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Ravens mock draft roundup: On draft’s opening day, two clear first-round favorites emerge

With the NFL draft beginning Thursday night, it’s officially the end of mock draft season.

For the Ravens, two clear favorites have emerged at the No. 28 overall pick. You might have a pretty good guess as to which position they play. One of them fell to the Ravens in a draft simulation earlier this week.

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Here’s a look at which prospects experts and analysts predict the Ravens will select in the first round.

Note: All picks are No. 28 overall, unless noted otherwise.

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Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray

Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Hanson (Ravens acquire pick No. 23 from the New England Patriots): “Over the past two offseasons, the Ravens have lost C.J. Mosley (2019), Josh Bynes (’20) and Patrick Onwuasor (’20) via free agency. A tackling machine for the Sooners, Murray has the no-stop motor, sideline-to-sideline range and leadership to become an impact defender in the middle of the Ravens defense.”

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller: “An athletic, productive, high-character team captain, Murray is the most productive run-defending linebacker in the 2020 draft class. ... The Ravens miss C.J. Mosley. Murray could replace his impact, leadership and production.”

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly: “This pick might come down to Murray or LSU’s Patrick Queen, but Baltimore opts for the more experienced, stronger run defender of the two top linebacker prospects. The Sooners star is rangy, physical, and versatile ― and brings the hard-hitting intensity the Ravens defense needs in the middle.”

Pro Football Focus and NBC Sports commentator Cris Collinsworth: “Murray’s weakness is taking on blocks and run-stuffing, but the Ravens’ defense would play strictly to his strengths and could land him in the Pro Bowl. Murray is a perfect fit here.”

Establish the Run’s Evan Silva: “Highly athletic with off-the-charts intangibles, Murray fills need and fits Ravens’ culture.”

NBC Sports’ Peter King: “My bet is the Ravens might try to move up a few slots to steal Murray; he’s the best pure linebacker in the draft, a sideline-to-sideline menace, and would be a godsend for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale to use as a chess piece. He’s also a future NFL Man of the Year, a totally too-good-to-be-true guy who helps his parents raise three siblings with special needs. Murray to the Ravens is a football match made in heaven. I’d love to see it happen.”

NFL.com’s Charley Casserly: “We know the Ravens will take the best player available or trade back. They need another receiver and help in the front seven. Murray fills a need at ILB that Baltimore didn’t address in free agency.”

CBS Sports’ Jason La Confora: “The Ravens have a history with Oklahoma players, and his character is off the charts. Yet I make this pick without great conviction because I could definitely see them trading down, or taking linebacker Jordyn Brooks here instead.”

The Undefeated’s Domonique Foxworth: “Kenneth Murray isn’t a perfect prospect, but he could be perfect for the Ravens’ blitz-happy scheme. Murray has a great feel when blitzing and has the speed to cover most backs if isolated in coverage. In the Ravens defense, he will rarely be asked to do things with which he struggles.”

LSU linebacker Patrick Queen (8) takes part in an NCAA college football game against Arkansas in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
LSU linebacker Patrick Queen (8) takes part in an NCAA college football game against Arkansas in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton) (Matthew Hinton/AP)

LSU linebacker Patrick Queen

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.: “I have had Queen to the Ravens on my previous mock drafts, and I don’t see a reason to move away. If Queen is off the board, however, don’t be surprised if Baltimore snags a wide receiver."

Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner: “Queen sees a bit of a mini-fall, as there are a ton of linebacker options on Day 2. However, the Ravens’ massive need for explosiveness at the position makes Queen a perfect fit here.”

NFL.com’s Peter Schrager (Ravens acquire pick No. 23 from Patriots): “New England trades down five spots in the first round and picks up one of the Ravens’ two third-round picks in the process. Baltimore takes Queen, an uber-athlete who is above Kenneth Murray on at least some teams’ draft boards. The LSU linebacker had an outstanding 2019 and will only get better. GM Eric DeCosta is one of the savviest executives in the league. This would be another feather in his cap.”

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NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah: “The Ravens land a complete steal with Queen. He’s one of the top 15 players in this class.”

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: “This won’t come as a surprise to Ravens fans who have gotten used to seeing a linebacker mocked to them this year, but Queen is a three-down guy with big-time upside.”

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso: “Queen gives the Ravens more coverage ability, which is what they need at the linebacker position."

USA Today’s Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz: “Bringing on Queen, perhaps this class’ best coverage linebacker, would be an impressive finishing touch to the defense’s offseason upgrade.”

Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (99) fights off a block by Buffalo offensive lineman Evin Ksiezarczyk (67) in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (99) fights off a block by Buffalo offensive lineman Evin Ksiezarczyk (67) in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger) (Barry Reeger/AP)

Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos

Walter Football’s Walter Cherepinsky: “I’ve slotted Jonathan Taylor here for a while. I think he’s still an option, but I get the feeling the Ravens want one of the first-round linebacker prospects. It could be Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray, but neither is available. The Ravens could also select an edge rusher like Yetur Gross-Matos or Zack Baun. Gross-Matos registered a ridiculous 20 tackles for loss in 2018. His potential is off the charts.”

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Austin Jackson of the USC Trojans blocks A.J. Epenesa of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second half of the 2019 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium.
Austin Jackson of the USC Trojans blocks A.J. Epenesa of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second half of the 2019 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Iowa edge rusher A.J. Epenesa

Chicago Tribune’s Brad Briggs: “The Ravens have been busy adding to their front seven after the Titans mauled them in the playoffs. Inside linebacker is a need for a franchise that routinely does an excellent job developing that position. The Ravens also could stand to bolster the defensive line, and Epenesa would fit in as a good run defender with the ability to get to the quarterback.”

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