As a part of our coverage here at Russell Street Report, we’ll be featuring the best prospects all across the board in any situation the Ravens might come across. Whether it’s a receiver in the first round, a quarterback in the sixth, or a guard in the third, we’ll cover the Ravens best options in any scenario. Barring any trades, the team will pick in the middle of each round—so we’ll see who is available when the Ravens are projected to select their upcoming stars. This will make it easy for you the fan to look at what the Ravens are seeing in future NFL prospects.
When I asked a small group of 15 fans what area they thought the Ravens should draft in the first round, all 15 said a pass-catcher to help Joe Flacco. While it might not be the most important issue, it certainly stands out when taking a look at the Ravens’ situation. Torrey Smith needs a legitimate sidekick to thrive in Gary Kubiak’s offense; will he come in the first round? Let’s take a look at some potential difference-makers.
Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Behind Sammy Watkins, (who will be long gone by the time the Ravens pick) Evans appears to be the next best receiver in this class. I have watched every bit of tape I could on Evans and am still very torn – not on his ability, but the talent that is just behind him in this class.
Evans has a tremendous ability to make defenders fall off of him and use his size to overpower defensive backs. While he lacks the speed of some in this class, he makes up for it with his Anquan Boldin-like physical nature.
The Texas A&M wide-out is huge and will make an impact in the NFL. The Ravens could use a reliable, physical option for Flacco. Could Evans be the answer?
Marquise Lee, USC
Looking like an NFL star already, Lee has the ability to make game-changing plays every time he touches the ball. Although he’s fought through injuries, he has the look and skill of an NFL receiver.
The Ravens’ offense will look for a player like Lee that can effectively shift the outcome of a game with speed and agility.
Lee may be off the board when the Ravens pick, but if he’s there, I have a hard time believing that Ozzie Newsome wouldn’t strongly consider writing Lee’s name down on the card. Injuries and a bad USC wide receiver history may scare teams away, but I’m in the majority of people that think Lee will be a difference-maker in the NFL.
Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
Emerging later in the season during Florida State’s miraculous run, Benjamin turned heads working with Jameis Winston.
If you like size and projects, Benjamin may be for you. I’d be opposed in more ways than one. I don’t think Benjamin deserves a first-round grade. If Florida State didn’t win the BCS National Championship, would he really be getting one?
STRENGTHS: Near-tight end size (6-5, 235) with a ridiculously large wingspan, giving him a catching radius that is probably on-par with anyone at the NFL level. Shows the gliding speed and short-area quickness to create some separation and be a terror in jump-ball situations, especially in the red zone.
WEAKNESSES: Still developing as a route-runner.
The poor route-running does stand out and it is a concern. He doesn’t flash elite speed and I can’t see him fooling defensive backfields at the next level. We’ll see how hard the Ravens look at him, but beware of this kid.