Ravens mailbag: the draft, Lardarius Webb, Anquan Boldin and more

A sampling of the questions that I'm getting most often on social media these days and my attempt at answering them without the character limit:

Who will the Ravens draft in the first round?


Even assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, who traditionally and playfully boasts weeks ahead of the draft that he could nail the team's first-round pick, made no such declaration Wednesday. There is a ton of uncertainty at the top half of the draft so it's tough to predict the names the Ravens will be choosing from. The Ravens also haven't fully set their draft board or finished the lion's share of their pre-draft visits. In other words, nobody knows what they'll do this far out. But unless there's a big surprise, and a player like LSU running back Leonard Fournette or Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster or Ohio State defensive backs Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore surprisingly fall, it seems probable that the Ravens will be looking to fill one of these three positions with the 16th overall pick: wide receiver, offensive tackle or pass rusher.

What top wide receiver prospect is the best fit for the Ravens?

It really depends on what team officials view as the best fit. If they're looking for a big and physical specimen who can win on jump balls and down the field, Clemson's Mike Williams stands apart. If the Ravens are focused on ball skills and route running, Western Michigan's Corey Davis probably is the best bet. If they are looking for pure speed, Washington's John Ross is the unquestioned choice. The decision, though, might be taken out of the Ravens' hands because one or two of Williams, Ross and Davis could very well be gone over the first 15 picks. Of course, the smartest move might be nabbing a pass rusher in the first round and then trying to grab a receiver in the second with the hope that USC's Juju Smith-Schuster, East Carolina's Zay Jones and Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp are still available.

What's the deal with Lardarius Webb?

Looking to add more depth to the secondary, the Ravens initiated reunion talks with Webb earlier this week. They'd like him to fill that No.5/6 defensive back role and provide depth behind starters Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson. Both sides would like to get a deal done and as of Thursday, they weren't that far apart. But these things aren't done until the player signs on the dotted line.

Did the Ravens sell too low on defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan?

It depends on who you ask. My opinion is that the Ravens would have been better off keeping their best interior pass rusher and taking the 2019 compensatory selection for him after he departed in free agency next offseason. The Ravens felt otherwise. General manager Ozzie Newsome believes that in moving up 25 spots in the third round, the Ravens got the appropriate value from the Philadelphia Eagles for Jernigan. He bases that on the draft chart which suggests that the difference between the two picks the Ravens and Eagles exchanged was the equivalent of a late third-round draft pick. The Ravens believe a late third-round pick in a talent-rich draft is good value for Jernigan.

Could the Ravens trade for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman?

Any team would love to add Sherman and the Ravens, who have focused strongly on trying to fix their secondary this offseason, are no different. However, two factors stand in the Ravens' way. One, the Seahawks aren't going to give away one of the game's best cover guys. According to one report, they want a "very good player plus a high draft pick" in exchange for Sherman. If the report is true, that's probably too rich for the Ravens' blood. And two, Sherman is due to make a base salary of $11.4 million this coming season with a salary cap hit of $13.6 million. It would be extremely hard for the Ravens to accommodate Sherman from a financial standpoint without him redoing his contract.

Is there any update on the Ravens' pursuit of wide receiver Anquan Boldin?

Nope. The Ravens maintain interest, but there appears to be nothing imminent on this front. At his annual charity event Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla., Boldin told Jamey Eisenberg of CBS Sports that he will return for a 15th NFL season but he likely won't make a decision on where he'll play until much closer to the start of training camp in July. He signed with the Detroit Lions in late July last year. That should be just fine with the Ravens because that means he wouldn't count in the compensatory formula. The Ravens will also have a much better idea on whether receiver is still a major need after the draft and after the inevitable wave of post-draft cuts.

Could the Ravens still make some roster cuts?

Yes. The team currently has about $7 million in salary cap space. The Ravens will need some more room to add a few free agents, sign their draft picks and maintain some roster flexibility. But the Ravens have places to go to get space when they need it. They could rescind the $1.79 million original-round restricted free agent tenders to offensive linemen James Hurst or Ryan Jensen and re-sign them to deals with lesser salary cap numbers, like the Ravens did Thursday with wide receiver Michael Campanaro. It's still expected that the Ravens move on at some point from cornerback Kyle Arrington, who carries a $2.8 million salary cap hit. The preference would be to wait until Arrington passes a physical. And then there's veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, who has a $4 million cap number. The Ravens would like to keep Watson, but they could choose otherwise for the sake of creating salary cap room.