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Ravens Like Starting 1st Rounders Early

Since 2001, seven of the Ravens’ 10 first-round draftees started in Week 1. 

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Ravens first-round draft pick Jimmy Smith starts on opening day, considering Baltimore’s history of getting their top selections on the field quickly.
 
Since 2001, the Ravens have had 10 first-round draftees, and seven of them started in Week 1. 
 
The ones that didn’t? 
 
That would be linebacker Terrell Suggs (Week 17 in 2002), wideout Mark Clayton (Week 4, 2005) and guard Ben Grubbs (Week 5, 2007) – each of whom soon became key contributors to the Ravens.
 
Right after he was drafted, Smith said he isn’t putting too much of a premium on starting immediately.
 
“I don’t expect anything. I just expect to go out there and do everything that they want me to do,” Smith said when asked about starting in the season opener.  “If they need me to start, then I’m going to start. If they need me to play special teams, then I’m going to play special teams. Whatever they need, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
 
Depending on whether the Ravens re-sign any one of three free-agent cornerbacks in Fabian Washington, Chris Carr and Josh Wilson – all of whom have extensive starting experience, there would be less urgency in getting Smith on the field early after a locked out offseason.  
 
The Ravens currently have Domonique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb, who could both be out there if Smith isn’t completely caught up.
 
The last first-round cornerback the Ravens drafted was Chris McAlister in 1999, and while he did play in the opener that year, he didn’t become a full-time starter until Week 5.
 
Here is a list of the Ravens’ past 10 first-rounders and when they matriculated into the starting lineup:
 

Year

Player

1st Start

2011

Jimmy Smith

??

2009

Michael Oher

Week 1

2008

Joe Flacco

Week 1

2007

Ben Grubbs

Week 5

2006

Haloti Ngata

Week 1

2005

Mark Clayton

Week 4

2003a

Terrell Suggs

Week 17

2003b

Kyle Boller

Week 1

2002

Ed Reed

Week 1

2001

Todd Heap

Week 1

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