NFL Network Analyst thinks Ravens are a trade back candidate

Street Talk NFL Network Analyst thinks Ravens are a trade back candidate

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OWINGS MILLS — Trade winds could be swirling around the Baltimore Ravens’ first-round draft pick.

The Ravens covet a pass rusher. They could use a big, fast wide receiver. And they lack an imposing shutdown cornerback.

In the opinion of NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, the Ravens could be moving back from their 26th overall pick because of their desire to obtain more talent for their front seven and receiving corps.

"I still think they’re a logical trade-down candidate," Mayock said during a conference call. "That vertical receiver that they need to get, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get him in the second. They’re hoping to get two picks in the second round, and I think the vertical receiver and the rush guy are the two they’d love to get."

Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith is the prototype cornerback at 6-foot-2, 211 pounds with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash. He has visited the Ravens, but it’s unclear if off-field issues will drop him to Baltimore or past the Philadelphia Eagles’ 23rd overall pick.

Smith has been arrested for underage drinking, and there are unconfirmed reports that he failed drug tests.

"He comes with a buyer beware caution," Mayock said. "He has unlimited upside. How far will he fall due to off-the-field issues? He’s an athletic freak."

The Ravens have brought in several pass rushers to their training complex for visits, including UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers.

Outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino had a dinner meeting with Purdue All-American defensive end Ryan Kerrigan before his Pro Day workout.

Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano worked out Arizona outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who has drawn comparisons to Green Bay Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews for his aggressive style and long blond hair.

North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn has visited the Ravens.

Temple defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson has visited the Ravens and worked out for the team privately.

And coach John Harbaugh met with Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward at the NFL scouting combine.

Mayock doesn’t think that Ayers is a fit, and he doesn’t think the Ravens are hoping to get Heyward or Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan. Jordan is expected to be gone in the first 15 selections.

The Ravens have also had contact with Texas defensive end Sam Acho, Nevada defensive end-outside linebacker Dontay Moch, Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith, Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston and many others.

Mayock thinks 26th is too high for Reed, who has been linked to Baltimore in mock drafts.

"Baltimore is pretty good at moving around the board, especially when they can move down," Mayock said. "It wouldn’t surprise me again if they were able to move down. However, the good news for them is that the defensive end-outside linebacker class is pretty deep this year.

"If they have to sit at 26, and if Jimmy Smith is off the board or they decide not to go that way, that defensive end-outside linebacker guy is an interesting guy. And keep in mind, Sergio Kindle is still an option. In the back of their minds, they’re saying Kindle could be there."

A second-round draft pick and a former All-Big 12 outside linebacker at the University of Texas, Kindle missed his entire rookie season with a fractured skull suffered when he fell down two flights of stairs last July. He hasn’t been medically cleared to play, but the outlook for him has improved after visiting recently with neurological specialists.

"You go down the list, Quinn’s probably gone, DaQuan Bowers is probably gone, Aldon Smith is gone and they want a 5-technique guy like Cam Jordan or Heyward, probably not," Mayock said. "They’re looking for a pure pass rusher. At that point, would they look at a Kerrigan? That rush linebacker position, I don’t think Akeem Ayers makes a ton of sense there. After that, I’m not a Justin Houston guy, and it’s probably early for Brooks Reed."

Mayock thinks it’s unlikely the Ravens would find a left tackle at No. 26 that would be superior to starter Michael Oher to the point where he would be shifted back to right tackle.

And that includes Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod and Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi.

"To be honest, I think Oher’s a better left tackle than Sherrod’s ever going to be," Mayock said. "So, they can still take a Carimi, but Carimi’s not a whole lot better ultimately than the guy they’ve got playing on the right side from Iowa [Marshal Yanda] now that kicks inside to guard. So, looking for an upgrade there is a difficult proposition."


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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