As we sit just two days from the 2019 NFL Draft, things are heating up around the Mock Draft world. Ravens Nation is excited to see who will be added to the roster.
What Eric DeCosta does in his first draft as Ravens general manager will be highly scrutinized because there are quite a few holes to fill on this team.
The needs are obvious to the fan base but that doesn’t always mean they are viewed as the needs in-house at the castle. Interior offensive line, EDGE (pass rusher), and wide receiver highlight the list for the Ravens fanbase as the draft approaches. Their hierarchy may vary person to person:
I don’t care what the numbers say and how much they like him, the Ravens can certainly upgrade from Matt Skura at center. He performed admirably at the position in 2018, but he’s not the long term answer. As far as left guard is concerned, Alex Lewis is meh at best and hasn’t proven the ability to stay on the field enough for the Ravens to feel content there.
Maybe the Ravens could draft Erik McCoy from Texas A&M or Garrett Bradbury out of North Carolina State to play center in the first round and move Skura back to his natural position of left guard. I am not sure that Skura is an NFL-caliber guard either, but his performance at center left a lot to be desired especially in the playoff Chargers loss. It is also possible that the Ravens draft one of these guys in the first round and move them to left guard.
Some later round interior offensive linemen to keep an eye on include Connor McGovern out of Penn State. His run blocking is superior to his pass pro work. He’s played at both center and guard. For a team that appears to be building itself to be a run game juggernaut, count me in for a guy that appears NFL ready in that regard.
If the Ravens choose to value the EDGE position at 22, there are certainly some options that would excite the fanbase. With Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith departing, it certainly represents an area of need as the Ravens are thin at pass rusher outside of Matt Judon.
Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver appear to be shoe-ins and gone by the time the Ravens pick at 22. Wishful thinking would have the Ravens landing Montez Sweat out of Mississippi State or Brian Burns out of Florida State. Those two also are likely to be off the board as well.
A name to watch for at 22 and one of the more common names mocked to the Ravens over the past few weeks is Clemson pass rusher Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell was a three-year starter for the Tigers over their run of two championships in three seasons. He recorded 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss last season. He was also twice named an All-American in 2017 and 2018. Sign me up for Ferrell at 22.
As far as some players to watch after round one, I’d like to see the Ravens take a look at Jachai Polite out of Florida, Chase Winovich out of Michigan or Oshane Ximines out of Old Dominion. Polite was on his way to being a first-round pick before a rough draft process led to him falling down draft boards nation wide. He finished with 11 sacks last season and 19.5 tackles for loss. He has some effort concerns, but an NFL locker room can work those out.
Watching Winovich play last season had me dreaming of him in purple and black. He appears to have what it takes to “Play Like a Raven.” He never takes plays off and his motor is relentless. He is currently projected in the third round. For me, he would be a really nice get for the Ravens.
Ximines failed to see the best competition at Old Dominion which is a factor in his current fourth round projection. A four-year starter for the Monarchs, Ximines notched 32.5 sacks and 51 tackles for loss. If the Ravens are looking for a nice value pick on Day 2, Ximines makes a ton of sense.
As far as the wide receiver position is concerned, the Ravens could desperately use a difference-maker in this draft. There a lot of nice receivers in this draft, but the consensus is that the group lacks #1 receivers. The Ravens could certainly look to go this direction in round one and the most common player linked to them here is D.K. Metcalf.
Metcalf is physical freak. It’s the staying-on-the-field issues that concern me with him. He suffered a fractured ankle is 2016 and neck injury in 2018, ending his season prematurely both times. He also had a 10.3% drop rate in 2018 as well. Remember Breshad Perriman? This is the Incredible Hulk version of him.
If the Ravens take Metcalf at 22, most nationally wouldn’t blame them. If they choose to address their other needs during round one, some other receivers to look at in the later rounds are Kelvin Harmon out of NC State, JJ Arcega-Whiteside out of Stanford, and DaMarkus Lodge out of Ole Miss.
Harmon is a guy for me that I would love to see Baltimore get in third round or later of this draft. He has an incredible catch radius, strong hands, and makes a ton of contested catches. These are all things the Ravens should be looking for as Lamar Jackson continues continues to grow as a passer.
Arcega-Whiteside hauled in 14 touchdown passes last season and is a red zone monster. He is currently projected as third-rounder but the Ravens should not be limiting themselves in the way of receiver selections as the current group has just three guys with NFL experience in Willie Snead IV, Seth Roberts, and Chris Moore.
Lodge was a college teammate of Metcalf at Ole Miss and tallied 65 catches for 877 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season. He appears to be more of a project at this time, but the Ravens have to be able to develop a wideouts eventually right? A late-round flier on Lodge makes sense.
The Ravens currently have five picks in the first four rounds in the NFL draft. Of course that can all change as it is possible that trades will be made leading up to the draft or on draft night. Assuming they make five picks in the first four rounds they need to walk away with all three of these areas addressed.
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