Ravens want more impact from 2013 draft class

Ravens want more impact from 2013 draft class
January 11, 2014, 9:00 am
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Ravens in the market for a WR

The Ravens need improvement from their 2013 draft class, even if they have a strong draft in May. Only one rookie started for the Ravens last season, safety Matt Elam. The other rookie who had the biggest impact was undrafted receiver Marlon Brown, who led the team with seven touchdown receptions.

When Mel Kiper of ESPN announced his all-rookie team earlier this week, nobody from the Ravens made it. In fact, no Ravens ranked among Kiper’s top 30 rookies. Two players from the AFC North made Kiper’s all-rookie team, running back Gionvani Bernard of the Bengals, and linebacker Barkevious Mingo of the Browns. Running back Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers ranked as Kiper’s 23rd best rookie.

The Ravens need a handful of last year’s rookies to work hard this offseason, and return for training camp ready to make a major jump.

“The biggest improvement usually is between the first and second year,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

[RELATED: Newsome hopes to upgrade offensive line]

The second-year players the Ravens are expecting more from include:

-- Arthur Brown, LB – He played primarily on passing downs, but he needs to get stronger defending the run to become an every-down player.

-- Ryan Jensen – C – A broken foot prevented Jensen from challenging for a starting job last season. Even if he does not start, the Ravens hope Jensen improves their offensive line depth.

-- Kyle Juszczyk, FB – The Ravens believe he can help their running game if he improves his blocking. He has the versatility to line up in multiple formations, and his reliable hands could make him a threat in the passing game.

-- Aaron Mellette, WR – Suffered a season-ending knee injury, but he will have a chance to compete for playing time at wide receiver.

-- Brandon Williams, DT – Talented, but he has to get stronger to be an impact player. Needs to spend plenty of offseason time in the weight room.

The Ravens feel confident that Elam and Marlon Brown will continue to make strides. But for the rest of the 2013 class, the jury is still out.