Changing the Mantra

Street Talk Changing the Mantra

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After weeks and months of breaking down tape, meeting with players and watching grown men run a 40-yard dash with no pads on and making a big deal about the time, NFL teams are finally heading down the homestretch with the draft 14 days away.

As it stands today, the Ravens still hold the 16th overall pick. The question remains: Who will be the
impact player they select who can contribute Day One or what are the realistic scenarios if they move
out?

Ravens stay at 16 to get “their guy.”

The Ravens have employed the mantra of drafting the Best Player Available (BPA). That mantra is great
if you are a team looking for depth or value with your selection(s). That ship has long sailed. They are a team that has multiple holes to fill along both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

At the Ravens pre-draft luncheon, Eric DeCosta alluded that the BPA philosophy may have been put to
bed with last year’s first round pick.

Said DeCosta, “The biggest thing we have to do is find guys that we like – good football players – and whoever we pick across the board, we’ve got to find the right guys. I think there’s a strong chance that if we do pick at 16, we’ll find a guy that fills a specific need for this team that helps us win games early on. It’s always what we try to do. Marlon Humphrey – last year, he came in and filled a specific, critical need for us. We had some injuries, he was a great pick, and he helped us win some football games. That’s always what we try to do with that first pick.”

That quote, while may not seem like much, should make Raven fans smile.

This leads to my point, if the Ravens stay at 16 they need to select “their guy” like they did last year.
Ozzie Newsome made the comment that some, “… might be surprised at who we pick at 16 this year.”
Last year some were surprised when they identified Humphrey and not TE O.J. Howard as “their guy.”

The Ravens obviously felt that CB was the “specific need.” They should do the same thing this year.
Identify who “their guy” is. Forget about where in the draft they are picking and select the player that
they love and think can come in and help right away. Too many times during this overkill of the draft
process, you hear pundits say, “Player X is not worth the X pick in the first round.”

Who cares what others think a player is worth? All that matter is what the front office thinks they’re worth is. Many times as fans, we get caught up in that. The Ravens need to select a player who as DeCosta said, can help them win football games.

Bottom line!

If they feel San Diego St running back Rashaad Penny or TE Hayden Hurts is the missing piece to the
offense, call their name. Forget that almost every draft “expert” will tear the Ravens apart “because
they could have had him in the 2nd ” or that “no TE is worth the 16th pick.” Forget all of that! If they truly think a player is the answer and can help the team get better, then take him at 16!

The BPA mantra is great when you are reloading your roster every year, but that is not how it is here
anymore. They are in a midst of a mini rebuild, and I for one would rather have a rebuild with “their
guys” opposed to players who are better valued at that pick.

Trading out of 16

Newsome and DeCosta both said during the presser, “If we pick at 16.” Could this be a smoke screen?
Sure. Could this be the Ravens letting the rest of the NFL know they are open for business at 16? Sure.
We don’t know.

I can probably take an educated guess and say they are not trading up. Not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t risk selling off most of their draft picks to move up for one guy.

The most likely and popular scenario for the Ravens would be to trade back and gain more picks. But
who wants to trade up? Ideally for the Ravens they would want to acquire at least an additional 3rd
round pick to drop back in the 1st round.

According to the draft value chart, the Ravens 16th pick is worth 1,000 points. After researching the draft needs and available picks for teams drafting 17-32, here are three realistic trade partners.

Carolina Panthers: Ravens receive pick 24 (value 740) and 88 (150). This makes sense for both teams.
The Panthers have two third round picks and could part with one to move up eight spots to leap frog
Dallas and grab the first WR of the draft. Remember, DeCosta feels great about WR’s that are projected
on Day 2 and 3.

New Orleans Saints: Ravens receive pick 27 (680), 91 (136) and 127 (45). A wild card here. The Saints hit the 2017 draft out of the park and their only glaring need maybe TE. With Drew Brees approaching 40 and under contract for two more years, it could be time to start looking at a succession plan. If Mason Rudolph is still on the board at 16 the Saints may want to move up and grab the heir apparent.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Ravens received pick 29 (640), 93 (128) and 129 (43). The Jags lost their heart and soul on defense when Paul Posluszny retired. What better way to fill his shoes, then with another
sideline to sideline MLB in Leighton Vander Esch.

Don’t count the Jags out of the QB race either. Bortles is on a short term, team friendly contract. If
Jackson or Rudolph are still on the board, the Jags could move up to find their next franchise QB.

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John Darcey

About John Darcey

Born and raised in Baltimore, John has been a die-hard Ravens fan since the team came to town in 1996. The only thing that rivals his love for the Ravens is his sick obsession with fantasy football. John spends an inordinate amount of time every year prepping for the upcoming fantasy season. Whether it is trying to find the most impactful rookie or the sleeper you have never heard of, his job is to be prepared. You can follow him on Twitter @jdfantasyfb or check out jdfantasyfootball.com. John currently lives in Halethorpe with his wife and three kids. More from John Darcey

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