Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Post-Combine, Post-Boldin Mock Drafts: Gresham is the Word

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With the Ravens having largely addressed their wide receiver issues over the last week by trading for Anquan Boldin and resigning Derrick Mason, the next look at the experts’ mock drafts promises to have a fully different feel than last time, when just about everyone had the Ravens going WR at pick #25.

All of the following mock drafts were published since the Boldin trade.

Walterfootball.com

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

Gresham

Todd Heap had four touchdowns in a two-game span toward the end of the season, but I wouldn’t rely on him going forward. Who knows when he’ll break down again?

Jermaine Gresham is one of the top players on the board and fills a big need for Baltimore. The Ravens really have to concentrate on finding weapons for Joe Flacco, so wide receiver is an option as well.

My take:

Wait for it….

NewNFLdraft.com

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

I previously had Aaron Hernandez going here in this 2010 NFL Mock Draft. After watching Gresham run well and workout well and the combine I think he takes over the top TE slot in the draft again. Look for him to stretch the field well and be an above average blocker for a Tight End.

My take:

…wait for it…

ESPN’s Mel Kiper (subscription required)

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

The Ravens aren’t finished in their mission to find weapons for Joe Flacco. Gresham is the best pure tight end in the draft and answered physical questions in Indy. The heir to Todd Heap is the perfect weapon for a young passer.

My take:

…wait for it…

ESPN’s Todd McShay (subscription required)

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma

Baltimore addressed its wide receiver need by trading for Anquan Boldin and signing unrestricted free agent Donte’ Stallworth. Gresham is the best pass-catching tight end on the board and would be a great addition to an already upgraded receiving corps.

My take:

Phew. So that’s 4/4 of the updated mock drafts surveyed, including the two ESPN “super” experts (who can never seem agree on anything, for ratings sake if nothing else) that have the Ravens going with the 6’5″, 261 lb Gresham. Scouts, Inc. describes Gresham as having exceptional production and ball skills, but just average competitiveness/toughness. There are also durability issues – Gresham played in all 42 games through his first three seasons at OU, but missed the entire 2009 season due to a knee injury suffered in summer practice.

Despite the knee injury that canceled his senior campaign, Gresham is still listed as the top TE on just about every board out there. His combine results were as follows:

Bench Press: 20 Reps (Tied for 8th among TEs)

Vertical Jump: 35 (5th)

Broad Jump: 9’5″ (T-5th)

3-Cone Drill: 7.07 (5th)

60-Yard Shuttle: 11.88 (4th)

40-Yard Dash: 4.73 (Outside Top 5)

Gresham obviously did not blow anyone away at the combine. NFLSoup.com had this to say, following his sub-par performance:

After undergoing season-ending surgery at the start of the ‘09 season, Gresham had questions and concerns surrounding his ability to still play ball. Many still consider him a top contender, but a slow 40-yard and marginal numbers in other categories didn’t look like the Gresham everyone expected.

With more publicity comes more expectations, and Gresham just didn’t meet them at the Combine. He finished near the bottom of every category and will need to put up a good showing at his Pro Day if he expects to keep his position as the top tight end in his class.

However, at OU’s Pro Day, which was earlier this week, Gresham impressed, according to CBSSports:

Tight end Jermaine Gresham drew plenty of eyes. He hasn’t been on the field in this capacity since September, when he underwent knee surgery. Offensive tackle Trent Williams also is projected to be drafted in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.

Gresham measured at 6-5 3/8 and 259 pounds. He appeared completely recovered from knee surgery performed last September but declined to be interviewed, saying only “I’m getting better and better every day.”

Given that Ozzie Newsome admitted to us last week that he focused too much on “measurables” when passing over Anquan Boldin in 2003, I get the feeling that he will make no such mistake by focusing on Gresham’s combine results when making a decision this April. If anyone knows tight end talent, it’s Ozzie. If he feels that Gresham is indeed fully recovered from his knee issues, and can be the kind of NFL playmaker that he was for three years in college, the Wizard of Oz will not hesitate to pull the trigger on Draft day.

From a fan’s standpoint, the prospect of an offense that features Joe Flacco faking to Ray Rice and then looking downfield to Derrick Mason, Jermaine Gresham, and Anquan Boldin is the stuff of purple dreams. If that situation materializes, the “sea change” will be pretty much complete in B’More. It will be Flacco’s team at that point, and one that will have no more excuses to not consistently strike fear in opposing defenses.

Of course, just because everyone is predicting it, by no means makes it a foregone conclusion. Gresham could very well fly off the board before the Ravens get a shot at him. Alternatively, like last year when all the experts had the Ravens going WR, they could again surprise everyone and take an Earl Thomas (S, Texas) or Terrance Cody (DT, Alabama).

Gresham in purple is a tantalizing prospect though. We Ravens fans should be eager to stand and applaud if we hear his name at 25 on April 22. Let’s watch some “Gresham porn” just to hammer that point home a little more:

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  1. [...] means it’s time for the Nest’s final mock draft round-up. (Find our previous round-ups here, here, and [...]



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