The wait is almost over. Draft Day Weekend is upon us. Goodell moved the crown jewel of the offseason back another couple of weeks to cocktease us like the knockout slut at the end of the bar. Brilliant move, especially with this being one of the most talked about drafts in recent memory. The anticipation is killing me.
Quick synopsis of the Ravens draft situation. This is Ozzie Newsome’s bread and butter. His track record speaks for itself. He picked a pair of first-ballot HOFers with his first two picks in Baltimore, among countless other savvy late round selections. He’s incredibly hard to predict because he’s prone to trading back and stockpiling picks. He also has a history of taking the best player available. This year brings him 8 picks to play with, 4 of them being compensation picks because he was smart enough to let the Danell Ellerbe’s and Cary Williams’ of the world walk in free agency last year. They are as follows:
1st Round (17th overall)
2nd Round (48)
3rd Round (79)
3rd Round (99); compensatory
4th Round (134); compensatory
4th Round (138); compensatory
5th Round (175); compensatory
6th Round (194)
Based on how deep the talent is in this years’ class, I think this is a year he moves back in the first round and picks up another pick or two to use later. The front office’s research has shown that the back end of the draft is as big a function of luck as it is skill, and more picks means better odds of drafting the next Richard Sherman. Today we’re going to look at the offense by position, and tomorrow we’ll cover the other side of the ball. Let’s get to it.
Baltimore is in the market for a backup QB. Coach Harbs has come out and said that Tyrod Taylor has been less than impressive in his 3 years in Baltimore, so his days appear to be numbered. The way I see it, one of those comp picks will be used on AJ McCarron, Derek Carr, or Aaron Murray (I’m writing Zach Mettenberger off after news of his back condition came out this morning). I’m pulling for McCarron. Has the widely known winning pedigree and can manage a football game, plus this blogger NEEDS Katherine Webb in the stands on Sundays.
We’ve touched on the running back situation a bit. The Ray Rice situation is disgusting and I’ll leave it at that. Ozzie has maintained that they were dead set on drafting a back regardless of the result of his case. I’m looking at the 99th pick, and Tre Mason and Andre Williams are the big names projected to go in that round. My prediction is that they’ll take the hometown kid, Terrance West. He’s been rising up draft boards and is already boys with Bernard Pierce. He has tree trunks for legs, and runs inside the tackles well. Could be a force in the red zone.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Not an area of need, but an area we could build on for the future. Lot of reports are saying the Ravens are high on UNC TE Eric Ebron, but I’m not buying it. The Ravens don’t show their hand, that’s just a fact. It’s clearly a ploy to get somebody to take him earlier and have a more talented player fall back to them (hopefully a tackle). As for wide receivers, I have a confession to make. I am a million percent gay for Mike Evans. So perfect for our offense. He’s gonna be a stud wherever he goes. Bad news is he simply won’t fall to the 17th pick, so we’d have to move up to get him. More likely scenario would be waiting to take a big receiver like Kelvin Benjamin or Jordan Matthews with the 48th pick or another receiver later on, and a blocking TE as well.
This is the position to watch. Right now, the O-line moving left to right is Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah, Marshal Yanda… and Rick Wagner. Gonna need to do something about right tackle. This class is top-heavy at tackle, and the top 5 may be gone by the 17th pick. We’d be lucky to have Zack Martin or Morgan Moses fall back to us, and I don’t see us moving up to get a tackle. My prediction is that if a name we don’t love at 17 is on the board, we may move back in the first or early second round and take a name like Joel Bitonio or Cyrus Kouandjio. Either way, we’re an improvement at RT away from having a REAL solid O-line again, and that’ll do wonders for the offense.
Defense coming up tomorrow.