The Baltimore Ravens may already have plenty of ideas as to who their first-round choice will be in this year’s draft, but it is still up in the air with the following rounds. If Ozzie Newsome does his homework, he will notice there is a player in the late rounds who could wind up being a steal for the Ravens due to his 2013 college season being stolen from him due to injury. Baltimore is still in need of a free safety, and if they can’t get their hands on Louisville’s Calvin Pryor, the next best option in my mind is “THE” Ohio State University product Christian Bryant.
The former senior captain played in 31 games and started 22 of them in his collegiate career. He had 167 total tackles (89 solo). Bryant may be small in height but his game is huge. To see a player hit the way he does, you have to give him respect no matter what the height. He is a great tackler in space and has no problem wrapping up.
The thing I love about Bryant is that he knows his job. The job of a safety at times is to be as deep as the deepest receiver and don’t get beat; Bryant does this very well. The reason he is able to do his job so well is that he trust his teammates to be where they are supposed to be. The ability to trust the men you lead is a good quality that Eric DeCosta and his scouts will see on the tape. In my opinion, any man who makes a coach pound a podium in grief in front of reporters due to injury is worth more than what draft analysts are projecting him at.
My only knock on Bryant is that I see more strong safety in him than free safety, because he is such a downhill, hard-hitter. The Ravens already have a short hammer in Matt Elam. To put another hard hitting safety on the roster for depth won’t hurt, but it won’t help either. Baltimore is in the market for a ball-hawk, and with the right coaching and time, Bryant has the potential to be that guy with his ability to constantly be around the action to capitalize on mistakes. But Baltimore may be looking for the true free safety now and may not be willing to wait for Bryant to develop. Not only would Baltimore have to wait for him to develop, but they would also have to deal with the fact that once they draft him he may not even be healthy for training camp with him rehabbing his broken ankle.
This 5-foot-9, 193-pound senior Buckeye may be broken at the moment, but in the words of Evel Knievel “bones heal, pain is temporary, [and] chicks dig scars.” Once Bryant is healed, whoever picks him up will have a gem in their possession. Let’s just hope it’s the Baltimore.