I learned the West Coast offense, and I was able to learn both all the way through,” Smith said.  “There are things I kind of laugh at that I didn’t get at that point when I was a freshman, but being that I matured and learned so much, and I understand concepts in the game of football itself. 

    “So, I think transitioning to the league as far as understanding the offense and things like that, I don’t think that will be too big of an issue for me.”

  3. Can offensive tackle Jah Reid really start in 2011?
    Perhaps by the end of the year, third-round draft pick Jah Reid will be starting for the Ravens at right tackle, but he’ll have to prove a lot this offseason – whenever it begins – to make the jump from Central Florida to the pros.Still, Reid is huge (6-foot-7, 330 pounds) and has great length and athleticism. 

    Projecting to the right side of the line, Reid will get a shot because the Ravens want to move Marshal Yanda back to his more-suitable guard position.

    “He’ll be competing for the right tackle spot right out of the gate and we’ll see where it goes,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s young, he’s a little bit developmental, but I think he’s going to develop fast.”

  4. Can receiver Tandon Doss stay healthy?
    Doss is only a few months removed from surgery on both of his groins, procedures that prohibited him from competing in All Star games, the NFL Scouting Combine and Indiana’s pro day. Even at his own individual workout, Doss was hampered by the injury and ran a slow 40-yard dash.

    But, the Ravens wouldn’t have drafted him if his medicals didn’t check out, for one, and secondly, the fact that Doss played the entire 2010 season with the injuries is a positive sign.

    “He played all year with two sports hernias. Both of them were torn off the bone, and he played well with them,” said Harbaugh. “I’m guessing that he’s faster than what he ran, because he’s coming off that [injury].”

  5. Can Chykie Brown make it as a corner?
    The University of Texas product is big – 5-foot-11, 191 pounds – and shows some special teams potential, but he only notched two interceptions in college and was shuffled between safety and corner.The Ravens will put him on special teams immediately, but they believe he’s got a good chance to contribute to the secondary at some point.

    “It’s hard to find big corners,” said Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta.  “We’ve been trying to do that for about five years now. He’s a big guy who can run. Unlike a lot of corners, his arms are over 33 inches. He can press, which was attractive to us. [He’s] an explosive guy; jumps – well. We think he’s a guy that can get better.”

  6. Will defensive end Pernell McPhee contribute to the pass rush?
    McPhee is known for his run-stopping ability and not his pass rush, even though he logged 33 sacks in two years at a junior college.Still, the Ravens should be able to coax some pass rush out of the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder. McPhee only played one year of high school football and is still very raw with only two years at a major college program.

    Depending on how hard McPhee works, professional coaching could mold him into a pass-rushing threat.

  7. Is Tyrod Taylor a true quarterback?
    Known as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, the athletic Taylor took full advantage of his running ability at Virginia Tech. Wanting to overcome his stigma as a runner, Taylor showcased his passing acumen in 2010.The Ravens evaluated Taylor as a quarterback, and that’s the spot they envision him at on their roster.

    “We feel like he has the skill sets to play [quarterback] and he also brings the added dimension of being a terrific athlete that can – as we see so much now – get out of the pocket and hurt people,” said Newsome.”                     

  8. How will running back Anthony Allen adjust to life without the triple option offense?
    Allen was prolific at Georgia Tech, but it’s uncertain whether his numbers were padded by the Yellowjackets’ misdirection offense.The Ravens believe his burly 222-pound frame can provide a nice change of pace to the diminutive Ray Rice, and Allen was second in the ACC with over 1,300 rushing yards.  That can’t all be because of a scheme.

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