Well, Baltimore Ravens fans, the 2017 NFL Draft is finally here.
After months of countless mock drafts, big boards and discussion, Thursday night allows us to finally see what really will happen, as opposed to continuing to speculate what might happen. But what fun would there be in that if we did not review one last round of mock drafts to see who the draft pundits are linking to the Ravens?
Mock drafts as a whole are never very accurate, but let’s take a look at which prospects are being linked to the Ravens in the first round as we near the start of the first round.
The Ravens need help at edge rusher and offensive tackle, as well, but general manager Ozzie Newsome may have a hard time letting a prototypical split end like the 6-4, 218-pound Williams slip any further. His ability to box out defenders and win contested passes could make him a quick favorite for Joe Flacco, who lost similarly sure-handed receivers Steve Smith, Sr. and Kamar Aiken over the offseason.
The Ravens haven’t had much luck drafting wide receivers, but Williams has a tremendous resume.
If Williams happens to fall out of top-10 picks — which could happen depending on Cincinnati and Buffalo — Baltimore could be his landing spot. Williams isn’t a superstar athlete for a wideout but he can go up and get the ball and give Joe Flacco a good lead receiver.
The Ravens have plenty of speed at receiver, but only average size. Williams has only average speed, but his body control, catch radius and overall size are where he shines.
RSR analysis: Well, if the experts get it right, Mike Williams will end up in Baltimore tomorrow night. There seems to be a general belief that if Williams is available at 16, it will be hard for the Ravens to pass him up, and with good reason. The key here is the “if” in this scenario, as Williams very well may be off the board within the first 10 picks. No receiver in this draft fits Baltimore’s offense better than Williams, and he would be an ideal pick if available.
USA Today’s Nate Davis: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Reddick’s a player, that much is clear after his sensational showings at the Senior Bowl and combine, not to mention a sterling senior year for the Owls. Whether he fits best as an inside or outside linebacker has yet to be determined, but Baltimore needs help in both spots after cutting OLB Elvis Dumervil and losing ILB Zachary Orr to premature retirement due to a neck issue. Naturally, Reddick’s ability to come off the edge and apparent comfort in coverage should make him a three-down player regardless.
RSR analysis: One of the more intriguing defensive prospects in the draft, Reddick would be an impact player in Baltimore’s defense. A converted defensive end, Reddick would bring premier athleticism to the linebacker position and would fill the void of Zachary Orr.
NFL Network’s Charley Casserly: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The draft could not fall any better than this for Ozzie Newsome.
RSR analysis: Howard falling to the Ravens at 16 seems like a pipe dream, as he is the best tight end in the draft, and one of the best overall prospects. But if available midway through the first round, he would be too good to pass up.
FOX Sports’ Pete Schrager: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Foster has more than a diluted urine sample on the red flags list, but he can play and he can hit. I have heard rumors that Baltimore is big in on wide receiver Corey Davis, but I think Foster would be the guy in this scenario. If he slips to 16, I could see Ozzie Newsome and Co. tossing the draft board out the window and handing in the card for Foster. Ozzie is an Alabama guy, the Ravens have a history of going Alabama in the first and second rounds, and Foster would provide a toughness and ferocity that has been part of the Ravens defense for decades. He might slip quite a bit on Thursday, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Baltimore scooped him up.
RSR analysis: Foster is a wild card in this year’s draft, and quite frankly should not be an option for the Ravens at 16. He is a fine prospect on the field, but is not on par with the likes of C.J. Mosley and Dont’a Hightower in terms of recent Alabama linebacker prospects. Throw in the laundry list of off-field issues and it is hard to justify this selection.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
At some point, they have to get Joe Flacco more help outside. This is a player who will end up being the best receiver in this class.
RSR analysis: The interesting part about this pick is that Prisco still had Mike Williams available (selected one pick later by the Washington Redskins) and went with Davis. A good, talented prospect who could still be an option, Davis is not as enticing of a prospect as Williams. Plus, Davis does not seem to fit the bill of wide receiver prospects which the Ravens target. In terms of what the Ravens seem to latch on to in receiver talent, Williams or USC’s Juju Smith-Schuster better fit the bill.