Each week brings a new round of mock drafts.
Here’s our latest look at some of the recent projections for what the Ravens will do with the 16th overall pick in April and my reaction to the potential selection:
Vea is a physical freak. He’s 6 feet 4 and 344 pounds, and the Huskies used him at times as an edge rusher. His size, strength and athleticism have spurred some comparisons to former Raven Haloti Ngata. Vea is the consensus top interior defensive lineman available, but some scouts aren’t certain he’ll be much more than a very good run stuffer in the NFL.
My reaction: McShay’s projection came out a couple of days after Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti joked about the unlikelihood of the team using a first-round round pick on a defensive tackle. Vea is a stud and almost a lock as a first-round pick, but it probably won’t be by the Ravens. While they adhere to the “best player available” philosophy, there probably would be a fan mutiny if general manager Ozzie Newsome took a run-stopping defensive tackle in the first round.
Williams’ predraft projections have been all over the map. He’s been listed by some draft analysts as a top-10 pick, but others have him going much later in the first round. Still, he’s almost unanimously viewed as a top-three tackle despite an underwhelming 2017 season during which Williams fought through injuries. At 6-6 and 320 pounds, he's a very good run blocker.
My reaction: This is touted as a very good draft for offensive linemen and while it’s not the Ravens’ biggest need, they certainly could use to get a little stronger up front. This draft just doesn’t feature a bunch of elite skill-position players on the offensive side of the ball, so nobody should be surprised if the Ravens’ best option at 16 consists of beefing up their offensive line. Williams certainly fits the profile.
McGlinchey is widely considered the top offensive tackle in the draft. A first cousin of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, McGlinchey is an NFL-ready offensive tackle with good athleticism, technique and instincts. At 6-8 and 312 pounds, he has room to add more bulk and strength, but he’s polished enough to start immediately at either tackle spot.
My reaction: It would probably be considered a coup for the Ravens if McGlinchey were still available when they’re on the clock. It isn’t certain that veteran Austin Howard, who started all 16 games at right tackle in 2017, will be back, and the Ravens don’t have a projectable young tackle behind him. They’ll take an offensive tackle at some point in the draft. McGlinchey’s availability would probably make for a relatively easy first decision.
Goedert seems to be on the rise. NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock recently ranked him as the second best tight end in the draft behind South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst. The 6-5, 255-pound tight end possesses a nice combination of size, speed and ball skills. He had 92 receptions for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2017.
My reaction: Prisco’s reasoning for this pairing was that the Ravens need to find weapons for quarterback Joe Flacco and no other receiver, aside from Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, who he projects to go eighth to the Chicago Bears, is worth taking at 16. The rationale makes sense, but Goedert at 16 still seems like an overdraft. If Ridley is gone, it’s probably more likely that the Ravens take an offensive tackle, a possibility Prisco acknowledges, and then get a tight end in the second or third round. Either way, Goedert would be a very nice addition for the Ravens.
Brown, the son of the former Ravens offensive tackle of the same name, is a mountain of a man. He’s 6-8 and 360 pounds. There are some questions about his leverage and his technique, but Brown is widely considered one of the top three offensive tackles in the draft and an immediate starter at either left or right tackle.
My reaction: This pick would be not only a sentimental one for the Ravens, but also a sensible one. The Ravens are excited about what they’re building along the offensive line, but they do lack a young and talented offensive tackle who would bookend their front opposite Ronnie Stanley. The Ravens have done a relatively nice job developing young offensive linemen, and they’d have a lot to work with in Brown.
Landry is touted as one of the top five edge rushers in the draft. An ankle injury hampered him this past season, but as a junior, he had 16½ sacks, 22 tackles for losses and seven forced fumbles. The former Eagles standout lacks ideal size at 6-3 and 250 pounds, but he’s extremely explosive. He can play the run, too.
My reaction: Landry is a new name connected to the Ravens, who are always looking to upgrade their pass rush. It, however, would be a bit surprising if they used their first-round pick on an edge rusher after they selected Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams in the second and third rounds last year. They also still have Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and Matthew Judon on their roster. Suggs and Smith are each entering the final year of his contract, but it still seems likely the Ravens would hold off on an edge rusher until the middle or later rounds unless they absolutely fall in love with a pass rusher in the predraft process.
Ridley is considered the top receiver in the draft, and most draft pundits don’t believe anybody is even close. In three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Ridley caught 224 passes for 2,781 yards and scored 20 total touchdowns. His precise route running and production mostly override any concern about his physicality and size (6-1, 190 pounds).
My reaction: Not only would the Ravens probably be overjoyed if Ridley is available when they’re on the clock at 16, they should be excited if he makes it out of the top dozen picks, so they won’t have to trade most of their draft to move up a couple of spots and get into position to take him. It’s not that Ridley is heralded as the next Julio Jones. It’s just that he’s far better than the other available receivers and the Ravens badly need a productive downfield threat. Ridley dropping to 16 continues to look unlikely, but it’s the best-case scenario for the Ravens.
Sutton was remarkably productive at SMU. In his last three seasons there, he had 193 catches for 3,193 yards and 32 total touchdowns. At 6-4 and 218 pounds, he is a handful for defensive backs on jump balls, and he has no qualms about working the middle of the field. He’s also an extremely willing blocker in the run game.
My reaction: There are some questions about Sutton’s pro potential, and many scouts believe he’s more of a late first-round or early second-round prospect. However, there’s no debating that the Ravens lack a player with his skill set. The Ravens can find speed on the outside. What they’ve struggled to do is find a receiver to make contested catches and win in jump-ball scenarios. Sutton, though, might need to have a dynamic performance at the NFL scouting combine and his pro day to play his way into mid-first-round consideration.