All right, here is my “highly anticipated” final NFL Mock Draft:
Round 2, pick 35 – I fully expect the Ravens to trade out of round one, in order to have two picks in the second round and two picks in the third. Marcus Wheaton is the pick here. This speedy wide receiver out of Oregon State has all of the tools to enhance the Ravens’ passing game. He is very physical, and he will give the running game a lift by mauling defensive backs all over the field!
Round 2, pick 54 – D.J. Swearinger is the pick here. I’ve mocked him to the Ravens from day 1, and I’m not stopping now. This thumper out of South Carolina is a tremendous leader, and he will compete for a starting spot at safety opposite of Michael Huff.
Round 3, pick 70 – Barrett Jones out of Alabama becomes a Raven! This tremendous offensive lineman gives the Ravens multiple options across the offensive line. This is the one key pick in the Ravens’ draft, in the sense that it gives them so many options. It protects the team if Gino Gradkwoski struggles at center, or if he gets injured. In the event that Kelechi Osemele does in fact man the critical left tackle spot, the former Outland Trophy winner can play guard. He can even play tackle – which isn’t his best spot – where he’ll be no worse than Michael Oher.
Round 3, 94 – Reid Freigel from Ohio State. The Ravens are high on the tenacious left tackle. This 6’7″ 300 pound monster would have a chance to start. Juan Castillo is a tremendous offensive line coach, and will do wonders with this young man, as well as the rest of the offensive line. I know Ozzie said he wants to rebuild the defense, and he’s done a real good job of that through free agency, but…..like me he is very much a “trench” guy, and knows how important it is to keep his $120 million dollar quarterback upright! The other thing is this – as much noise has been made about Flacco and the passing game, this team will run the ball – a lot – in 2013. With Rice and Pierce, you can bet on that!
Round 4, 129 – Brandon Jenkins out of FSU. This outside linebacker will bring the heat behind Sizzle and Doom! He is lightning quick and had 21.5 sacks in two seasons prior injuring his foot last year. The Ravens can afford to bring him along slowly to make sure that he is 100% healthy before he hits the field, but when he does……look out!
Round 4, 130 – Kevin Reddick out of North Carolina. This downhill inside linebacker is a terrific blitzer, a team captain, and great value here! He gives the team an intimidation presence, depth, and competition for Rolando McClain (if Rolando is cleared and welcomed back).
Round 5, 165 – Jordan Campbell give the Ravens back to back inside linebackers, and like Reddick he is a good one! He’s a bit under the radar, as he’s transferred schools a couple of times, but this New Mexico product looks a lot like Ray Lewis in his prime when you look at his tape. I know that’s a lofty comparison, but when he hits ball carriers, they seem to always go backwards!
Round 5, 168 – Kyle Juszczyk is a fullback out of Harvard that would make a great fit in the Ravens’ offense! He has better hands than Vonta Leach, and is a real thumper as a lead blocker between the tackles. He really is a willing blocker, and a high character guy.
Round 5 175 – Quanterus Smith is a rush end out of Western Kentucky. I picture him coming to the Ravens courtesy of a trade, where the Ravens package their 200th and 238th pick to move in order to get him. The team values players that can bring heat and get after the quarterback, and Smith is a good bet to do that.
Round 6, 199 – Michael Williams is a tight end that I’ve mocked to the Ravens as early as one year ago. He is sets the edge real well for his running back, has soft hands, and has won a couple of championships on his Alabama squad. We know Oz likes ‘Bama players, and for good reason!
Round 6,203 – Nathan Johnson from Ohio State is selected. This hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end has a super high motor. He plays like his hair is on fire, he’s very scrappy, has no quit in him, and would be a great value at this spot.
Round 7, 247 – Kejuan Riley out of Alabama State. You heard it here first folks, remember that! This free safety not only has good size and speed (he compares favorably to our own James Ihedigbo), he also had a nose for the ball, as he intercepted 16 passes over the last two seasons. He is also an excellent special teams players, which is a prerequisite for any late draft pick with hopes of making this team.