On Day 2, the Baltimore Ravens addressed their need at guard by selecting Georgia guard Ben Cleveland. Then, they made a surprising pick in SMU cornerback Brandon Stephens. Let’s take a quick look at how the media graded these picks.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com gave the Ravens an “A” for the second straight day. He called Cleveland “a great value”.
The Ravens gave up their second-round pick in the trade for Orlando Brown. Baltimore has yet to draft a right tackle to replace Brown, which might portend Tyre Phillips playing the position next season, as he did late last season. Cleveland is a great value in the third round (using one of the picks acquired in the Brown trade) as a typical Ravens mauler who has very good mobility for his size.
CBS Sports: B-, B+
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports gave the Cleveland pick a “B-”.
Mountain from Game of Thrones on a football field. Masher. Good hand work. Just stiff laterally. Very much a Ravens type pick
He actually rated the Stephens selection higher giving it a “B+” citing his athleticism and speed.
Athletic outside cornerback with big-time hops to challenge at the catch point on a route basis. A little raw with his mirroring but has the athletic traits and speed to develop into a quality corner.
Yahoo: C, C-
Yahoo’s Eric Edholm was lower on the Ravens’ Day 2 selections. The selection of Cleveland received a “C”. Edholm stated that Cleveland’s injury history might be a concern.
A massive-framed bar room bouncer with surprising athletic traits, Cleveland is headed to … well, Baltimore. Geographic confusion aside, he’s a brawny battler in the run game and a question mark as a pass blocker. A few teams we spoke with about Cleveland worried about his medical evaluation, with a slew of injuries in his past. But as a power-blocking guard, you can do a lot worse.
The selection of Stephens was given a “C-”, and he mentioned that Stephens could be better as a safety at the next level.
A converted running back at UCLA, Stephens moved to the defensive backfield at SMU and showed some intriguing ability after changing positions. He got his hands on some passes over the past two seasons and will make receivers remember him with his hard-tackling style. But Stephens might need to move to safety to unlock his best potential, likely as a box defender who can cover the slot and match tight ends and backs.
The Athletic: B, B-
The Athletic likes Cleveland’s fit in Baltimore’s run-first offense and gave the pick a “B”.
Cleveland (6-foot-6, 343) started 25 games at right guard for the Bulldogs and was a first-team All-SEC selection last year. He wasn’t going to be a fit for every NFL scheme but is a nice option for the Ravens’ run-heavy attack.
Finally, the Stephens pick received a “B-” grade.
Stephens (6 feet, 213 pounds) began his career as a running back at UCLA before transferring to SMU, where he played cornerback. Stephens produced 23 passes defended and an interception in 23 starts. He’ll be an interesting developmental prospect for the Ravens.