While the 2022 NFL draft is still a few months away, one of the offseason’s signature events is underway in Mobile, Alabama.
The Senior Bowl gathers more than 100 of the nation’s top college prospects for a week of practice and an annual all-star game on Saturday that serves as a launching pad for many young players’ NFL careers. After an 8-9 season, the draft will be a crucial part of coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta’s plan to build a perennial contender around quarterback Lamar Jackson as he enters the final season of his rookie contract.
Here’s a look at 15 Senior Bowl players the Ravens could target in the draft, with a focus on positions of need — offensive line, defensive line, edge rusher and safety.
Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
Raimann’s path to the NFL is certainly unconventional. The Austrian foreign exchange student started his college career as a 6-foot-7, 240-pound tight end before blossoming into a 304-pound left tackle for the Chippewas. Although he’s only played two seasons at his current position and has short arms for a tackle (33 inches), Raimann put together an elite senior year, earning a 94.6 grade from Pro Football Focus. His rare athleticism has drawn comparisons to Eagles star Lane Johnson.
Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
What Penning lacks in polish, he makes up for in size. The 6-7, 330-pound lineman is a mauler in the running game, with nine of his 12 games this past season earning 90-plus run-blocking grades, according to PFF. Although he isn’t a finished product as a pass protector, Penning has the size and strength to grow into a dominant player. While his small-school pedigree might scare some teams away, Penning’s former teammate Spencer Brown held his own at right tackle for the Bills as a rookie.
Darian Kinnard, OT/G, Kentucky
The 6-5, 324-pound Kinnard dominated for one of the best rushing teams in the country over the past few seasons, often finishing blocks in style. While he translates as a guard at the next level, he held his own as a pass blocker, allowing just seven pressures and one sack this past season, according to PFF.
Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
It’s an old cliche for offensive linemen, but it’s simply hard to find 6-9, 387-pound humans that move the way Faalele does. With his size, he’s almost never knocked backward, allowing just one pressure in the final eight games of his career, according to PFF. Former Ravens scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared the Minnesota star to former Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Zion Johnson, C/G, Boston College
Johnson could be rising up draft boards after a big first day in Mobile in which ESPN draft analyst Jordan Reid called him “the best player on the field.” The 6-2, 314-pound lineman got work at both center and left guard — two spots the Ravens might need to fill this offseason — and held up well in one-on-one drills.
Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
If the Ravens are looking for more pass-rushing juice on the interior, Wyatt might be their man. The 6-2, 307-pound lineman doesn’t look like a typical interior defender when pressuring the quarterback, flashing an explosive first step and rare quickness. He would be a nice complement to Justin Madubuike on the inside of the Ravens’ defensive front, especially if veteran Calais Campbell doesn’t return.
Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
Don’t be fooled by the helmet; Jones can play. While UConn struggled to put a respectable team on the field in recent years under former Maryland coach Randy Edsall, Jones thrived in his role. The 6-4, 326-pound lineman was an anchor defending the run and flashed some potential as a pass rusher early in practice in Mobile.
Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama
It doesn’t take long to scour NFL rosters and find quality interior defenders from Alabama. The 6-4, 313-pound Mathis is next in line, racking up seven sacks as a senior and delivering consistently strong play against the run.
Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
If the Ravens want to be more disruptive up front, they could take a chance on a player like Winfrey. The 6-4, 303-pound lineman picked up 11 tackles for loss and 5 ½ sacks this past season, often knifing into the backfield with his explosiveness. If he can hold up as a run defender, he could prove to be a valuable mid-round selection.
Jermaine Johnson II, EDGE, Florida State
Johnson burst onto the scene in Mobile, impressing scouts with his competitiveness, power and pass-rushing repertoire. The 6-5, 259-pound Georgia transfer is a stout run defender who almost never left the field while chipping in 12 sacks for the Seminoles. He could end the week as a first-round lock.
Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
The Kensington native was an unheralded recruit out of Albert Einstein, but he turned heads for the Nittany Lions after transferring from Temple. The 6-2, 250-pound Ebiketie — a wide receiver and basketball player in high school — racked up 9 ½ sacks this past season and flashed an advanced set of moves to consistently get to the quarterback.
Cameron Thomas, EDGE, San Diego State
After arriving at San Diego State at 235 pounds, Thomas has bulked up to 264 and reaped the benefits. The 6-4 lineman often wins with his quickness and can line up anywhere on the line of scrimmage. He put together a productive final season, earning four or more pressures in 13 of 14 games, according to PFF.
Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
When it comes to length and explosiveness, Sanders is near the top of this edge rushing class. The 6-5, 242-pound defender saved his best for last, recording a career-high 10 pressures in the College Football Playoff semifinal against Alabama, according to PFF. The question is whether his lean frame can hold up in run defense — and if he can cut down on his missed tackles.
Kingsley Enagbare, EDGE, South Carolina
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There are nits to pick in Enagbare’s game, but it’s hard to argue with strong production in the SEC. The 6-4, 261-pound edge rusher recorded at least one pressure in every game the past two seasons, according to PFF. He’s versatile and athletic enough to get to the quarterback, but he isn’t very bendy and sometimes struggles to bring ball carriers to the ground.
Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor
The Ravens love versatility, which could lead them to a player like Pitre. Playing the “Star” role as a nickel corner and a weak-side linebacker for the Bears the past two seasons, the 5-11, 196-pound defender racked up 130 tackles, 28 ½ tackles for loss, five sacks, four interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, nine pass breakups, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Someone who can blitz, tackle in space and cover tight ends would be a welcome addition for new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.
Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois
If the Ravens are searching for a ballhawking deep safety, Joseph could be the one. The 6-0, 200-pound defensive back recorded five interceptions as a senior and showed a knack for snatching the ball over receivers. He was also a great tackler, often bringing down returners as a gunner on special teams. The biggest question is whether he has enough range to hold up in the middle of the field in the NFL.
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
TV: NFL Network