Three and Out

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Three years. What is the amount of time given to determine whether a player in the NFL will make it? Not sure why this one starts out like Jeopardy but sometimes these things just happen.

Kyle Boller learned the hard way, like the salary cap and pie, three is a hard number.
His time in the limelight has ended with the Ravens, what about the next crop staring at the number three?

The Ravens draft class of 2004 has one more season to sink or swim, and judging by production thus far, they can’t find their floatees.

Seven players drafted, none in the first round, and so far none topping the depth chart at their position. Oddly, Baltimore seemed to draft better as the event went on. The Ravens first pick, 51st overall in the 2nd round, was Dwan Edwards. The defensive tackle from Oregon State has spent most of his career inactive. 17 career tackles, no sacks, and his lack of emergence caused the Ravens to draft a defensive tackle and sign another in the off-season. He may not get the chance to swim.

In round three Baltimore selected wide receiver Devard Darling. He offers a similar professional resume to Edwards. Inactive or injured for 19 of 32 games, two catches for five yards in the 13 in which he suited up. Darling though will get a shot to hang around this season. The Ravens need a number three receiver and Darling will compete with Demetrius Williams, and Clarence Moore (see later in column on Moore) for the job. Williams, a rookie from Oregon shows the most promise but then again, they said the same thing about Darling two years ago.

Nothing in the fourth round, then in the fifth linebacker Roderick Green. A solid special teams player is Green and a decent fill in but the biggest play so far of his career is outrunning some psycho at a bowling alley and fortunately sustaining just minor knife wound injuries.

A pair of picks in the 6th round for Baltimore. Quarterback Josh Harris, who never dressed and is no longer on a league roster, and wide receiver Clarence Moore. Moore showed signs he might turn into something special, then didn’t. Short arming balls over the middle and cringing are acts that fail to inspire in pee-wee, much less at M&T Bank Stadium. His work ethic and dedication have also come into question.

In the 7th round, also 2 selections for Baltimore. Kick return specialist Derek Abney never stayed healthy and like Josh Green has no home right now in the league. Then with the 246th overall the Ravens grabbed who, to date, has played the most. 15 games played with seven starts (all coming last season) and the possibility of taking over at right guard on a permanent basis. Any significant contribution from a player past round five earns high praise and Rimpf fits perfectly because he has some talent and a cap equal to what Steve Bisciotti might tip a caddy.

But there you go; arguably the best pick for the Ravens was originally an afterthought. For a team so astute at making the most of high draft picks (the first two in franchise history will be hall of famers and that alone gives them a free pass for a decade) and finding hidden gems late, the 2004 draft is a flat out miss. But most of the picks remain with the team, still with a chance to prove worthy. In six months though, when that nasty deadline of three years arrives, much of this anonymous class may find the fate of Kyle Boller seems not so bad. He still has a job.

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