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Ravens 2009 Draft Gets an Interesting Grade from ESPN

Would you give the 2009 Class a C+?

The 2009 NFL Draft netted the Ravens a starting offensive tackle and the best cornerback in the draft.

The Ravens took Michael Oher in the first round and Lardarius Webb in the third, but even those selections weren’t enough to earn the Ravens a favorable grade from ESPN’s Jamison Hensely.

The AFC North blogger gave Baltimore a C+ for the 2009 draft, saying that they fell short with every pick outside of Webb.

Here’s a look at the Ravens 2009 draft class:

First round: Michael Oher, OT

Second round: Paul Kruger, OLB

Third Round: Lardarius Webb, CB

Fifth round: Jason Phillips, LB and Davon Drew, TE

Sixth round: Cedric Peerman, RB

The Ravens biggest miss in Hensley’s mind was the 2nd round pick of Kruger who showed signs of productivity in 2011 in a part-time role. As Kruger enters his fourth season, the team will rely much more heavily on his skills with the departure of Jarret Johnson and he’ll become a full-time starter for the first time in his career.

The other pick that Hensley points to was Oher.

“He can be viewed as a disappointment,” Hensley wrote. “The Ravens traded a fifth-round pick to move three spots up to get Oher at No. 23, and teams do that with the expectation of getting a left tackle.”

In Oher’s defense he’s been a consistent starter on both the Right and Left side during his first three seasons in the league. I’d agree that the expectations haven’t matched the production but I wonder if the expectations were fair to begin with. Certainly you expect to get a productive starter at the very least out of your First Round pick and so far Oher has been that. Not to say that he hasn’t had growing pains along the way and has struggled with penalties at times in his career.

The Ravens front office had Oher rated highly coming into the 2009 draft and were surprised when he slipped out of the Top Fifteen. Just because Oher was coveted by Newsome and company doesn’t mean that he was a can’t miss player. Oher was described by most as a potential “Boom or Bust” player who had great potential but needed to put the work in to become a more refined player.

As we know, Hensley covered the Ravens exclusively for years and now that he moved to a national publication I see him overcompensating at times with his evaluations of the Ravens. Not that I don’t think that his debate doesn’t have some merit and both players that he brought up have been the subject of criticism before. I think that this grade might have to be revised after this season.

At least, let’s hope so.

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