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Late For Work 4/13: 2008 Draft Do-Over Sends Flacco, Rice To …

Ravens’ rating of draft bust Russell, 2012 draft scenarios, no Wallace-like drama with Webb.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Friday, April 13th, 2012 at 9:04 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

2008 Draft Do-Over Sends Flacco, Rice To …

With the No. 5 pick in 2008 draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Joe Flacco, quarterback, Delaware.

And with the No. 10 pick, the New England Patriots select Ray Rice, running back, Rutgers.

With the benefit of hindsight, that’s how NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison believes the 2008 draft should have gone down.

Fortunately General Manager Ozzie Newsome didn’t need a draft “do-over” to nab the future foundation of his offense. Four years later, Flacco and Rice never would have made it close to the Ravens’ Nos. 18 and 55 picks, jumping up 13 and a whopping 45 spots, respectively.

The Chiefs’ actual choice with the fifth-overall pick in 2008 was Louisiana State defensive end Glenn Dorsey.

But knowing now that the team has struggled at quarterback all these years since and Flacco has notched more wins in his first four seasons (49) than any other quarterback in NFL history, Harrison sees what could have been for the Chiefs:

“Kansas City drafts Flacco here, and they don’t have to sign the inconsistent and injured-too-often Matt Cassel to a six-year, $63 million dollar deal,” wrote Harrison. “They also don’t lose to Flacco in the 2010 wild-card game. Quarterback has been an issue for this franchise since Trent Green went down to concussions. Flacco’s presence provides some stability.”

Meanwhile, the Patriots’ actual choice with the 10th-overall pick was Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Tom Brady and his one-dimensional offense sure could have used Rice to bring a balanced attack to New England and keep defenders honest. Rice led the NFL last season in total yards from scrimmage (2,068). The Pats have twice been Super Bowl losers since he was drafted.

“If there was one thing the Patriots needed after their Super Bowl season of 2007, it was a lead back,” wrote Harrison. “The Giants pass rush barely had to pause on their way to Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLII. Rice’s addition changes that, giving the Pats a certifiable force in both the ground and air game. Rice (2,068 total yards) outgained all of New England’s backs combined (1,936) in 2011.”

Below are the first 10 picks in Harrison’s 2008 draft do-over. (You can also checkout this NFL Network video with Bucky Brooks’ 2008 draft do-over. He doesn’t even have Flacco in the top 10, which is surprising after knowing his accomplishments four years later.)

1. Miami Dolphins
Actual pick: Jake Long
Do-over pick: Jake Long

2. St. Louis Rams
Actual pick: Chris Long
Do-over pick: Jordy Nelson

3. Atlanta Falcons
Actual pick: Matt Ryan
Do-over pick: Matt Ryan

4. Oakland Raiders
Actual pick: Darren McFadden
Do-over pick: Jerod Mayo

5. Kansas City Chiefs
Actual pick: Glenn Dorsey
Do-over pick: Joe Flacco

6. New York Jets
Actual pick: Vernon Gholston
Do-over pick: Chris Long

7. New Orleans Saints
Actual pick: Sedrick Ellis
Do-over pick: Brandon Flowers

8. Jacksonville Jaguars
Actual pick: Derrick Harvey
Do-over pick: Cliff Avril

9. Cincinnati Bengals
Actual pick: Keith Rivers
Do-over pick: Chris Johnson

10. New England Patriots
Actual pick: Jerod Mayo
Do-over pick: Ray Rice

Ravens’ Rating Of Draft Bust Russell

Good thing the Ravens were searching for their franchise quarterback in 2008 and not 2007.

In 2007, they were coming off a 13-3 season, led by quarterback Steve McNair, and owned the 29th selection, long before one of the biggest draft busts of all time was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the first-overall pick.

Brian Billick recently said he had never seen the Ravens give a higher draft grade to a prospect in his nine years as the head coach than the one they gave quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

“We did a pretty decent job, and obviously they continue to do a phenomenal job in Baltimore, with Ozzie Newsome and his group,” Billick said on ESPN radio. “JaMarcus Russell was the highest-rated player I’ve ever seen on any of our boards.

“So we all missed on JaMarcus Russell. Make no mistake.”

The Raiders signed the rookie to a reported six-year, $61 million deal, but he only survived three NFL seasons. From 2007 to 2009, Russell threw for 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, notching a career passer rating of 65.2.  

Russell developed a reputation for being lazy, which may have been linked to sleep apnea, and was often times criticized for letting his weight balloon. He was arrested in July 2010 for possession of codeine.

Would the Ravens have actually taken Russell if they had the chance?

“The reality is the Ravens knew they weren’t going to draft Russell: Baltimore went 13-3 the year before and had the 29th pick in the draft, and they were gearing up for another playoff run with quarterback Steve McNair while still hoping McNair’s young backup, Kyle Boller, would develop into a quality NFL starter some day,” wrote PFT.com’s Michael David Smith.

“The Ravens probably gave that high grade to Russell without digging too deep because they knew he wouldn’t be coming to Baltimore.”

In the end, Baltimore drafted three Pro Bowlers: guards Ben Grubbs (first round) and Marshal Yanda (third round) and fullback Le’Ron McClain (fourth round).

2012 Ravens Draft Scenarios

When you’re picking at the bottom of the first round, you have to be ready for anything.

Outside of a trade, the Ravens have no control over what will happen with the 28 picks ahead of them.

So instead of making one prediction for the 29th pick, ESPN’s Todd McShay forecasts five different moves the Ravens could make based on five different scenarios.

His first thought about what Newsome and Co. will do? Trade.

McShay’s five Ravens scenarios:

Scenario 1: The Ravens would likely prefer to trade up or back to get better value. In this class moving back five or six spots and adding an extra pick is the better option because the board is thin at their need positions at this point and the Ravens have not historically been a team that reaches for players.

Scenario 2: [Notre Dame safety Harrison] Smith has the skill to contribute right away, and he would provide a backup plan in the event Ed Reed’s durability issues surface again.

Scenario 3: Guard is a need area, and Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler fits the Ravens’ tough attitude. Northwestern State’s Amini Silatolu is a more talented player, but there are questions about his ability to absorb an NFL system and play immediately.

Scenario 4: Add help at linebacker. There is no inside linebacker worth this pick, but [Boise State defensive end Shea] McClellin is the kind of versatile front-seven defender Baltimore can’t get enough of.

Scenario 5: Left tackle is also a need, and [Ohio State tackle Mike] Adams has the tools to come off the board in this range, but he might not have the grind-it-out-mentality the Ravens look for.

Quick Hits

  • Reading about the Mike Wallace drama makes the Ravens’ signing of restricted free agent Lardarius Webb feel even more valuable … “It isn’t by coincidence that the news was leaked that Wallace doesn’t plan to sign his restricted free agent tender by the April 20 deadline only weeks before the draft, it is strategy,” writes Mark Kaboly. The Pittsburgh journalist says that while teams aren’t willing to pay the price of a first-round tender for Wallace, there are a “handful” of teams that are willing to make a trade leading up to the draft. [The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review] 
  • Joe Vitt, former Towson University linebacker and Baltimore Colts strength coach, has officially been named the New Orleans Saints interim head coach as Sean Payton serves his suspension for his role in the “Bountygate” scandal. [NewOrleansSaints.com]
  • Signs point to an April 17 release of the full NFL schedule. Check out Ryan and Garrett’s mock schedule. [Profootballtalk.com/BaltimoreRavens.com]
  • ProFootballTalk: Bryant McKinnie owes $4.3 million after taking out lockout loan [Twitter]
  • The pass-happy era in the NFL is hitting running backs, including Rice, and linebackers where it hurts. [NFL.com]
  • Oregon State defensive back Brandon Hardin, regarded as a rising draft prospect, visited the Ravens and five other teams. He will visit a total of 15. [scout.com]

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