The First 60 Minutes Will be a Chess Match
If you are a Ravens fan I’m sure you’ve played out the first six picks in the upcoming NFL Draft over and over in your mind. I’m with you and it could go in any of a number of ways.
This much is clear – Laremy Tunsil and Jalen Ramsey will without question, be off the board by the time the Ravens are on the clock with the sixth overall pick. The mystery picks for the moment belong to the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys.
Will either or both take quarterbacks with the No. 2 and No. 4 picks, respectively?
Both might not.
Robert Griffin, III is hardly a sure thing for Browns skipper Hue Jackson and he could call Jared Goff or Carson Wentz’ name when Cleveland is on the clock. But neither is worthy of such a lofty draft status.
What Jerry Jones does is anyone’s guess and MY guess is that he still thinks Tony Romo can capably handle signal-calling duties until his AARP card arrives in the mail. Therefore I think he’ll pass on a quarterback, at least in Round 1.
So this is where that uneasy feeling sets in.
If the quarterbacks don’t go before the Ravens at No. 6, the players who almost certainly come off the board are Tunsil, Ramsey and Myles Jack. The fourth and fifth picks are likely to include two of the following: Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner and Ezekiel Elliott.
So with that in mind here’s how I see the first 4 picks playing out:
The Jaguars pick will be interesting. They invested a ton of money to sign defenders Malik Jackson, Prince Amukamara and Tashaun Gipson. They also invested in rugged running back Chris Ivory to help improve on their 25th ranked third down conversion offense. Ivory is expected to form a nice 1-2 punch with TJ Yeldon.
Jacksonville also hopes to improve upon the 28th ranked time of possession offense and 29th ranked offensive line in terms of sacks allowed per game which help contribute to the 29th ranked team in turnover differential (-0.6/game).
Note: Comparatively speaking the Ravens ranked 31st in turnover differential per game (-0.9).
Add it up and it would be no surprise to see Jacksonville call Ronnie Stanley’s name in the above scenario. LT Luke Joeckel is a borderline bust while Zane Beadles and Jermey Parnell are underachievers, not performing to the level of their contracts.
So given need and availability, let’s write in Stanley for the Jaguars.
Now keep in mind the two QB’s are on the board.
The 49ers and Eagles, both teams said to have interest in a QB are next up after the Ravens at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Both also might have interest in Ezekiel Elliott.
If the Ravens don’t have an interest in Elliott (I’ve argued that they should), they could still trade back with the Eagles and pick up Philadelphia’s third round pick in this year’s draft (or even lobby for a second in 2017) and still get DeForest Buckner at No. 8. It’s unlikely that the 49ers would pick Buckner one year after selecting a very similar player from the same school one season ago (Arik Armstead).
Then again if Myles Jack slips down to No. 4 and the Cowboys are looking elsewhere, the Ravens could move up 2 spots by sacrificing their third-round pick this season or if Jack falls to No. 5, they could give up a fourth and a sixth to the Jaguars to move up one spot.
Whichever way you cut it, that first hour of the 2016 NFL Draft is going to be a very interesting chess match.
And for the Ravens, I’m hoping for a “Jack-mate”!
Trade Value Chart Courtesy of Drafttek.com