Assessing Where The Ravens Should Go In The First Round

Featured, Sports and Bets — February 10, 2015 at 8:49 pm by

by Babes

We don’t need to waste our time trying to pigeon-hole a position that the Ravens will go with in the first round of this year’s draft.  Everyone knows Ozzie goes best player available, period.  The Ravens didn’t necessarily need an inside linebacker last year. after resigning Daryl Smith and drafting Arthur Brown the year before.  But with CJ Mosley still on the board, the best player available became a Raven, and one pro bowl later, Ozzie has the anchor of his defense for the next ten years.  That strategy has kept the Ravens in the postseason 6 of the last 7 years, with three AFC Conference Championship appearances, and one Super Bowl win.  It’s safe to say that strategy is working.

mos

It’s impossible to try and predict how the Ravens’ final draft board will stack up, but I’ve zeroed in on a few players at a few different positions that would benefit Baltimore the most due to need.  And if the draft board shapes out the way the Ravens hope it will, then they might have themselves an impact starter from day one.

There is a very intriguing prospect on the defensive line that would be a dynamic five technique in the Ravens’ system. Arik Armstead out of Oregon is a freakish athlete who towers over blockers at 6’8″ and 290 pounds.  With Chris Canty’s days numbered because of his age, Armstead would be a nice step in replacement with a ton of upside.  This is a perfect example of Ozzie’s philosophy. The Ravens don’t have a huge need on the defensive line, but if Armstead is the best player on the board, it may make perfect sense.

Everyone who watched the Ravens last year knows the secondary was taken advantage of late in the year after being decimated with injuries.  Ozzie had to resort to nabbing guys off the street to play corner, however, he was able to stumble upon a few guys who can actually play.  Rashaan Melvin was one of those castoffs that benefited greatly from the opportunity, and despite a rough playoff outing against the Patriots, he proved he can help the team going forward.  Another truth the Ravens discovered is that you can never have enough corners at your disposal.  Although I would love to see the Ravens invest some mid-round picks in a few defensive backs, if the right corner is still there at 26 who can step right in and be a starter, they can’t afford to pass on him.  Some candidates in this range are Jalen Collins from LSU, Ronald Darby from FSU, and Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest.

LSU vs. Ole Miss 11/17/12

In a perfect world, I would love to see a future number one receiver somehow fall to us.  The first round is loaded with potential number one guys, most of whom will probably be long gone at 26, but you never know.  With the likes of Amari Cooper and Kevin White most likely going top ten, there is a small chance one of the other talented receivers will slip due to the richness of the position.  Jaelen Strong of Arizona State is a monster at 6’3″ and 215 pounds of pure muscle, and he plays the game with a Steve Smith/Anquan Boldin type fire.  Other dynamic wide outs who will not see the second round are DeVante Parker from Louisville, Sammie Coates of Auburn, and Devin Smith from Ohio State.  All of these talented pass catchers have number one wide out potential.

Another interesting prospect that has been linked to the Ravens by the all knowing, Mel Kiper Jr., is wide receiver/tight end Devin Funchess out of Michigan. Funchess is an Eric Ebron type, in that he is big enough to play inline as a move tight end, but he moves like a receiver.  He spent the majority of his snaps at Michigan split out like a receiver, and he will prove to be a matchup nightmare for defenses for years to come.  A player like that could most certainly fit right into this Baltimore offense, especially with the uncertainty of Dennis Pitta’s health.  The Ravens drafted Crockett Gilmore last year to be more of that traditional inline tight end, so Funchess would be a dynamic asset to an offense desperate for one.  Factor in what new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman was able to accomplish with Martellus Bennett  in Chicago, who is a similar type player, and the move would make a ton of sense.

funchess

There are two first round running backs that should have their names called that Thursday night.  I’m from the school of thought that you don’t reach for a back in the first round unless you know he’s an Adrian Peterson prototype.  That back does not exist in this draft.  Todd Gurley is supremely talented, but he’s coming off a knee injury, and he’s got some small character issues.  Melvin Gordon was astonishing running behind that behemoth Wisconsin offensive line, but everyone has seen that act before.  Ask Ron Dayne and Montee Ball if they would have rather stayed in school, than be abruptly brought back to Earth running in the NFL.  Gordon is a second round runner.  I’m much more intrigued by Tevin Coleman out of Indiana, and Jay Ajayi out of Boise later in the draft.  I feel like Ajayi has a little Marshawn Lynch in him, in that he is a violent runner who welcomes contact.  Coleman is a big play threat who averaged 7.5 yards per carry his junior year.

These are just a few names to keep track of through the upcoming events of the NFL offseason.  Let’s see if these guys look the part of a Raven.

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