Ten Random Ravens draft thoughts…
1. There is no doubt that the Ravens are prepared to pick at 22, but I do not see that being their ideal scenario. Eric DeCosta, in his first draft as GM, will probably want to use a similar blueprint to last year’s: trade back multiple times in the first round and acquire more picks in the middle rounds.
That may be easier said than done, as it sounds as if every other team wants to do the same in a draft that has been labeled more about depth then star power. I get it; it takes just one team to fall in love with a player who is slipping down the draft board for a trade to happen. But given that they are drafting at 22, it may be a little harder to drop back multiple times and stay in the first round.
I don’t think they want to drop out of the first round completely with just one trade.
2. One team to keep an eye on that may be a trade partner: the Green Bay Packers. They own two first-round picks with their own at 12 and a second one at 30. A trade with GB could set the Ravens up nicely for a move back into the early second round (more on that in a minute).
3. Let’s look at this scenario. The Pack may have their eye on one of the receivers to pair with Aaron Rodgers, who has lost weapons over the years. They may want to upgrade their D by adding a Dexter Lawrence or Clelin Ferrell to team that just signed Za’Darius Smith. The Ravens could drop back to pick 30.
The Packers own eight picks after round one. Give me say, a 3rd and one of your two fours, or a 4th and maybe a 5th and/or one of your two 6th – I could live with that. Dropping eight spots and picking up two more picks in a draft where you want more mid-round picks would be a win for the Ravens.
Before anyone says that the Ravens could use one of those players, let’s remember last year, when the Ravens traded with the Bills. They could have used Tremaine Edmunds or Derwin James, who were both still on the board.
4. The second part, with the Ravens then sitting at pick 30, would be dropping down in the early second round, which is reasonable. I am looking at a team that would love to jump back into the late first round, the New York Giants. Armed with 12 picks in the 2019 draft, the Ravens should ask for New York’s second rounder, number 37, and their 4th round pick (108) for pick 30. The Giants can do what the Ravens did last year: grab their QB of the future late (whether it be Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock or Daniel Jones). Dropping just seven spots, the Ravens pick up another 4th rounder and still have a top 40 pick.
5. That’s all hypothetical, so let’s go back to assuming the Ravens are picking 22nd.
While fans have been screaming for a WR with that pick, I just don’t see that happening. This is DeCosta’s first draft and he cannot afford to take a player who is not a ‘safe’ pick. Look, D.J. Metcalf, Brown (A.J. and Marquisse) and Parris Campbell are all good receivers, but none of them scream “WR1.”
GMs are graded based on how they draft, and DeCosta cannot risk selecting one of those guys with his first ever pick when all eyes will be on those guys for years. Considering the biggest knock on Ozzie was not being able to draft and develop WRs, if I was DeCosta, I would not risk drafting one of them just to try and buck that trend.
6. While we are talking offensive first round picks, the Josh Jacobs scuttlebutt is nonsense. The Ravens just signed Mark Ingram and return Gus Edwards, who had a nice rookie year. They do not need to take Jacobs in the first round. Especially with guys like David Montgomery, Devin Singletary, Darrell Henderson and Mile Sanders all projected to go in the third round. Everyone would love to have the next Zeke, Saquon Barkley or Todd Gurley, but Jacobs is none of them.
And of the top 20 rushers last year, 13 of them were picked in round two or later.
7. To all of you who say the Ravens need to take an offensive skill player in the first round, I urge you to read Adam’s article on Noah Fant. At first blush, I thought Adam was crazy, but after reading it, I think he is absolutely right. If the Ravens want a safe, impactful offensive skill player in the first round, Fant is the pick. Yes, they drafted Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews last year and re-signed Nick Boyle, but in this offense, Fant fits right in. He can play inline or split out wide, he can block and make plays across the middle. He would be an impactful starter Day 1. Another name to keep an eye on at TE with the 22nd pick is Irv Smith, Jr.
8. If I was Eric Decosta, who would I take at 22? Garrett Bradbury. Matt Skura did a nice job last year at center, but he is nothing special. Bradbury would step right in and be a 12-year starter. He also continues the youth movement on the offensive line that already boasts young talent in Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown, Jr. Cody Ford and Chris Lindstrom would also be picks that would improve the interior of the offensive line. The O-line is more important than ever.
9. If you want defense and think the Ravens need to re-stock, Clelin Ferrell, Montez Sweat and Brian Burns would all be great options at 22. These guys would pair with Matt Judon to generate a nice pass rush. And let’s be honest: all would all be an upgrade over the Terrell Suggs of 2018.
10. Finally, if you want a sleeper for round one, how about Greedy Williams or DeAndre Baker. Before everyone tells me how dumb I am and the Ravens don’t need a CB, let me explain. This is the typical Raven pick: build on your strengths. Right now, the defense is the strength of this team and these two guys could be number one CBs. Pairing them with Marlon Humphrey, Tony Jefferson and Earl Thomas could give the Ravens the best secondary in the league. What else does it do? Makes Jimmy Smith expendable.
Why didn’t the Ravens already cut Smith? They had no sure-fire replacement. Here you add a young corner who steps right in and allows the Ravens to trade Jimmy for more picks possibly in rounds two or three.