Courtney Upshaw

Draft Grades: Baltimore Ravens

Sometimes it feels like the Baltimore Ravens can do no wrong on draft day. Everything Ozzie Newsome touches turns to gold this time of year. How often does a team trade out of the 1st round and still end up with one of the players they were targeting?

The Ravens would have been happy to make Courtney Upshaw a 1st-rounder, but instead they move back and still snag him in the early 2nd round. The recent injury to Terrell Suggs now makes this one of the most important picks in the entire draft.

Kelechi Osemele played left tackle at Iowa State, but he’ll likely be given an opportunity to compete for the starting left guard position vacated by Ben Grubbs. He was a slight reach in the 2nd, but I can’t fault them too much for filling an immediate need.

Bernard Pierce is a great fit as a compliment to Ray Rice. He’ll probably never develop into a starter, but he can play the role of the short-yardage back in Baltimore.

Gino Gradkowski was a reach in the early 4th round. He rose up draft boards this offseason, but 98th overall was early for a developmental guard/center. That said, the Ravens are probably hoping to develop him behind Matt Birk.

I like the selection of Christian Thompson. He’s an intriguing developmental prospect and he landed in an ideal place to learn the game behind Ed Reed. He’ll play special teams early in his career, with the hope that he can grow into a starting role down the line.

Asa Jackson adds some depth to the secondary and could compete with Corey Graham and Cary Williams for some playing time.

I was not as high on Tommy Streeter as some, but was still surprised to see him on the board in the 6th round. He has all the measurables necessary to be a matchup nightmare, but never really put it all together at Miami. He’s a nice developmental prospect to have around.

DeAngelo Tyson is a nose tackle who will compete for playing time behind Terrence Cody. If he wins the backup job, he’ll see a fair amount of playing time due to Cody’s lack of stamina and inability to remain effective deep into games.

This was another strong draft for Ozzie Newsome, who consistently puts together some of the best draft classes. They may have landed two immediate starters (Upshaw and Osemele) and at least one other (Pierce) who will contribute immediately.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Ravens Leave a comment

Courtney Upshaw scouting report

Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama #41
Ht: 6’2″Wt: 273  
Strengths:
Decent athlete for his size; well above-average mobility for a defensive end. A smart, disciplined player; isn’t overaggressive in pursuit. Stays in his zone and keeps his eyes in the backfield. Impressive change-of-direction ability for an end/linebacker. A scrappy player; very active hands – can really get under an offensive lineman’s skin throughout the course of a game. Explosive off the snap. Does a nice job making himself small to slip through holes when blitzing on the inside. Also has the speed and quickness to win off the edge. Strong wrap-up tackler. Has experience playing linebacker in a 3-4, and with his hand on the ground in some 4-3 sets. Tough defender who plays through the whistle.
Weaknesses:
Sort of a ‘tweener who doesn’t fit perfectly at end or linebacker. Struggles to shed blocks against the run. A much better run defender when when at linebacker, and given more space to move. Easily tossed around by more physically imposing offensive tackles, especially when running play is headed his direction. Arrested for domestic assault in 2009; chargers were later dropped.
Comments:
Upshaw is a tough player to evaluate, because each team will view him differently based on their scheme. He has the ability to start and be an effective pass rusher in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. However, due to his struggles against the run, he would probably be more valuable at linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He works much better against the run when given space, and can be a true three-down linebacker in that system.
Videos:
2011 vs LSU (National Championship Game)
2011 vs Auburn
2011 vs Florida 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Leave a comment