Brrrrrrrrr………….it’s cold and chilly in beautiful Baltimore, as we sit here with our beloved Ravens absent from the playoffs for the first time in the last six years! We are not used to this, so we’ll turn our attention to the NFL draft a little earlier than usual. I polled some fellow draftniks and got a consensus as to who we thought the Ravens could potentially target in the first 3 rounds of this year’s draft. Here we go:
Possible Round 1 targets
- Mike Evans – WR, Texas A&M
- Kalil Mack – DE/LB, Buffalo
- C.J. Mosley – MLB, Alabama
- Taylor Lewan – LT, Michigan
- Cyrus Kouandjio – LT, Alabama
- Haha Clinton Dix – FS, Alabama
- Jason Verrett – CB, TCU
- Stephon Truitt – DE, Notre Dame
- Louis Nix – DT, Notre Dame
- Antonio Richardson – OT Tennessee
- Jace Amaro – TE, Texas Tech
- Eric Ebron – TE, UNC
- Marquise Lee – WR, Southern California
Round 2 targets
- Shayne Skov – ILB, Stanford
- James Hurst – OT, UNC
- Bradley Roby – CB, Ohio State
- Lache Seastrunk – RB, Baylor
- Devonte Adams – WR, Fresno State
- Stanley Jean-Baptist – CB, Nebraska
- Brandin Cooks – WR, Oregon State
- Brian Stork – OC, FSU
- CJ Fiedorowizsc – TE, Iowa
- Craig Loston – FS, LSU
- Ja’Wuan James – OT, Tennessee
- Lamarcus Joyner – FS/CB, FSU
Round 3 targets
- Carlos Hyde – RB, Ohio State
- Kyle Fuller – FS, Virginia Tech
- Loucheiz Purifoy – CB, Florida
- Zach Mettenberger – QB, LSU
- Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
- Denzel Perryman – ILB, Miami
- Kurtis Drummond – FS, Michigan State
- Travis Swanson – OC, Arkansas
- Kenny Ladler – GS, Vanderbilt
- Brandon Coleman – WR, Rutgers
- Donte Moncrief – WR, Ole Miss
- Terrance West – RB, Towson
We put this list together before the Ravens “State of the Team” press conference today, and we all found Ozzie Newsome’s comments very telling, in what he thought the teams needs would be in the upcoming off-season. Ozzie last year said that he was looking to build his defense up the middle, and he did just that when he drafted Matt Elam, Arthur Brown, and Brandon Williams. He got a defensive tackle, a middle linebacker, as well as a strong safety. According to Ozzie, this year the Ravens will first and foremost focus on the trenches – specifically the interior of the offensive line!
I’d look for the team to draft a center, and either a guard or a tackle relatively high in the draft. What they do will be dictated by what happens with left tackle Eugene Monroe. The Ravens gave up a 3rd and a 4th round draft pick, so I can’t imagine that they will not extend his contract. Michael Oher is a free agent, and I do not foresee a scenario where he comes back.
Ozzie said that he needs to get Joe Flacco a certain “type” of receiver. Will he go after one in the mold of Anquan Boldin? The tough guy that will fight for the ball, pound defensive backs into the ground with crushing blocks, and bring an intimidating presence to the offense? Will they go after an Alshon Jefferies type? A tall but not real fast receiver that can out jump and out muscle smaller defenders for the ball? Perhaps Mike Evans from Texas A&M? Or a polished route runner that can get separation such as USC’s Marqise Lee?
And how about the tight end position? Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson are both free agents! Pitta is also 2 years older than members of his draft class, because he served a mission overseas. He is also coming off of a significant injury! But he is a proven and a polished receiver, and may get an offer from another team that is too high to match! At that point, does Ozzie pick Amaro, Sefarian-Jenkins, or Ebron – 3 highly touted tight ends with his first pick? Or does he wait until the second round and get CJ Federowicz out of Iowa, a 6’6″ mauler?
Then there’s the Free Safety that Ozzie so desperately wants! The centerfielder, the Ed Reed type! He has his in-the-box thumper in the form of young Matt Elam, so now he turns his attention to his playmaker! Does he go after Alabama’s “Ha-Ha” Clinton Dix – who should be available at the end of round one. And we know that Ozzie likes to trade back! Plus Clinton-Dix is from Alabama, Ozzie’s alma matter! Sounds like a plan to me! There are some free safeties available in the free agent market, but I do not expect the Ravens to be too active there, as they still have cap space limitations. Jairus Byrd is available, and could merit consideration.
Well, that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for more draft updates soon!