Over the last month, Jason and Jerry have gone through nearly every single scenario for the Ravens.
Will they finally make a move for a dynamic pass catcher? Are they going to try to get in on a pass rusher? Or will they ultimately trade down and draft an O-lineman, as the Ravens are wont to do?
The situation is obviously very fluid given the amount of possibilities that stand in the way ahead of that 16th overall pick.
Let’s run down some of the possibilities, according to Jason and Jerry:
Wide Receiver/Tight End
It’s pretty safe to say that the vast majority of Ravens fans out there want to see the team finally land on an impact offensive playmaker in the first round. Mike Williams, the Clemson hero who helped deliver a National Championship for his team, has been the name mentioned most among fans and the local punditry.
The Ravens have also been linked to other WR’s such as Washington speedster John Ross and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, but the appeal of taking a receiver might be overstated. As our own Jason La Canfora mentioned weeks back, the Ravens’ need for a playmaking pass-catcher doesn’t necessarily have to be filled at Wide Receiver. In contrast to more stacked WR draft classes, this year’s offering is much thinner at the top.
According to virtually all mock drafts, it seems Tight End O.J. Howard will be off the board by Baltimore’s #16 pick. However, we were told not to be surprised if the Ravens go with a TE, assuming the pieces fall correctly into place. While the Ravens may have a number of players under contract at that position, they can ill afford passing up the opportunity to add a gamechanging pass-catcher, even if it’s not necessarily at the Wide Receiver position.
From what is readily available, many mock drafts forecast the Ravens as very much part of the pass rusher/linebacker party in the first round. With the likes of Derek Barnett (Tennessee), Takkaris McKinley (UCLA), Hasson Reddick (Temple), Reuben Foster (Alabama), and even more projected to be available at or around the middle of the first round, the Ravens have an opportunity to add a significant playmaker on the other side of the ball as well.
According to our Jason La Canfora, the Ravens have been keeping close tabs on Foster despite recent reports of a diluted drug test. Ozzie Newsome’s relationship with Alabama football goes without saying, but it appears every prominent Alabama player may be on the Ravens first round draft board. O.J. Howard was mentioned earlier, and to add on top of Foster, other Crimson Tide defensive standouts remain possibilities — such as Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson.
With Zachary Orr’s sudden retirement and Terrell Suggs’ impending one, inserting a high-upside difference maker next to C.J. Mosely or on the outside would be huge for the legendary defensive culture on the Ravens.
John Harbaugh himself has mentioned the team’s interest in adding a big play running back, but Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette look like longshots to drop to Baltimore at #16.
For the first time in recent memory, the Ravens look like they have a near-totally shored up defensive secondary, so no worries there.
The Ravens are indeed in need of additional help on the offensive line, but as Jason mentioned a few weeks ago, it seems the 2017 NFL Draft is one of the weakest for top-end linemen in recent memory. Look for the birds to draft some big men later in the draft.
And lastly, the annual Ozzie Newsome in-draft trade is always a wild card. Though, as we discussed this week on the podcast, it doesn’t seem as though that’s a likelihood — at least when it comes to the first round.
The Ravens seem to be in one of the least predictable positions of the entire draft with their Round 1, Pick 16 selection. It seems every mock draft you pull up, a different player shows up next to the Ravens. According to SportsBettingDime.com, the Ravens are looking for their next great pass rusher. ESPN NFL Nation says Baltimore will pass up on Mike Williams in favor of guard Forrest Lamp. NFL.com‘s cavalcade of writers unanimously said the birds will go with a pass catcher — but the four scribes chose three different players.
However, when it comes to Birdland and B-More Opinionated, two opinions reign supreme. Our final predictions:
Jerry Coleman – Mike Williams (WR, Clemson)
Jason La Canfora – Reuben Foster (LB, Alabama)
Tune into next week’s pod for full 20/20 hindsight!