The Baltimore Ravens came into the 2017 draft with one thing on their mind. Defense. The team sought out to make sure that the season-ending loss due to defensive failure would not occur again.
But the Ravens priority was their ultimate downfall, as history would repeat itself ending the Ravens season on a horrific 4th & 12 play. Despite this, the Ravens still had promising showings from certain defensive rookies while others I would prefer not to mention. So, here is how each defensive rookie performed and their first season grade.
CB Marlon Humphrey, Round 1 Pick 16
Many Ravens fans were puzzled and even angered by the Ravens pick of Marlon Humphrey in the first round. Some thought the Ravens didn’t need a corner, while others were led to believe that he would be a draft bust.
But, this was very far from the truth. Humphrey played extremely well filling in for Jimmy Smith in the last fours games of the season. The first round pick even had to take on the likes of Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon, T.Y Hilton, and A.J Green but held his ground.
Humphrey played so well, that Pro Football Focus ranked him fifth in “Passer Rating in Coverage” and “Lowest Catch Percentage Allowed”!
William Jackson allowed less than 35% of targets his way to be caught this season pic.twitter.com/wQSfmBcis5
— PFF (@PFF) January 1, 2018
The CBs that allowed the lowest passer rating in their coverage this season pic.twitter.com/BIY6TYAvMm
— PFF (@PFF) January 1, 2018
Without a doubt, Humphrey was a bright light for the Ravens who missed the playoffs for the third straight year. Considering Jimmy Smith’s long injury history Humphrey could end up being a Ravens legend when his career is all said and done.
OLB Tyus Bowser, Round 2 Pick 47
Tyus Bowser was drafted in the second round with high potential to be Terrell Suggs replacement or even give Matthew Judon a run for his money over the starting spot.
Bowser’s bad grade is more connected with lack of opportunities, only seeing 14.73 percent of defensive snaps while making more of a splash on special teams. Even with the low snap count, Bowser mustered three sacks and an interception.
Bowser had a bad year but things should pick up when Terrell Suggs leaves the team or when the Ravens find a way to give him more snaps.
DE Chris Wormley, Round 3 Pick 74
Wormley’s season can be wrapped up by saying “disappointing”. The third-round pick was also bitten by the low snap-count bug only getting 120 defensive snaps.
Wormley was out-performed by other defensive linemen on the Ravens and in the end, could only wrack up five tackles through two starts. A very poor season for a player who many labeled a “breakout star” waiting to happen at the beginning of the season.
OLB Tim Williams, Round 3 Pick 78
Williams was taken out of Alabama with some promise but struggled to get something going. Williams also struggled with snap counts as he was buried on a team with tons of depth on the defensive side of the ball.
But, in his limited time, Williams only got a pitiful six tackles in eight games. Hopefully next year Williams will get more time and have more success.
FS Chuck Clark, Round 6 Pick 186
Clark was a great example of Ozzie Newsome’s ability to find talent in late rounds. Despite being just a sixth-round draft pick and a backup to Eric Weddle he was able to make subtle contributions, especially on special teams.
Clark got eight tackles and played well in zone coverage many times in his unique hybrid safety spot.
A sixth-round draft picks shelf life isn’t necessarily long but if Clark plays well next year he could potentially fill in for an aging Eric Weddle.