Day 3 Prospects for the Baltimore Ravens
Don’t Sleep on ‘Em
By Nikhil Mehta
As I outlined in an article last week, the Baltimore Ravens have several needs to fill in the NFL Draft this Thursday. They have five picks across the last four rounds of the draft, and are apparently trying to trade back from the 31st pick, which would likely land them another Day 2 pick.
Here are six players that should be available for the Ravens on Saturday that they should heavily consider drafting. Each fills at least one position of need, and importantly, they all have high floors, so they should be ready to contribute immediately to a team that’s aiming for the Super Bowl this year.
Robert Hainsey – OT, Notre Dame
Hainsey is less heralded than fellow Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenberg, but his versatility should be coveted by the Ravens. He does not have the physical profile of a starting tackle in the NFL, but his Senior Bowl performance along the interior of the offensive line, especially at center, makes him a perfect prospect for the Ravens, who need quality depth across the offensive line. Hainsey’s top-flight experience at right tackle means he could back up multiple positions and potentially compete for a starting G or C job in the future.
Austin Watkins – WR, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Watkins is the cousin of Ravens WR Sammy Watkins, but the family connection is hardly the only reason to consider the UAB wideout. He’s got a high floor with a strong frame, sure hands, and polished route-running. His measurables don’t pop off the page, but the Ravens should be intrigued by his potential to provide consistent, if not spectacular, play on the outside. It’s unclear if his ceiling is any higher than a reliable rotational piece, but his dependability is valuable late, especially if the Ravens don’t use a Day 1 or 2 pick on a receiver.
Drake Jackson – C, University of Kentucky
Jackson started at center for four years in the SEC for the Wildcats, so you can believe he’s ready to play in the NFL. Coaches at Kentucky praise his football I.Q., and his toughness allows him to outplay his 6’2”, 292 lb. frame. He could start pretty quickly at a current size, but after some time in an NFL weight room, he could be a stalwart at center for the Ravens for years to come. And Jackson’s attitude perfectly fits the Ravens: he’s a smart, experienced lineman who played through a shoulder injury to play in the Senior Bowl (at which he did struggle). If the Ravens don’t land one of the consensus top three centers, they should seriously consider grabbing Jackson with one of their last few picks in the draft.
Jordan Smith – EDGE, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Smith is another UAB product who provides a solid floor and high upside for the Ravens. At 6’7” , he’s as lanky as anyone in the class, and he knows how to use his arms to get to the QB. He’s not strong enough to stay on the field against the run, but even adding a bit of power could unlock a lot of Smith’s potential. While the Ravens are certainly looking to take an edge early in the draft, this class may be deep enough for them to double dip at the position.
Quinton Bohanna – iDL, University of Kentucky
Bohanna is a behemoth who attacks opposing lines with a ton of power and surprising burst from a player his size. There are doubts about his ability to play every down, but he’d slide right into the Ravens rotation along the interior of the defensive line. He needs to refine some of his technique, but Baltimore’s reputation as a defensive line factory should make him a good fit for the Ravens. At a minimum, Bohanna’s 6’4”, 357 lb. physique will be able to eat up space in the trenches with steady run defense and decent playmaking upside.
Tariq Thompson – S, San Diego State University
Thompson was a four-year starter at safety for the Aztecs who showed that above all else, he processes the game at a pro-ready level. His speed may limit his ability to play deep safety, but his instincts and size make him a reliable option underneath in a slot or dime cornerback role. He could be a successor to Ravens fan favorite Anthony Levine, Sr. by contributing in a variety of roles on defense and special teams. Even in a safety-rich class, Thompson would be a value pick towards the end of the draft, and his high motor and football intelligence fit the Ravens well.