Pittsburgh offensive lineman Brian O'Neill (70) prepares to block Rice defensive end Brian Womac (44) in a September game. O'Neill was selected to the Associated Press All-ACC team last month.
Pittsburgh offensive lineman Brian O'Neill (70) prepares to block Rice defensive end Brian Womac (44) in a September game. O'Neill was selected to the Associated Press All-ACC team last month. (Keith Srakocic / AP)

The 2018 NFL draft, which starts on April 26, is still more than three months away. However, each week brings a new round of mock drafts.

Below are a few of the more recent projections for what the Ravens will do with the 16th overall pick and my reaction to the potential selection:

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O’Neill is a converted tight end who has brought nice athleticism and strong footwork to the tackle position. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound tackle also had two rushing touchdowns during his college career. Kiper chose O’Neill for the Ravens even with Southern Methodist wide receiver Courtland Sutton still on the board.

My reaction: Obviously, an offensive tackle from a non-powerhouse college program isn’t going to get Ravens fans who are starved for offensive playmakers overly excited. But nobody should be surprised if the Ravens pick a tackle. The Ravens want to build a powerhouse offensive line and they have a definite need for a young right tackle. Still, this pick would surely be looked at as “settling” by the fans.

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Brown, the son of the former Ravens offensive lineman by the same name, is a highly regarded prospect who Jeremiah believes is a Day One NFL starter. In this scenario, Jeremiah, a former Ravens scout, has his old employer bypassing Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who he has going 24th overall to the Carolina Panthers.

My reaction: There is still so much time before the draft, but I’d be extremely surprised to see Ridley fall to the last quarter of the first round. Brown’s bloodlines and pedigree make it likely he’d be a more well-received pick than O’Neill, but it still would be a tough sell if Ridley and Sutton are still available. The Ravens, though, could surely do a lot worse than Brown.

Ridley’s reception and touchdown numbers dropped a bit this past season, but he’s still considered the No. 1 receiver in the draft. And if he’s available, as this mock predicts he will be, it figures to be a no-brainer decision for general manager Ozzie Newsome, whose fondness for Crimson Tide players is well-documented.

My reaction: I’m guessing this pick would be the dream scenario for most Ravens fans. I’m still not buying — at least not yet — that the Ravens will be able to stay at 16 and grab Ridley. Maybe I’m being too influenced by how the top available receivers went quicker than anybody expected last year. However, if this is how it works out, it would be a nice coup for the Ravens who badly need to add playmaking talent on offense.

Sutton’s production is impressive. In his past three college seasons, he had 193 catches for 3,193 yards and 31 touchdowns. He’s also 6 feet 4 and 215 pounds, which would have to be attractive for a Ravens team that needs a big receiver who can make contested catches. Miller has Ridley going 15th to the Arizona Cardinals.

My reaction: Sutton will be an interesting guy to follow over the next couple of months. I’ve seen several mocks that don’t have him going in the first round. From the standpoint of production and physical attributes, Sutton looks like he’d be a nice fit. The Ravens will need to do extensive homework on him because there is a strong possibility he’ll be the top receiver on the board when they prepare to make the 16th overall pick.

Kirk, primarily a slot receiver, would add a jolt of quickness and athleticism to a team that badly needs it. He caught 234 balls for 2,856 yards and 26 touchdowns in three college seasons, and he had seven return touchdowns. Rang has him as the second receiver going off the board behind Ridley.

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My reaction: Kirk certainly fits the mold of a playmaker. Some teams might hesitate to pick a slot receiver in the early or middle stages of the first round, but the Ravens have to explore every possible option in adding speed and talent on offense. That Kirk played in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference should give teams some comfort. As I said in regard to Sutton, the Ravens will need to get very familiar with the secondary receiver options in the likelihood that Ridley won’t fall to them.

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