Enemy Intel: How'd the Ravens do in the draft?

Enemy Intel: How'd the Ravens do in the draft?

By Tom E. Curran

Always good. Never great. It's been more than a decade since the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. It's been their bad luck to be in a conference with the Steelers, Patriots and Colts because - if they were hanging in the NFC - there's little doubt they'd have gone to the final game more about three times since that 2000 emasculation of the Giants. But it's always something with Baltimore - usually, a lack of outside explosiveness on offense or a lack of consistency at corner. With three picks in 2011, they tried to address those spots. In the first round, the Ravens went after Colorado corner Jimmy Smith. He's only 6-2, 211 pounds and runs a 4.4. Smith is one of those players whose draft stock fell over character concerns. He had a positive drug test in 2007 and got pinched twice for being a minor in possession of alcohol while at Colorado. If that's the extent of his missteps, you'd have to figure his character isn't much of a concern. He may be as good a pure cover man as anyone in the draft. Next, they took Torrey Smith from Maryland. He's 6-1, 204 and is a flier. He's also got outstanding character and work ethic. The downside is that he's not a polished route-runner and receiver. And the downside to that is that - no matter how fast you are or how hard you work - if you're not where you're supposed to be ready to catch, you're not much help to your quarterback. Skipping over third round tackle Jah Reid from Central Florida (6-2, 327), let's look at Tandon Doss, a fourth-rounder who may be an absolute steal. He had sports hernia issues that required surgery and missed working at the Combine as a result. And he's not a burner. But he's 6-2, 200 and he has a knack for getting open and short-area quickness. One other really outstanding choice Baltimore made was Pernell McPhee from Mississippi State. A 6-3, 278-pound defensive end who has great pass-rush potential and could bulk up some and become a 3-4 defensive end on first and second-down for the Ravens. Another great character guy who works hard. SUMMARY: The Ravens have rolled together a string of really good drafts and this one could be one of their best. They were able to hit need areas and get great value at the spots as well - Jimmy Smith, Doss and McPhee being the prime examples of that.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: More of the same


Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/report: More of the same

Thursday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Zach Brown (illness)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
G Richie Incognito (illness)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)

T Seantreal Henderson (back)

LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)

Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

FOXBORO -- It's not often that NFL teams make deals before the trade deadline. Seeing starters get dealt before the deadline is a veritable rarity. It's no wonder linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who started in all seven Lions games this season, reacted the way he did when he was dealt to the Patriots earlier this week.

"I was shocked to go from starting there to traded," Van Noy said during his first back-and-forth with Patriots reporters. "I was shocked. I respect everybody with the Detroit Lions, they'll all be my guys there. Just grateful for the opportunity to come here and get it going."

Van Noy has been working closely with Patriots linebackers and linebackers coach Brian Flores since his arrival, even getting some last-minute notes from Flores before meeting with reporters and heading out to Thursday's practice. 

The 6-foot-3, 243-pounder wasn't completely unfamiliar with the operation in New England before being sent to Foxboro along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-rounder. He admitted he had "a lot" of contact with the Patriots before being taken in the second round by Detroit.  

Now he's playing "catch-up" to learn the Patriots playbook, which could include learning multiple positions within the team's defense. He played mostly as an off-the-line linebacker in Detroit, but when he entered into the league out of BYU, he was considered to have the tools to be a productive pass-rusher as a pro. 

Van Noy, who lost about 15 pounds going into this season, indicated that the Lions didn't get the most out of him because of how he was used. 

"I mean, they didn't know where to put me," he said. "Here, they want me here, and I'm happy to be wanted." 

Van Noy was injured for much of his rookie season and had a hard time making an impact last year. He was relied upon to fill a more substantial role this season, playing in 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps. It's unclear just how Van Noy will fit in as a member of the Patriots, but he says he's willing to do whatever it takes to work his way back up another depth chart.

"I'm here now, and I'm gonna do whatever they have me [do], and whatever they want my weight to be at," he said. "Whatever they want me to do I'm gonna do it because I want to win and be part of this team."