Baltimore Ravens’ 2012 NFL Draft Analysis

2nd Round (#35) OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

2nd Round (#60) OT Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State

3rd Round (#84) RB Bernard Pierce, Temple

4th Round (#98) G Gino Gradkowski, Delaware

4th Round (#130) FS Christian Thompson, South Carolina State

5th Round (#169) CB Asa Jackson, Cal-Poly

6th Round (#198) WR Tommy Streeter, Miami

7th Round (#236) DE Deangelo Tyson, Georgia

Analysis of Notable Selections:

Courtney Upshaw: The Ravens were able to add a 4th round draft choice by moving down six spots in a trade with Minnesota. Baltimore then selected Upshaw with the high 2nd round selection. Upshaw’s lack of top athleticism did cost him a 1st round selection. However, the former Alabama defender is tough, physical and should fit in well with Baltimore. The team has been searching for an outside linebacker who can rush the quarterback to pair with Terrell Suggs for some time. Jarret Johnson (a better run stuffer than pass rusher) signed with San Diego. Paul Kruger has been average and Sergio Kindle may never recover fully from a fractured skull sustained in 2010. Upshaw plays the run well and with experience can be a decent pass rusher as well. Baltimore had to have been pleased to add Courtney Upshaw to their defense in the 2nd round.

Kelechi Osemele: This is another excellent fit for the Ravens. Ben Grubbs left via free agency for the Saints. Baltimore wants to run the ball with their best offensive player, Ray Rice. Osemele does not have the quickness to play offensive tackle in the NFL. However, his tremendous size and power are what Baltimore is looking for in a guard. Osemele is no Ben Grubbs at this point. He has to improve his technique and play tougher. The Ravens add a guard with excellent potential, but it may take him some time to reach it.

Bernard Pierce: The retirement of Ricky Williams led the Ravens to find a complement to Ray Rice. Pierce is a good-sized back (6′ and 220 lbs) who can be a physical runner. His job will be to give Rice a breather. Pierce will have to improve his ball security and earn his coaches’ trust. Lamar Miller has a superior burst to Pierce, but Baltimore was looking for a bigger and more physical back. Robert Turbin has a similar skill-set to Pierce. Turbin catches the ball more naturally than Pierce does. The former Utah State back may have been the better selection and Baltimore would not have had to trade up to secure his drafting services services. Bernard Pierce was a decent selection, but time will tell whether he or Robert Turbin was the way to go.

2012 NFL Draft Grade: B

Bottom Line: The Ravens added two starters (Courtney Upshaw and Kelechi Osemele) in the near future. The rest of their draft consisted mostly of adding potential backups at running back, offensive line and the secondary. Gino Gradkowski is the most appealing of Baltimore’s 3rd day draft choices. The former Delaware offensive lineman played guard and center. His football IQ and dedication give him a chance to develop into a starting center down the road with a lot of work.