The NFL Draft kicks off tonight in Philadelphia with Round 1. The Ravens are set to pick 16th overall. RSR Staff give our predictions here:
• Two of the top 3 receivers will be available for the Ravens.
• At least 3 quarterbacks will be taken at some point during the first 13 picks.
• Eight of the first 15 picks will be from Alabama or Ohio State.
• Four teams will make selections before the Ravens that will make you go, “WTF!”
• Derek Barnett’s slow get-off is a concern and despite his production at Tennessee he won’t be moving to Baltimore even if available.
The board is wide open for the Ravens with the 16th overall pick. The talent is deep in the draft and although the team has needs, I believe Ozzie will covet more picks and at the very least trade further back in the first round. If a run on edge guys takes place though, the Ravens must grab a pass rusher and Derek Barnett’s name is called.
Within reason, I think the Ravens would select Reuben Foster, Hasson Reddick, or Derek Barnett, in that order, if any of those defensive playmakers are available. I predict that all three go off the board just before the Ravens pick, and the spotlight will therefore quickly shift to the offensive side of the ball. With the Browns inexplicably taking Mitchell Trubisky with the first overall pick and Deshaun Watson also coming off the board before the Ravens pick, several talented offensive players are still available at 16.
Ozzie flirts with trading back to target an offensive lineman, but ultimately, with both Corey Davis and Mike Williams available, Ozzie drafts a first-round receiver for the second time in three years by picking the former Clemson Tiger, Williams, who has the potential to be a number one wideout and who, at 6’3″ 218 lbs., brings a physicality to the receiver position that the Ravens desperately need. It’s a wild night of trades and wacky selections, but the Ravens stay put and add an offensive weapon.
This offseason has been all about adding pieces to the defense for Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens. The secondary in particular has been a major point of emphasis for free agent acquisitions. For that reason I think the first round, and the draft in general, is all about adding pieces to the offense, specifically playmakers and linemen.
In a perfect world I think Ozzie would like to trade back. The Ravens haven’t had this few picks since 2010 so adding a third or fourth rounder or two would be nice. So, if a first round quarterback starts to fall and there’s a team behind the Ravens that’s desperate to move up the Ravens could take advantage. But when you look at the draft order the only quarterback-needy team behind the Ravens is the Houston Texans at 25 and I’m not sure that moving back that far makes sense. So my prediction is the Ravens stay put at 16 and with that pick they take Corey Davis out of Western Michigan. Drafting an elite wideout has been Newsome’s Achilles heel. For that reason he’ll use his top pick on a receiver for the second time in three years and try to get that monkey off his back.
Bold prediction- the Ravens use their second round pick on Sidney Jones.
Just a bit of soap boxing before I opine…As fans we have the longest-term view of the organization. Longer than players, coaches, GMs, or ownership, all who have economic or job pressures that compete with the longest view. As such we’ll take losses at the end of a season to secure a better draft pick or future value in picks. This is a draft that will test our resolve. The draft has lots of unequivalently assessed talent in the top 3 rounds. That should create trade opportunities. However, the juice may come in future drafts. When you watch tonight, think back to 1999 and Ozzie’s trade of the Ravens’ #2 pick to the Falcons to acquire their #1 in 2000. That pick became Jamal Lewis, and the Ravens would be well advised not simply to consider their 2017 draft needs over the next few days, but also to restock the cupboard for the 2018 and even 2019 drafts.
This is a draft where I am hopeful the Ravens will trade back (perhaps more than once) in the first round for more selections.
I’ll be unhappy if: The Ravens decide they need an offensive playmaker such as a RB or WR with pick #1. I’ll also be unhappy if the Ravens overvalue interior OL in the first 3 rounds.
If the Ravens do not trade back, I’ll be happy with either an edge rusher, CB, or Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk at #16.
With multiple running backs and quarterbacks taken before the 16th pick, the Ravens will have a wide range of options in the first round. My hope is that they have a choice of more than one of the following: Mike Williams, Forrest Lamp, Marlon Humphrey, Haason Reddick and Adoree’ Jackson.
My gut tells me three guys the Ravens likely value at 16 if available are Derek Barnett, Reddick and Cam Robinson. Of those three, Reddick is the most likely to be off the board. Ultimately, the pick is Derek Barnett, a typical “trying to hit a double” pick, and one that will be hard to get too excited about.
Don’t rule out a trade back (if teams are trying to move up) given the low(er) amount of picks for the Ravens this year.
I’m with T.J. Onwuanibe tonight, folks.
Earlier today, the Make-A-Wish All Star had a sit down with ESPN’s Kevin Neghandi, who asked T.J. what position he’d like to see the Ravens go in Round One. T.J. said he’d like to see a defensive end/outside linebacker.
Not only will T.J.’s wish of making the 1st pick will come true, but so will his desired position when the Ravens select Haason Reddick at 16.
ONE MORE NOTE: Don’t be shocked if the Ravens trade back into the end of the 1st round if a highly-coveted player is available. I see the 2nd selection being an offensive weapon…
My bold prediction is the Ravens will actually get their choice of 3-4 players they should covet at pick 16, and there won’t be a major curveball tonight. No trade back. They’ll grab an impact player who is normally viewed as a top-10 pick in most drafts but slides a bit in a draft filled with top-tier talent.
I think Corey Davis ends up being the pick at 16. There is a ton of o-line buzz going around but the Ravens don’t seem like the team to follow this wave of taking non left tackles early in the draft.