The conclusion of the NFL scouting combine brought a new wave 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:
Ridley ran pretty well at the combine, but he disappointed in a few of the other tests. Still, the consensus is that he’s the top wide receiver in the draft. Ridley is a polished route runner with good speed and plenty of big-game experience.
Ridley has become the player most often connected to the Ravens in the pre-draft process. Recent mocks from USA Today, Sporting News, Bleacher Report and SBNation all have the Ravens selecting the Crimson Tide receiver.
My reaction: It wasn’t long ago that Ridley was viewed as a pipe dream for Ravens fans because he figured to be gone within the first dozen picks. That still might be how it plays out, but that doesn’t appear to be a given the way it was earlier in this process. There was plenty of chatter by evaluators at the combine that Ridley is a good, but not great receiver prospect. There are questions about how he’d hold up against physical corners and why he disappeared at times last season. I don’t know how the Ravens feel about Ridley, but it still makes plenty of sense that a wide receiver-needy team would select perhaps the top receiver available.
This projection caused quite a stir among the fans because team owner Steve Bisciotti recently said that the Ravens aren’t in the market for a starting quarterback right now. Mayfield, the highly scrutinized Heisman Trophy winner, is a polarizing prospect. Jeremiah “mocked” him to the Ravens with Ridley still on the board.
My reaction: I wrote a lengthy piece on the prospect of the Ravens taking a first-round quarterback last week, so that should cover it. I do believe there are scenarios — albeit unlikely ones — that would lead to the Ravens coming away from Day 1 of the draft with a quarterback. However, that’s not their focus. But if Mayfield or another of the draft’s top quarterbacks is still on the board when the Ravens are on the clock, it could get interesting. Would the Ravens, who have to start preparing for life after Joe Flacco sooner rather than later, be tempted? Or could they trade the pick to a team more desperate for a quarterback than they are and get back a nice haul?
The Ravens have been connected to all sorts of receivers and rightly so. But Gallup is a new name. The former Colorado State standout had 176 catches for 2,685 yards and 21 touchdown receptions in two college seasons. He is 6 feet 1 and 205 pounds, and he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the combine.
My reaction: Gallup is an interesting prospect, but most evaluators have him as a second or third-round pick, so taking him at 16th overall would seem to be a little aggressive. Palazzolo has Gallup and Southern Methodist’s Courtland Sutton (29th to the Jacksonville Jaguars) as the only first-round receivers. Both could be targets of the Ravens, though it’s probably more likely that will be in the second round of if they trade back to later in the first.
McGlinchey is emerging as the clear top offensive tackle in the draft as Orlando Brown Jr. bombed his combine tests and many scouts believe that Texas’ Connor Williams is better suited at guard. McGlinchey, who is 6 feet 8 and 312 pounds, started all 25 games in his final two seasons at Notre Dame.
My reaction: McGlinchey wouldn’t be a sexy pick by any means, especially for a team that badly needs offensive skill-position players. However, he’d be both a safe and a logical selection. McGlinchey needs to get stronger, and there are some concerns about how he’ll deal with NFL speed rushers, but most evaluators believe his floor is as a solid NFL tackle. The Ravens won’t need him on the left side because McGlinchey’s former Notre Dame teammate, Ronnie Stanley, is there. The Ravens want to build a young and dominant offensive line, and McGlinchey would fit in nicely.
James is a freakish athlete. At 6 feet 3 and 215 pounds, he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash and had 21 repetitions on the bench press. In his final season at Florida State, James had 84 tackles (5½ for loss), two interceptions, 11 pass breakups and a blocked kick.
My reaction: This pick makes more sense by the day, and Brinson provides an explanation why in saying that the Ravens’ needs “do not meet with the availability in the draft.” James would be a nice consolation prize and a good value pick. He’s a natural safety, but some teams believe he could also play cornerback. For the Ravens, he’d make them faster in the middle of the field defensively and he’d give them a weapon in defending tight ends, an area that hurt the team badly last season. The focus should be on adding to the offense, but if the right piece isn’t there at 16, picking James or linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds makes sense.
Sutton is part of a long list of wide receivers, which includes Maryland’s DJ Moore and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, who are being projected to go anywhere from the second half of the first round to the first half of the second round. At 6 feet 3 and 218 pounds, Sutton is a big jump ball and red-zone target.
My reaction: It would be interesting to see how the Ravens have their board stacked up at receiver because there is such a different opinion from evaluators on how the pass catchers rank. Sutton is certainly in the mix, and his physicality and ability to make contested catches are qualities the Ravens need. However, there are some questions about his route-running and explosiveness. He seems more of a late-first-round target or possibly a second-rounder.