Draft prognostication could easily re-brand itself as mental masturbation.
Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Walt Cherepinsky, and anyone else regarded as an “expert” on who might choose who in next week’s NFL Draft, is merely taking a wild guess.
Things change. Deals evolve. GMs get pick-happy. No one really knows what’s going to unfold in next Thursday’s first round, let alone the next six rounds that will carry on through the weekend.
Considering the track record of GM Ozzie Newsome, as well as today’s new that he openly stated the team is already fielding calls and offers to trade out of its first round spot, it’s nearly impossible to predict–with any degree of accuracy–who the Baltimore Ravens will select.
Instead of predicting via traditional mock-draft style, in this series, we’ll do a deep-dive into some of the potential early-round picks and their likelihood of donning a purple jersey this fall.
The following players, in one way or another, have the best shot at being the Ravens’ first draft pick–whether that pick comes at 17 or doesn’t happen until the second-round, these are the players that it’s safe to assume the Ravens have the most interest in–partly due to position, mostly due to talent on the board.
In the coming week, this series will highlight each of these players individually.
Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan: Will likely be long-gone by pick 17–unless his off-the-field issues turn out to be more troublesome than originally thought.
Zach Martin, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame: Originally thought as a mid-first-rounder, it’s looking more likely that he will be closer to the first-half of the first-round.
Morgan Moses, Offensive Tackle, Virginia: Depending on who you talk to and who you read, Moses is a fringe-first-rounder with a lot of upside. The only issue is that he is a true left tackle–where the Ravens need a right.
Cyrus Kouandijo, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: Even though he has tremendous size (6-6, 322) he’s been labeled as un-athletic and slow–also has a history of knee issues.
JaWuan James, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee: A smart, high-character player, he lacks footwork and polish.
Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina: A true playmaker and matchup nightmare, there’s little chance he’ll be available after pick 12.
Troy Niklas, Tight End, Notre Dame: Not a first-rounder, he could be a player the Ravens consider if they do trade out of the first round and pick up a second, second-round pick.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama: Originally thought to be one of the Ravens’ favorites, he’s crept much further up the board, perhaps into the top-10.
Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville: It’s possible he’ll be available at pick-17, the only problem is that he’ll be there because other teams are shying away from him due to his inability to make big defensive plays.
Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback, Michigan State: One of the most talented corners in the draft, it’s likely he won’t fall as far as 17, but if he does, don’t be surprised if the Ravens don’t take a hard look.
Bradley Roby, Cornerback, Ohio State: It’s unlikely the Ravens would take him at 17, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech: See comment on Roby.
Justin Gilbert, Cornerback, Oklahoma State: A fringe-first rounder, he’s more likely a candidate to be taken in the second-round, should be be there when the Ravens hit the clock.
Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State: An absolute burner, the Ravens will certainly kick the tires if players like Lewan and Clinton-Dix are off-the-board.
Cody Latimer, Wide Receiver, Indiana: It’s possible, barring a trade out of the first round, armed with two second-round picks, the Ravens would take a flier on this boom-or-bust pick.
Carlos Hyde, Running Back, Ohio State: Probably not really on the Ravens’ radar, but he’s the number-one back in the draft–a true position of need.
Terrance West, Running Back, Towson: The local product could very well be a second-round target for his hometown team.
CJ Mosely, Linebacker, Alabama: Considering Newsome’s affinity for his alma mater, this isn’t too much of a stretch.
Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UCLA: This could be a dark horse pick, as Barr is a pass-rushing specialist with a ton of upside–he could be the “best player on the board” by the time the Ravens pick at 17.
Stay tuned for individual analysis–”MM”–on each of these players.