Just over two weeks from the NFL draft and just less than a month since free agency started, the Ravens still have two, maybe three pressing needs and only one pick in the first 84 selections.
That's the cost of doing business in the league: The Ravens traded their second-round pick this year for the No. 32 pick last year, which they used to take Lamar Jackson, who helped lead the team to its first AFC North title since 2012, at once inflating hopes for 2019 and pushing down its slot in the draft order.
The Ravens can go in any number of directions with the No. 22 overall pick — wide receiver? Edge rusher? Offensive lineman? Trade down? — and there will be little clarity until late April 25. At that point, the work of team officials will have only just begun.
With eight total picks, the Ravens have the means to patch up (or paper over) some roster holes. They could also add or lose a few picks along the way. If they don’t, here's how their three-day draft could plausibly play out.
No. 22: North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury
The Ravens need a wide receiver and an edge rusher more than they do an interior lineman, but current projections have them missing out on the draft’s top-tier prospects at those positions. Instead, a year after taking right tackle Orlando Brown Jr., they can add another foundational piece and unanimous All-American to their offensive line. Bradbury last season won the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the best center in college football, and would push Matt Skura (not to mention most other centers) for the starting job immediately. With his smarts and size — 6 feet 3, 306 pounds, 34 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press — he also can help out at guard, where he played early in college.
No. 85: Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin
As with many of the receivers in this year’s class, Boykin has a draft range that could span a few rounds. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a smitten team take him in the second round. There’s a lot to like. Athletically, his NFL scouting combine performance compared favorably to Julio Jones': Boykin weighed in at nearly 6-4 and 220 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, posted a vertical leap of 43½ inches, and had the fastest time in the three-cone drill and third fastest in the 20-yard shuttle among wide receivers. He’s also a solid blocker. The question for the Ravens is whether, after just one college season with over 253 yards (59 catches for 872 yards as a senior), they see Boykin as a potential long-term outside receiver. The offense desperately needs one.
No. 102: Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite
Before the scouting combine from hell, Polite was talked about as a potential Ravens target — in the first round. Now he might fall to the third day of the draft; one scout told Sports Illustrated that their team was “50-50” on whether to keep Polite on its draft board. In Indianapolis one month ago, he ran the second-slowest 40-yard dash among edge rushers (4.84) and posted the fourth-worst vertical leap (32 inches) at the position. (He aggravated a hamstring injury at his Pro Day late last month, when he ran even slower.) In interviews with reporters, he said teams were “bashing” him during their combine meetings and that he hadn’t done much self-study on film. Still, the 6-3, 258-pound Polite showed enough at Florida to tantalize a team that lost Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency. He led the Gators with 17½ tackles for loss and 11 sacks and had a nation-leading six forced fumbles.
No. 113: Colorado State wide receiver Preston Williams
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said at a predraft news conference last week that the team needs to "take some chances" to find playmakers at wide receiver. This would be a big swing. In his one season with the Rams after transferring from Tennessee, the 6-4 Williams finished with 96 receptions for 1,345 yards (fourth most nationally) and 14 touchdowns. Talent isn’t a question for the former top-50 recruit; his past is. In 2017, Williams was arrested and charged with misdemeanor tampering and harassment after an incident in which he allegedly shoved and restrained his girlfriend during a domestic dispute, according to police. After a protection order was issued, Williams was arrested again for violating that order by placing “approximately 200” phone calls to the woman. He pleaded guilty to the harassment charge and received a deferred sentence; all other charges against him were dropped. The Ravens have been understandably wary of domestic-violence incidents since Ray Rice’s 2014 arrest. Would Williams be too much trouble?
No. 123: Southern California inside linebacker Cameron Smith
The Ravens defense lost considerable leadership and institutional knowledge when C.J. Mosley signed a record deal with the New York Jets. Smith might not have Mosley’s All-Pro potential, but few linebackers in the draft have as much experience or football IQ. A four-year starter and two-time captain for the Trojans, Smith finished his career with 354 tackles and All-Pac-12 honors in each of his three final seasons. Like Mosley, Smith has a solid frame (6-2, 238 pounds), with the strength to shed offensive linemen and the nose to sniff out misdirection plays. But despite an impressive 39-inch vertical jump and 123-inch broad jump at the scouting combine, Smith does not project as an explosive, playmaking linebacker.
No. 160: Maryland offensive lineman Derwin Gray
The Washington native started 25 games over his Terps career, all at left tackle. But he said at the scouting combine he’d be willing to play inside at the next level, and that might be where he projects best. The 6-4, 320-pound Gray allowed just seven quarterback pressures last season, according to Pro Football Focus, but he needs to clean up his run blocking. Critics have noted he is somewhat lumbering in his lateral movement and might struggle with reach blocks, which the Ravens ask of their guards in offensive coordinator Greg Roman's running schemes. Gray’s solid frame and raw power would give him a shot as a swing tackle, too.
No. 191: Georgia defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter
With 2018 starter Brent Urban still unsigned and little experience behind him — seventh-round pick Zach Sieler appeared in two games his rookie year — the Ravens need another five-technique defensive end, someone who can gum up running lanes in Don “Wink” Martindale’s 3-4 schemes. The 6-4, 280-pound Ledbetter had 13 tackles for loss over his final two Bulldogs seasons, but he won't be much of a pass-rush threat in the NFL. Still, his motor, hands and pad level can help a team that offers the right fit.
No. 193: Memphis running back Tony Pollard
Before signing Mark Ingram to a three-year, $15 million deal, the Ravens were often linked to Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, a likely first-round pick valued for his versatility. Near the end of the draft, their options will be far more limited. Pollard might be more valuable as a potential returner — he tied the Football Bowl Subdivision record by running back seven kickoffs for touchdowns — but he can also help as a third-down back, especially with Kenneth Dixon entering the final year of his contract and Ty Montgomery seeking a new deal somewhere. The 6-0, 210-pound Pollard averaged over 7 yards per carry as a sophomore and junior and finished with over 1,000 receiving yards in his three-year career.