With draft day finally approaching, the majority of mock drafts are finally starting to take shape.
Here’s a look at some of the members of the national media and their current projections for the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the draft. I also added my take on each pick.
Mel Kiper Jr. – ESPN – Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Kiper’s Take: “The Ravens need another safety, and Cyprien can capably start in Week 1.”
My Take: This would be one of the most ideal scenarios for the Ravens. Cyprien is my top safety in the draft due to his ability to play free or strong safety, his heavy-hitting mentality, and his ability to cover the back end of the defense. He’d start from day one at strong safety and would remind some Ravens fans of Ed Reed.
Todd McShay – ESPN – Eric Reid, S, LSU
My Take: Regardless of how the first 31 picks play out in the draft, the Ravens could still do much better than Reid. He’s an athletic playmaker who can make an impact, but he plays extremely stiff and may struggle to find a role in an NFL defense.
Dane Brugler – CBS Sports – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
Brugler’s Take: “The Ravens are world champions, but they also have needs all over their defense, including at middle linebacker where Ray Lewis leaves a gaping hole. Minter will never be the fastest athlete on the field, but he plays smart, alert football with a nose for the ball in the run game.”
My Take: While the Ravens desperately need inside linebacker help, drafting Minter with the 32nd pick may be forcing the issue. Minter is a player who does everything well but nothing great. He will likely go unnoticed for the majority of his career, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Rob Rang – CBS Sports – Robert Woods, WR, USC
Rang’s Take: “The Super Bowl champs committed to quarterback Joe Flacco from a contract perspective, but must add to his weapons if he’s to remain successful. Speedster Torrey Smith gives the club a premium vertical threat but the team could see Woods as an ideal complement following the trade of Anquan Boldin.”
My Take: The Ravens could do much worse than this, so drafting Woods wouldn’t necessarily be a bad option. The team will likely use a high pick on a receiver, however in Rang’s scenario, Keenan Allen is still on the board and he would be a much better option.
Josh Norris – Rotoworld – Eric Reid, S, LSU
Norris’ Take: “Thanks to first-round buzz, it appears the NFL values Reid more than outsiders. He needs the offense to be kept in front of him, since Reid struggles when changing angles or recovering.”
My Take: As stated before, there are much better options in the first round for the Ravens than Reid. However, there is an increasing buzz surrounding Reid and the possibility of him going in the first round, so this wouldn’t necessarily be a surprising pick.
Don Banks – Sports Illustrated – Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
Banks’ Take: “Safety just seems to be where the highest-rated players can still be had at the bottom of the first round, so we have the Ravens addressing their clear-cut need there even over the likes of talented linebackers like Kansas State’s Arthur Brown or LSU’s Kevin Minter. Cyprien and Florida’s Matt Elam are closely rated, but Cyprien has impressive range, athleticism and plays the kind of physical style of football Baltimore’s defense is known for.”
My Take: Like I said before, drafting Cyprien would be one of the most ideal scenarios for the Ravens. However, in my opinion, Cyprien will be off the board when the Ravens are on the clock, so this may be an unlikely possibility.