Fortunately, we’ve had the pleasure around here of not having to start thinking about the next year’s draft until late January the past two seasons (unlike dismal 2007, where we started thinking draft around November-ish). Admittedly, I take a very unscientific approach to my mock drafts. I’m the first to admit that the true draft geeks amongst you, dear readers, would probably be better served getting your information elsewhere (Glenn Clark, for one). These posts are done knowing full well that 1000’s of variables will come into effect between now and the time the Ravens turn in their pick for the first round, and that literally anything can happen. However, that being said, chances are I won’t be appreciably further off on my predictions than any of the other “gurus” out there will turn out to be.
So, if you are just looking for some fun, informal Draft information, I hope I can provide it to some degree.
We now know that the Ravens will be picking 25th (in the absence of any trading to be done of course) this year.
As I typically do then, I’ll look at the 25th ranked player on some “big boards” from around the web.
Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Scouts, Inc. has Robinson as their #2 ranked CB currently (Number 1 being Florida’s Joe Hayden). The senior, listed at 5’11” 194 lb, started 12 games for the Seminoles in 2009 and totaled 36 tackles while leading the team with 11 passes defended and two forced fumbles. He had six interceptions during his sophomore season in 2007, but then just 1 in 2008 and none in 2009. Perhaps this was a result of teams deciding to pretty much steer clear of Robinson after his big sophomore year, a la a Nnamdi Asomougha in the NFL.
During the first half of the 2009 season, most Ravens fans would be overjoyed if you told them Ozzie & Co. would end up taking Robinson in the first round. The Ravens’ secondary was dismal up until the bye week. However, they really turned things on after that, as Dominique Foxworth picked up his game, and they started getting significant contributions from guys like Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Dawan Landry, and even Frank Walker (to an extent). Pass defense doesn’t look to be as high a priority for Owings Mills as it would have seemed in early October. The health of guys like Webb and Fabian Washington will also have to play into this equation. Foxworth’s big free agent contract is another issue, as the Ravens may be hesitant to tie up more first round money in a CB.
On the other hand, a strong young cornerback duo of Webb and Robinson could have the Ravens set at the position for years to come. Not to mention, Robinson rocks the dreadlocks like Webb does, and nobody can say no to having TWO be-dreaded guys in the defensive backfield.
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame
Ah, Mr. Tate. This is one that is sure to have Ravens fans salivating. Tate is the fourth WR on McGuire’s board, behind Damien Williams of USC, Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State, and Brandon Lafell of LSU. Tate, entering the draft following his junior season at ND, does not have prototypical WR size, though, at just 5’11” 195.
FFToolbox.com has this to say about Tate:
He is quick off the line and is able to reach top speed (4.44) within a couple of steps. Tate uses moves and hands to get off press coverage. With excellent straight up speed and quickness, Tate is able to make the first defender miss on regular bases. Tate has good, strong hands, and is routinely showing off his ability to catch the ball away from his body. He does not fumble easy and has played for a conventional, drop back passer his whole career at Notre Dame.
However, Tate needs to do a better job in the Red Zone. His footwork needs more polish and he is not the most physical wide out prospect. He tends to shy away from contact, and his route running also needs more development.
Many Ravens fans would jump at the opportunity to have ANY first round WR talent on this roster, and there is no doubt, especially after the way the last two seasons have ended, that getting Joe Flacco more weapons needs to be at or near the top of the offseason priority list. However, we also need to be careful to not reach at WR – consider the last two wideouts this team has taken (and whiffed on) in the first round – Travis Taylor and Mark Clayton. Most agree that this draft class is stocked at the WR position, so waiting until round two or three may be the smart play here, rather than going with another sub-six footer on the outside.