The Ravens – as usual – can go in many directions with not only their 26th pick of the first round, but with the rest of their picks as well. I think that – organizationally speaking – they’ve learned that their draft picks must have good character. Coach John Harbaugh has proven that he can win with those players, and they will pay much better dividends – and in multiple ways – than their bad character counterparts. That is why I’ve taken CB Marcus Peters off of their board. The Ravens cannot afford to miss on their 1st round selection. That player has to be “clean”, has to contribute, has to get on the field almost immediately. Here’s what my reshuffled draft board looks like:
1. Quinten Rollins – CB, Miami (Ohio). He has “Ravens player” written all over him, and we all saw that the Ravens were one quality corner from going to the ‘ship last year, and maybe winning it all. All you need to do is watch tape of him at the Senior Bowl, and you’ll clearly see that he can flat out play. Fluid hips, good anticipation, comes up in run support – everything you’d want in a corner.
2. Just Hardy – WR, East Carolina. Although I’d like to see him back, I don’t think Torrey Smith is going to sign with the Ravens. I see another team breaking the bank to get him. The Ravens have a nice group of developing young receivers (Aiken, Campanero, Brown, and don’t forget Jeremy Butler), and Hardy is a sure handed game ready receiver.
3. Stevie Nelson – CB, Oregon State. “Mighty Mouse” is a scrappy cornerback who also comes up big in run support. Ozzie Newsome has always said that you can’t have enough corners. Last year the Ravens ran out, and Ozzie makes sure it doesn’t happen again.
4. David Johnson – RB, Northern Iowa. Big back with nimble feet, soft hands out of the backfield. He’s the type of back that will thrive in a Marc Trestman offense. Ravens need to go get him, as I don’t expect Bernard Pierce to be back.
4. Jeff Heuerman – TE, Ohio State. He can play, but didn’t get too many targets by his QBs at Ohio State. Still, he’s a quality player, and will form a nice combo with Crockett Gillmore.
5. Marcus Hardison – DT, Arizona State. Very agile and active player. Great value here, particularly with age and injuries along the defensive line.
6. Taiwan Jones – ILB, Michigan State. Big thumper who shined in the East-West Shrine Bowl. Old school linebacker who plays with a nasty disposition.
6. Max Valles – OLB, Virginia. Quick first step, edge rusher who had 9 sacks last season. Young player who was going to stay in school, but changed his mind and came out early. Moldable clay here to develop behind Dumervil and Suggs.
7. Ryan Delaire – DE, Towson. Invited to the NFL combine, this UMass transfer has been a standout for the Tigers. Really long arms and a great burst off of the edge.
7. Kyle Loomis – P, Portland State. Still going with a punter here.