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Assessing the Ravens' 2012 rookie class
From Justin Tucker's booming kicks to Courtney Upshaw's sound tackling to Kelechi Osemele's powerful blocks, the Ravens have received key contributions from their 11-player rookie class.
Upshaw and Osemele quickly joined the starting lineup and Tucker has gotten off on the right foot, too. But many of their rookies are patiently waiting for opportunities to prove themselves. Still, seven games into their first NFL season, they've done enough to impress their coach.
"We have a good rookie class, don't we?" John Harbaugh said. "I mean, it's a good group."
Outside the Under Armour Performance Center, though, the class has garnered mixed reviews.
"I would say it's not a tremendous draft class," said ESPN's Matt Williamson, a former NFL scout. "I don't think they're making a massive impact. They obviously pick late in the first round so they're not going to land an Andrew Luck or a Trent Richardson or someone like that."
But Russ Lande, Scouting Director for National Football Post, believes Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and assistant G.M. Eric DeCosta are still among the best in the business at finding hidden gems.
"I just like the fact that they are willing to take gambles on kids in the draft or as free agents that had off-the-field issues or injury problems or maybe have been dominant players at smaller schools," Lande said. "I just think that Baltimore does a great job."
We won't truly know the quality of this class until a couple of years down the road, but let's take a look at the contributions they got from their rookies in the season's first half and what we can expect from them down the stretch as the Ravens make another push for the playoffs.
Matt Vensel | mvensel@baltsun | twitter.com/mattvensel
October 29, 2012