Social media around Baltimore has gone a bit crazy in the past few days as the NFL Draft now sits three rounds deep. With one selection in the 1st round, one in the 2nd round and two 3rd round selections, the Ravens have opted to go with four defensive players so far.
WHAT ABOUT THE OFFENSE?
Indeed, the Ravens have opted to disregard the offensive side of the ball thus far in the draft. While frustration is legitimate, there could be myriad reasons behind this:
-Defensive players at their picks too highly rated to pass on
-Offensive players not valued as high and didn’t want to reach
-Tried to trade up for skill players on offense but couldn’t make it work
Or as many Ravens fans seem to think, the Ravens don’t care about Joe Flacco and don’t want to give him any help because they’re all stupid heads who should be fired and know nothing and couch coaches and GM’s and keyboard warriors know everything.
What’s that? You believe the latter argument is far-fetched and absolutely ludicrous?
Preaching to the choir.
In fact, I believe a combination of things led to a 4-D start for the Ravens draft. Obviously with the first pick they chose to pass on Alabama TE O.J. Howard for CB Marlon Humphrey, as word has it the Ravens didn’t have Howard that high (and even had Evan Engram as a higher-ranked TE).
In the second round Tyus Bowser was mocked as high as end of the 1st round, yet fell to mid-2nd for Baltimore. With big offensive names like WR Zay Jones, OG Forrest Lamp & OT Cam Robinson all off the board, Bowser seemed like a no-brainer. Juju Smith-Schuster was discussed at this point by many Ravens fanatics (at least for me) but it appears no team truly had him ranked that high, as he went to the Steelers 15 picks later.
In fact, it looks like the offensive players were hardly valued after the Ravens pick (47) until the JJSS pick by the Steelers (62) as only three offensive players went off the board, versus 11 defensive players. Those three offensive players? The Bengals made the most Bengals pick they could by taking the headcase that is Joe Mixon (never want to hear another Ray Rice joke from Bengals fans), QB Deshone Kizer to the Browns, and C Ethan Pocic to the Seahawks.
In the 3rd Round, the Ravens sat on the 10th & 14th picks in the round. I would believe they were hoping for WR Cooper Kupp to fall to them; however, he was snatched up by Rams with the 5th pick in the round. OG Dan Freeney would’ve been a solid pick as well, but the Chargers snapped him up a few picks before Baltimore too.
Instead, the Ravens opted for two picks with some inside intel – DE Chris Wormley from Michigan (HarBros tie) and OLB Tim Williams from Bama (Ozzie’s Bama Bond). Three wideouts were drafted in the six picks following the Ravens selection of Williams – ArDarius Stewart, Carlos Henderson & Chris Godwin.
Stewart was a Bama wideout, which leads me to believe Ozzie’s intel in justifying Tim Williams over Stewart should be trusted. Chris Godwin… meh, I was never super impressed and I’m glad they didn’t reach. Henderson… I know nothing. I’ll be blatantly honest.
So realistically, should we worry?
Not at all.
The offensive line wasn’t addressed yet, but if you look at the Ravens line by draft round from 2016, you’ll see a 1st-round pick (Ronnie Stanley), two 3rd-round picks (Marshal Yanda, Jeremy Zuttah), a 4th-round pick (Alex Lewis), and a 5th round pick (Wagner). There’s no reason to believe the Ravens can’t find an interior lineman today in the 4th or 5th round, and possibly one capable of starting Week One.
As for wideouts, I don’t see any Day One starting value at this point in the draft, so no need to reach unnecessarily. But if you take a look at a few of the teams drafting wideouts early in the draft? They’re beyond deep, and likely to make some vet cuts as we head into the summer months.
Don’t be shocked to see teams like Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh or Buffalo looking to make moves and let some guys go sooner or later. Sammy Watkins may be on the trading block from the Bills, and I think Martavis Bryant is on his way out in Pittsburgh (don’t tell him that though!).
The Rams are another interesting team to watch. The Ravens may not be able to garner a top-end WR from them, but after this draft there’s plenty of depth on their roster at the position.
Free agency is another big focus to fill the offensive voids as well. The rumored speculation of a few big names may not be that far off…
Don't dislike the defensive picks but I'm guessing Mangold and possibly Boldin will be #Ravens.
— Tony Lombardi (@RSRLombardi) April 29, 2017
RELAX, BALTIMORE. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE.