In the National Football League, priority number one is making sure that you can win your division, because you play those three teams twice a year, making up over a third of your schedule, and there’s no better route to the postseason than winning more games than your rivals.
While there are many facets to building a football team, there is none more significant than talent acquisition, and the NFL Draft is the biggest arms race there is in terms of constructing a roster.
With the 2015 NFL Draft now passed, it’s time to take a look at the AFC North and see how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ division rivals fared, starting with the Baltimore Ravens.
Round 1, Pick 26 (26): WR Breshad Perriman
So much for all the babble from the Ravens that they didn’t need any wide receivers. At least the Steelers didn’t pretend that they weren’t looking for cornerbacks. Nevertheless, Baltimore managed to replace Torrey Smith with a comparable player who has a higher ceiling, but with perhaps even more issues with drops. Still, he should be an immediate contributor with Joe Flacco’s arm and the Ravens’ love of the vertical game.
Round 2, Pick 23 (55): TE Maxx Williams
The Steelers, liked the Ravens, targeted a player in round two, but Pittsburgh didn’t have to trade up to get their guy. Baltimore moved up three spots to take Maxx Williams, who also figures to be an immediate contributor as a receiving tight end who could grow into a blocker.
Round 3, Pick 26 (90): DT Carl Davis
After dealing Haloti Ngata, the Ravens couldn’t pass up the value of Carl Davis late in the third to add to the promising young interior defensive line rotation. Baltimore is never afraid of investing in the front seven.
Round 4, Pick 23 (122): DE/OLB Za’Darius Smith
Za’Darius Smith is listed as a multi-positional player because he is seen as the replacement for Pernell McPhee, and the Ravens like to vary their front looks. But like McPhee, he will take time to develop.
Round 4, Pick 26 (125): RB Buck Allen
The Ravens had no meaningful depth after Justin Forsett at running back. Buck Allen is tailor-made for a backup role, as he has the ability to do everything, but lacks the vision and intangibles to be ‘the’ guy.
Round 4, Pick 37 (136): CB Tray Walker
An interesting prospect here in Tray Walker, who has great height but a slender frame. Average speed and is raw, but has the tools to be worked on as a project. Not sure about the value at this spot, but the Ravens hope they won’t need him immediately.
Round 5, Pick 35 (171): TE Nick Boyle
Nick Boyle long-term figures to be a complementary, primarily blocking tight end whose upside can be drawn out by solid coaching at the professional level, which he appears to need. And there’s nothing wrong with that; after all, that’s why they pay coaches.
Round 5, Pick 40 (176): OG Robert Myers
The Ravens seemed to like Robert Myers more than most. He has good size and is a technician, however, so there is a lot to work with, and they only had one more pick after this if he was the guy they were targeting.
Round 6, Pick 28 (204): WR Darren Waller
The Ravens wrapped up their draft with another project, though at a need position with the enormous Darren Waller, a wide receiver who could be a tight end at 6’6”, 238 lbs. the size profile fits Marc Trestman’s offense. He has high- mid-round talent, but with a low floor, it’s no surprise he lasted this long. But again, with a quarterback who can deliver the ball, it may work out, and the Ravens could use immediate contributors at the position. Not as much of a run blocker as you would like though.