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Baltimore Ravens Draft Report Card

By Chris Catania, NFL Correspondent

(Sports Network) - Every draft leaves questions. How did the Cardinals pass on a guy -- Terrell Suggs -- who had more sacks last year than their entire team? Did the Ravens pay too much for Kyle Boller? Some questions are easy to answer. They are the lowly Cardinals, and the Ravens happened to benefit from Arizona's poor management. Choosing Suggs with the 10th overall pick makes this draft a winner for Ozzie Newsome. Heíll be moved to OLB and told to get after the QB. In Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, and LB coach Mike Singletary, heíll have great teachers to help him make the position change. Those three, combined with last yearís outstanding first-round safety Ed Reed, DE Adalius Thomas and CB Chris McAlister, give the Ravens plenty of big playmakers on defense. The answer to the Boller question might have to wait a few years to see just how good he is. Is Brian Billick an offensive mastermind or just offensive? Billick earned his guru rep calling plays for the 1998 Vikings team that set an NFL record for points. In Baltimore, though, he has gone through eight starting quarterbacks in four years and jettisoned Trent Dilfer -- the only QB to win for him in Baltimore. Granted, Bill Walsh would have had a difficult time installing a high-scoring offense with some of the QBs Billick has had to work with (see Tony Banks, Stoney Case and Scott Mitchell). However, Billick now has a talented player in Boller who could be a big-time QB. The Ravens got a QB they liked very much and now Billick and QB coach Matt Cavanaugh will have to show it was worth their second-rounder this year (41st overall) and next yearís first-rounder. The offense gets a boost with the addition of RB Musa Smith, who is a powerful runner with good speed. He fills a big need if he can back up Jamal Lewis. Baltimore got a big OT in Tony Pashos, who played well against strong competition in the Big Ten. Coupled with the signing of Orlando Brown the OL is bigger and deeper this year. The Ravens, however, failed to address the need at WR. Free-agent signee Frank Sanders has 24 TDs in his eight-year career and Travis Taylor hasnít come close to meeting expectations as a former top-10 draft pick. TE Todd Heap remains the club's best target and Trent Smith has a chance to make the team as his backup. The improved defense and a soft schedule after opening versus Pittsburgh (Ravens play nine straight versus non-playoff teams) give the Ravens a shot at .500. The problems on offense, though, could leave Baltimore without a potential top-10 draft pick next year. Unless Boller is the team's future star QB, New England will have won out by getting Baltimore's '04 first-rounder.

2003 Draft Picks: (1st Round-10th overall) DE-Terrell Suggs, Arizona State; (1-19) QB-Kyle Boller, California; (3-77) RB-Musa Smith, Georgia; (4-109) DT- Jarret Johnson, Alabama; (4-134) FB-Ovie Mughelli, Wake Forest; (5-146) DT- Aubreyo Franklin, Tennessee; (173) OT-Tony Pashos, Illinois; (6-182) S-Gerome Sapp, Notre Dame; (7-223) TE-Trent Smith, Oklahoma; (7-250) C-Mike Mabry, Central Florida; (7-258) S-Antwoine Sanders, Utah.

Overall Draft Grade: A

04/29 17:38:17 ET


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