As I have watched several days of NFL Combine, I had to lift my head up because my wife has turned on the Oscars Red Carpet Live Crap. I thought “What a perfect opportunity to write some thoughts about the Draft and the Ravens”. So here we go.
The first thing you do when reviewing the Ravens as a team going into the draft is to look at their roster and listen, actually listen, to Ozzie. With 2 months to go before the draft, we have entered “Everybody is Lying” season. But for now I will take Ozzie at his word.
We have our QB for next year and many years to come. End the Peyton Manning question here in Baltimore. Joe Flacco is our QB and that is that. AND we are damn lucky to have him.
Ray Rice is about to have the franchise tag placed on him and that will translate into a long term deal. I am looking forward to the next 5 to 8 years of these two leading the Ravens. With Ricky Williams retiring, the Ravens might address the backup running back position in the draft, but I don’t it. Ozzie just said he is willing to let rookie Anthony Allen have the chance to earn the backup spot. And don’t forget it wasn’t until right before camp last year before the Ravens signed Ricky to be the back up and I would not be surprised if the Ravens didn’t wait until right before camp begins. My guess is the Ravens might give Clinton Portis a shot. Just a guess.
The TE position is one where I don’t think the Ravens will address at all in the draft.
The WR position is a much discussed draft need, and one I simply do not agree with. The Baltimore Ravens have NEVER had a top 2 receiver core better than they do now with veteran “Q” and rookie speedster Torrey Smith. I love these 2 as the Ravens top 2 receivers. If the Ravens want to draft a big, tall WR in the later rounds to compete with Laquan Williams and Tanden Doss, than great. However I don’t want the Ravens to reach for a WR, and I doubt Ozzie will do that. So I think the Ravens might draft a WR late in the draft. Also, I would not be shocked if they didn’t draft any WR and maybe sign a veteran late in the process. In fact, I would not be opposed to the Ravens bringing in Randy Moss to see if he can earn a spot on this roster.
The big offensive need that can and should be addressed in this draft is the offensive line. The Ravens have Marshal Yanda locked up for many years. He has played RT and RG. Those has been some discussion about moving him to LG if(I mean when) Ben Grubbs leave via free agency. I like it. Michael Oher is a real good tackle and he appears to have found a home on the right side of the line. I suggest the Ravens let him stay there. Bryant McKinnie was signed late and came in and did a fabulous job as the LT last year. I think he has at least 1 really good year left in him. The Ravens drafted a massive kid a couple of years ago named Ramon Harewood to play tackle. He has spent 2 years on the injured list, but I think that if he is fully healed then he can easily back up both tackle positions next year and may even develop into a starter. The news broke over the weekend that center Matt Birk does not want to retire. That’s great but Matt has all his best years behind him. I think the Ravens inability to get critical short yardage gains all year long can be directly linked to the subtle and continual downgraded play of Matt Birk. I love Matt, but his best years were yesterday. The Ravens also have rookie Jah Reid coming back for his second season. He was drafted as a RT but there has been a lot of discussion about him playing LG.
Now we have some problems. Ben Grubbs is probably leaving, backup veteran Andre Gurode was just on a one year contract. And again Matt Birk is no answer as the starting center. Fortunately the interior offensive line position is the single deepest position in this year’s draft. I would not be surprised if the Ravens draft 2 interior linemen and maybe even with their first pick, number 29 overall. If they did that it would have to be for Wisconsin center Peter Konz. Peter is a 10 year starting center in the NFL waiting to find a home. The word on Peter Konz is that he “plays like a Raven”. We will NEVER go wrong making selections like this.
I think the Ravens will go another direction with their first pick and will have to tap into this drafts depth and take several interior linemen later in the draft. I like Mike Brewster from Ohio State, David Molk from Michigan, Lucas Nix and Chris Jacabson from Pitt, Ben Jones from Georgia, Kevin Zeitler from Wisconsin and William Vlachos from Alabama. This kind of draft strategy has been employed by Ozzie for a long time and I expect nothing different this year.
As the draft process moves ahead I will be posting a lot of updates as I love this part of the year.