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15 thoughts on the Ravens as we enter Day 2 of the draft

The first of the Ravens’ three picks on day two of the draft is at No. 47 overall. That’s the 15th pick in this round so here are 15 thoughts on yesterday, tonight and the Ravens going forward.

1. This is strictly my opinion, and not based on anything I’ve heard, but I think the ideal scenario for the Ravens is Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, Alabama right tackle Cam Robinson or USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster being available when the Ravens are on the clock. Lamp and Robinson were potential first-round selections if the Ravens had traded back in the round. And Smith-Schuster might fit what the Ravens are looking for in a complementary pass catcher more than any other wide receiver in the draft.

2. That being said, I’d be surprised if either Lamp or Robinson were still available at 47. The teams with the first three picks in the second round, the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars, are all reportedly looking to add offensive line help.

3. As for Smith-Schuster, the team to watch is the Los Angeles Rams, who pick fifth in the second round. The Rams’ depth chart at wide receiver behind Tavon Austin (Dunbar) and Robert Woods is underwhelming and they’re surely looking to get more weapons for Jared Goff. Smith-Schuster is also a local kid so the Rams should know him well.

4. If not Smith-Schuster, East Carolina’s Zay Jones, Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp and Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel all could fit what the Ravens are looking for at wide receiver. I’m not sure any of the three will still be available in the third round, so we shall see how things unfold.

5. By now, everybody knows that general manager Ozzie Newsome will take the best player on his board so it would be foolish to assume the team is targeting a certain position tonight. But if you’re a betting man, the odds would be that if the Ravens don’t go offensive line or wide receiver at No. 47, they’ll try and get a pass rusher. A good number of rushers are still available, including Houston’s Tyus Bowser, Kansas State’s Jordan Willis, Alabama’s Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson, Florida State’s DeMarcus Walker, and Auburn’s Carl Lawson.

6. Another name to watch in the second round is Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell. He was considered a top-10 talent, but he slipped yesterday amid questions about his work ethic. Three years ago, the Ravens used their second-round pick on Timmy Jernigan, an explosive and talented defensive lineman who faced questions about his character and effort level in college. After trading Jernigan and losing Lawrence Guy in free agency this offseason, the Ravens could use some additional defensive line depth, although it’s not a primary need.

7. What would help the Ravens in the second round would be an early run at running back with Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon and Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara going off the board. Quarterbacks DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame and Davis Webb of California could also be in play early today, which would benefit the Ravens, too.

8. The depth of the cornerback class is one reason why I question the Ravens' first-round pick of Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey. Look at the various “best available” lists and it’s littered with cornerbacks: Florida’s Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor, Washington’s Kevin King and Sidney Jones, Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie, Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis and Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley.  The Ravens could have gone elsewhere with their first-round pick and still gotten a nice cornerback prospect with one of their two third-round selections. They must think Humphrey is head and shoulders better than the names I mentioned above, along with the three other cornerbacks (Gareon Conley, Tre’Davious White and Adoree Jackson) who went later in the first round.

9. The Ravens reportedly had Ohio State’s Conley take a polygraph test yesterday just 90 minutes before the draft after he had rape allegations levied against him earlier this week. Conley was selected by the Oakland Raiders at pick 24. That the Ravens went to those lengths and then picked Humphrey seemingly shows just how intent the team was in coming out of the first round with one of the top cornerbacks.

10. It should be clear by now how tired Ravens executives and coaches are of trying to find healthy and competent cornerbacks to put on the field. It’s been a problem for several years for the Ravens as they’ve been through a revolving door of cornerbacks because of injury or poor play. A lack of trust in coverage on the back end has an effect on everything the Ravens do defensively. With Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Tavon Young and Humphrey, the Ravens are well stocked at the position. They also really like Maurice Canady, a sixth-round pick last year. It’s become a nice and diverse cornerback group.

11. Let’s not forget one thing on Humphrey here: Cornerbacks who are 6-foot and 197 pounds and can run a 4.41 40-yard dash don’t grow on trees. Big, fast and physical cornerbacks are among the most prized commodities in the game. I’ve said my piece and probably would have went elsewhere with the pick, but there’s no question that Humphrey is a first-round talent. Now, the Ravens have to develop him.

12. The one stat that is the primary concern on Humphrey:  According to ESPN.com and Pro Football Focus, he allowed an average of 16.9 yards per reception. Ravens defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt will be tasked with improving Humphrey’s eye discipline and ball awareness. Teams will challenge him at will down the field if he can’t adjust.

13. Remember when we all said and wrote that the more quarterbacks that go in the first 15 picks, the better for the Ravens? Well, it’s possible that the three quarterbacks – Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2, Patrick Mahomes at 10 and Deshaun Watson at 12 – going as quickly as they did may have contributed to the Ravens losing out on of their top targets, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick. It was well-documented that the Arizona Cardinals were eyeing a quarterback (likely Mahomes) at 13. Head coach Bruce Arians admitted as much in an ESPN interview after the first round. But with none of the top three quarterbacks available at that point, the Cardinals took Reddick. Reddick may have gone anyway to the Philadelphia Eagles at 14 or the Indianapolis Colts at 15, but the Cardinals losing an opportunity to draft a signal caller certainly didn’t help matters for the Ravens.

14. Newsome admitted that the Ravens tried to trade up in the “teens” but the team couldn’t pull off a deal. He declined to identify who the Ravens were looking to get. However, it seems pretty likely that Reddick was the target. It certainly wasn’t Watson or Derek Barnett who went to the Eagles at 14. And it’s hard to imagine trading assets to pick safety Malik Hooker, who went to Indianapolis at 15. As good as Hooker is, the Ravens already have a ton of resources tied up in the safety position.

15. The one thing I’ll reiterate about Newsome with all this talk about the Alabama player he chose over the other Crimson Tide players who were available (O.J. Howard, Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster):  Due to his ties with the school and his relationship with head coach Nick Saban, Newsome and the Ravens should have more and better information on Alabama players than any other NFL organization. Taking Humphrey tells me one of two things: 1. The team absolutely loves the cornerback and believes he’ll be a star; and 2. There are legitimate health or off-the-field concerns or both about Foster and Allen.      

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