Now I know some of you might say why should I care, or I don’t even watch the draft, but one thing you should realize if you have not watched the draft before is that it really gets the juices flowing and it builds excitement for the prospect of the upcoming season. I cannot tell you how excited I get when the Ravens make a selection, any selection for that matter. I was super pumped about getting Tom Zbikowski in the third round last year because of his reputation as a hard nosed player and an amateur boxer (now professional). I envisioned him laying Steelers out all over the field and knocking heads, specifically that of someone whose name sounds like a brand of ketchup. If you are at all a fan of football I implore you to check out the draft. The over analysis of every single player gets monotonous after a while but it can make the Ravens last choice in the sixth round this year sound like an all-pro. There is nothing like seeing someone’s dream come true for them and it really makes you feel good (unless the person was sitting in the green room forever but that is another topic).
This year it seems like Ozzie will have plenty of talented players to pick from at number 26. He has done a lot of heavy lifting late in the first round with outstanding selections like Ray Lewis at 26, Todd Heap at 31, Ed Reed at 24, and Ben Grubbs at 29. Of course Ozzie’s track record in the first round is impeccable with selections such as Ogden, Boulware, McCallister, Jamal Lewis, Suggs, Ngata, and even Duane Starks (who I think was very underrated during his time here in Baltimore) in the first round. Considering the depth the Ravens have been able to acquire through free agency they are in a position to select the best player available when they are on the clock and that is when Ozzie is in his full glory.
I have two thoughts on how the Ravens draft should go down. My first thought is that some team will inevitably want to trade back into the first round to select a tackle such as Eben Britton of Arizona or William Beatty of Connecticut, much like the Falcons did last year when they traded back into the first round to select Sam Baker a left tackle from USC. Mark my words there will be a run on tackles somewhere in the first round and no team in need of a tackle wants to be without a player when the music stops. As a side note, this type of scenario sets teams up to make a big mistake as the Texans found out last year with their selection of Duane Brown from Virginia Tech with their first pick. Ozzie, being the shrewd mastermind he is, should trade pick 26 to a tackle starved team for a package of picks. Definitely a high second rounder this year (there should be a lot of value there) and a lower round pick possibly a fifth.
My second thought would be to keep pick 26 and select the best wide receiver available. The Ravens have plenty of cornerback depth with the resigning of Samari Rolle, and the free agent acquisitions of Domonique Foxworth, and Chris Carr, to go along with Frank Walker and Fabian Washington, that they won’t need to draft a player of that position. The Ravens have long needed to upgrade their offensive weaponry and took a great step toward that by drafting Joe Flacco last year and now it’s time to find him a running mate.
I have read about a thousand mock drafts and most individuals predict that the Ravens will select Darius Heyward-Bey from Maryland. First of all I think some team will get silly and select him way before the Ravens’ selection. Also for someone like myself who watched him play for the Terps over the years, I don’t think he is a good fit. He has all the measureables but he doesn’t catch the ball well, he drops a lot of passes. Heyward-Bey may not have hands of stone like Braylon Edwards or alligator arms like Clarence Moore, but again he just doesn’t catch the ball well. Catching the ball is the point of being a receiver. Another thing I noticed is that he made big plays, but they were seldom in big situations and teams always seemed to shut him down if they tried. Seeing press coverage could stunt his development at the NFL level.
The player I feel has a chance to be there when the Ravens select and the player I feel they should draft is Kenny Britt of Rutgers. I don’t have any direct contact with the team but it would seem logical that while scouting Ray Rice last year they may have inquired about Britt. Players are generally better off when they stay for their senior year but Britt was the most dynamic receiver in the Big East last year and a true number one target for his team. By all accounts he runs good routes, and catches the ball extremely well. He is 6-3 215 lbs., he is a physical blocker who benched 225 lbs. 23 times, he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.4 seconds, and best of all he is only 20 years old. Britt has some off the field issues and he is said to lack motivation at times but I remember people said that about Randy Moss too. I feel Britt represents too much value to pass on if he is still there at 26.