How The Board Could Fall For The Ravens
Submitted by: Jason Woolbert
Can’t wait any longer. The first night of the 2021 draft is nigh, and the Ravens have made their Orlando Brown trade. They have two picks in the back end of Round 1 – #27 and 31 overall.
The following sixteen players are likely gone by pick 27. They won’t go one through sixteen, and maybe one of them slips all the way down, but I won’t be considering any of them for this exercise.
1. QB Trevor Lawrence
2. QB Justin Wilson
3. QB Mac Jones
4. QB Trey Lance
5. QB Justin Fields
6. WR Ja’Marr Chase
7. WR Jaylen Waddle
8. WR Devonta Smith
9. TE Kyle Pitts
10. OL Penei Sewell
11. OL Rashawn Slater
12. OL Christian Darrisaw
13. LB Micah Parsons
14. LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
15. CB Patrick Surtain II
16. CB Jaycee Horn
That means one of ten remaining players would be available for pick 27, which is eleven picks away, and pick 31 is four picks later. So, I want the Ravens to draft two of these ten players, in order of desire. I would prefer they not trade out of round 1 to do this, and there’s not much reason to trade up either.
1. TEVEN JENKINS – the best answer for Orlando Brown’s departure, whether in the draft for free agency (with who’s left). Plug and play right tackle that fits the Ravens mold, albeit barely making the arm length threshold. Strong, nasty, intelligent, technical, feels like a Raven.
2. ALEX LEATHERWOOD – second best answer for Orlando Brown’s departure, should be able to move to RT and I doubt he has a spiritual reason to stay at LT. Big wingspan, tested well, another intelligent player who knows what he’s doing and I can totally imagine him in Purple & Black.
3. RASHOD BATEMAN – my WR4 as a fit for the Ravens. Does everything they need for the X position and can also move to the slot in formations. Similar play style to Sammy Watkins who the Ravens just signed. I am not deterred by his 2020 season as he had symptomatic COVID and we learned from the Ravens how that can be difficult to recover from. See Marlon Humphrey his first couple games back.
4. AZEEZ OJULARI – I’ve come to the conclusion that Ojulari is my favorite EDGE for the Ravens. Despite his short stature, he makes up for it with arm length and everything else he has in spades. He is a stone wall setting the edge and is more than capable of rushing the QB. He can do it all, he’s healthy, and he is more NFL ready than the rest of the top positional prospects.
5. KWITY PAYE – It’s not really clear when EDGE players will be coming off the board, and in what order. You can see that just with the sixteen players I listed. There’s a buzz about QB, OT, and even CB (as in there may be 5-6 CB drafted in round one). EDGE is therefore being pushed down at that expense, and Paye might just be there. Not polished, he’s one of the two top athletes at the position (that I believe is legit). The other one will be on my injury concerns list.
6. CREED HUMPHREY – Just do it. Take the center in Rd 1. That’s what Dallas did when they took Travis Frederick when it was considered a huge reach because of his position. They proved everyone wrong. Humphrey is reminiscent of Erik McCoy, who went Rd 2, pick 48 in the 2019 draft and nobody in New Orleans is complaining about him either. Even if the Ravens take RT at pick 27, they can double up at pick 31 and form a truly dominant OL.
7. ELIJAH MOORE – In general, the Ravens best strategy at WR is to go small in this draft, because that’s where the best talent is. Moore is the best route runner in this class not named Devonta Smith. He plays bigger than his size and is even a willing run blocker. Ole Miss WR coach Jacob Peeler deserved a promotion, keep an eye on that name as a coach (he’s now OC at Texas St)
8. TREVON MOEHRIG – Now that the Ravens have two first round picks, I’m more comfortable with them taking the #1 safety prospect. This is supported by them losing their second round pick, so without more movement there won’t be a Richie Grant or Jevon Holland on the team. Moehrig changes the structure of the back end of the defense as a potential Single High Safety, allowing Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott more freedom to close in on the line of scrimmage. He allows for a lot more 3S looks in nickel and dime and removes the need to put Chris Board back there.
9. TERRACE MARSHALL – I see him as the only large WR in this entire draft worth taking early. Even Ja’Marr Chase, while thick, isn’t that tall. Marshall may not have the best lateral agility, but he has straight line speed, a wide catch radius, and can get separation with double moves and make contested catches. Has been comped to another former LSU WR, DJ Chark.
10. LEVI ONWUZURIKE – my top DL in a thin class. Christian Barmore is bigger and stronger, but Onwuzurike is a lightning quick penetrator. Pairing him with Justin Madubuike would wreak havoc on the opposing OL. The Ravens need to add to their DL room in this draft, I don’t care what anyone says, it’s almost as big a need as EDGE. But, it’s not high on this list because I think the Ravens can wait until Round 3 or 4 and get a young nose tackle to be the heir apparent to Brandon Williams.
In addition to these top ten, there are three players I’d list under “Injury Concern” that would absolutely be on the board if I felt confident after looking at their medicals. It’s just that there are enough players without the red flag, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.
1. JAELAN PHILLIPS – the other EDGE guy beside Kwity Paye.
2. LANDON DICKERSON – even better than Humphrey.
3. CALEB FARLEY – not a position of need but would be CB1 in the draft.
….and even after all of that, I won’t be upset if I see one of these guys in Rd 1.
CHRISTIAN BARMORE – strong enough to play NT for the Ravens.
ZAVEN COLLINS – I believe he can move to the SAM position.
SAMUEL COSMI – Ravens need a RT and he’s a poor man’s Teven Jenkins.
GREG NEWSOME II – I learned my lesson with Marlon Humphrey.
JOE TRYON – appealing EDGE target, won’t be around long after Rd 1.