The excitement of free agency has come to a screeching halt in just one week. Teams were signing players like there was no tomorrow. Only 16 of Pro Football Talk’s top 100 free agents are still without a team. The Ravens made some noise re-signing a lot of their own guys in Eugene Monroe, Jacoby Jones, Daryl Smith, and special teamer Jeromy Miles. The big name coming to town is wide receiver Steve Smith.
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All of these signings, what does it mean for draft day? One of the tackle spots is filled, but are you okay anointing Rick Wagner the starting right tackle with Michael Oher leaving town? Wide Receiver looks really full with Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones, Aaron Mellette, Deonte Thompson, not to mention Kamar Aiken and Gerrard Sheppard from last years practice squad. The Ravens could go a number of different ways with their draft. They aren’t locked in to having to take one specific position with the first pick. You could argue they were obligated to go O-line first before free agency started. Maybe even wide receiver. The Ravens like to go best player available and I think that trend continues now that some holes have been filled with free agents.
Just like my last mock draft, here are two possible draft scenarios. One where the Ravens picks are as they are currently and one where they trade back and grab a couple picks in return. Estimating which compensatory picks they will be awarded as well.
If the Ravens stand pat with pick #17:
You’ll see three new names on the board this time around in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Mike Davis, and Kevin Graf. Chris Borland’s stock is rising to the second round.
Before I posted this, I quickly made the change to Clinton Dix with the first pick instead of Pitt’s DT, Aaron Donald. Donald led the nation in sacks and tackles for loss, would fill the void left by Arthur Jones and compete with Kapron Lewis-Moore and Deangelo Tyson for a starting job. But, I think there is no question that he won’t fall past the Dallas Cowboys at #16 who just lost two men on their defensive front, Demarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher.
So with Donald likely gone, Clinton-Dix would be the best player available, fill a need on the defense, and hails from Ozzie Newsome’s favorite school, Alabama. Clinton-Dix at 6’1”, 208 lbs, is one who doesn’t shy away from contact. He plays aggressive and is as solid in run defense as he is in defending the pass. He takes direct routes to the ball and is a secure tackler. He possesses great hands as well for intercepting passes. You can see a nice example of that around the 2:57 mark in the video below. Scouts say he’ll move into a starting role right away, and will be making Pro Bowls for years to come.
It’s a deep field for WRs this season, and Mike Davis could be had in the third round. He looks impressive in the clips I’ve seen and looks to be a nice fit in Kubiak’s system. Davis is a great catch and run guy, crisp route runner, and he can make people miss in open space. But Davis can also stretch the field making safeties cheating up to the line pay. The knock on him is the alligator arms when going over the middle. But they have Dennis Pitta and others to make those tough catches. Yes, the depth chart is stacked right now at WR for the Ravens. But there are a lot of question marks. Steve Smith isn’t getting any younger. Torrey Smith is a UFA next year, Jacoby Jones is more valuable on special teams, we haven’t seen enough of Aaron Mellette and Deonte Thompson can’t stay healthy, or out of trouble it seems now. Davis might be a nice get in the third that can be brought along at an easy pace in 2014, and ready to start in 2015.
Kevin Graf of USC stands 6’6”, 294 pounds. He’s played right tackle for his entire career as a Trojan, making 35 starts. His size suggests he’s not a fat body, and thus athletic enough to play in Kubiak’s zone blocking scheme. The tape I’ve seen shows the same. There are some plays where he doesn’t look good, which is why he’s graded this low down the board, but there are also plays where looks good moving up to the second level and making an impact. He’s upset that he wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, so there’s that proverbial chip on his shoulder that makes some guys play that much harder.
Should the Ravens trade back in the first round? It’s possible they could trade back say, six spots, and get a third and fifth round selection in return. How do you figure that? I wish I would have found this two weeks ago before I said that they could get just a fourth rounder for trading back to the second round. Here is a table provided by Walter Football that NFL teams use to measure their draft picks by point value. The Ravens 17th pick is worth 950 points. The 23rd pick of the Kansas City Chiefs is worth 760 points. So to move back those six spots, a team would have to give you around 190 points in return. The 23rd pick in the third and fifth rounds adds up to 186. Close enough.
If the Ravens trade down some spots in the first round:
Hageman stands 6’6” 310 lbs. He nearly ran a sub 5.0 40 yard dash. (5.02), benched 225lbs 32 times, and possess a 35.5 inch vertical jump. He moves very easily for a big man and was team captain for Minnesota. He’s still raw as a pass rusher, but has the strength to consistently push lineman back into the pocket. He’s projected as a late first rounder that lined up in all spots on the Minnesota defensive line. He could fill the void left by Arthur Jones, and slide over to the middle of the line for Haloti Ngata when his time is up.
Logan Thomas might be worth a look late in the draft as the heir to Tyrod Taylor as Flacco’s back up. We have seen Taylor play a little bit, and it’s clear that the Ravens are in big, big trouble if something ever happened to Joe Flacco. It’s time to look for a new backup plan, but not worth targeting early in the draft. Thomas is a runner which gives the Ravens versatility if they want to run a little trickery. Have to love his size at 6’6” 248 lbs and the ability to run a 4.6 40 yard dash. He has a rifle for an arm, but lacks accuracy which is why he can be had this late. Maybe a little coaching, a little competition with Tyrod Taylor for the #2 role will bring out the better in him.
Check out my first mock draft, for analysis of players not discussed here.