2017 mock articlefeature--baltimore-ravens articlefeature--nfl articlefeature--nfl-draft

Ravens Three Round Mock Draft

It’s the time of the year for the mock draft! I am sure everyone who has any interest in the NFL Draft has seen headlines for half a dozen or more mocks whether they want to or not, and those numbers will only increase as we get closer to the Draft. There are hundreds of different possibilities and permutations in the draft which is part of what makes the mock interesting, but also highly inaccurate. Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN, does one mock draft each year, called the “Grade: A Mock” that I find particularly interesting where he mocks the first 3 rounds for each team so that each team gets the best possible players in his opinion. I decided to build on Mel’s concept, but instead of mocking what I think is the best possible scenario for the Ravens, I pose three different scenarios playing out independently over the first three rounds of the draft. This way we get a good idea of the different tiers of talent that can be found in each of the first three rounds, and how addressing different needs early can influence the direction of the draft.

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Round 1:

Scenario A: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Scenario B: Taco Charlton, Edge, Michigan

Scenario C: Cam Robinson, OL, Alabama

In all three scenarios, the Ravens fill a very pressing need with one of the top talents in the draft. Any way you cut it this feels like a fine first pick in the draft. In the first scenario, the Ravens take an elite WR prospect. Williams may not be available at 16, but if he is the Ravens will be hard pressed to pass on him. In the second scenario, the Ravens address perhaps their biggest need on the roster – edge rusher. Charlton was a productive player in college and has some impressive attributes that suggest he could translate that success to the NFL. He wins more with power than speed off the edge, but he has great size and decent athleticism. Taco should be an instant contributor. The last scenario lands arguably the best OT in the draft. Robinson is not a perfect prospect and has some inconsistencies with his technique, but the raw athletic traits are there for him to be a cornerstone along the offensive line. Some have compared Robinson to Kelechi Osemele, suggesting he could move inside and be a dominant guard in the NFL. While the Ravens currently have a bigger need at RT than LG, an eventual move inside could also prove dividends.

 Round 2:

Scenario A: Desmond King, DB, Iowa

Scenario B: Zay Jones, WR, ECU

Scenario C: Tim Williams, Edge, Alabama

Once again, the Ravens are able to fill pretty glaring needs with each of these selections. In scenario A, the Ravens find a versatile, playmaking DB who will provide immediate depth at CB while perhaps eventually finding a home at Safety once the Ravens move on from Eric Weddle. In the second scenario, the Ravens solidify the WR corps with Zay Jones, an extremely productive collegiate player who really impressed both at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. Jones has the size and speed to play outside or in the slot, but profiles more as a complementary receiver in the NFL as the explosive test numbers he put up at the Combine do not completely translate to the tape. In the final scenario, the Ravens draft a talented edge rusher who comes with red flags. Williams did not test well at the Combine and has failed drug tests while playing at Alabama. However, when you watch Williams’ tape he looks like a top 10 player in the draft. The off the field concerns combined with less than expected athleticism make him slide to this point as a boom or bust type selection.

 Round 3:

Scenario A: Jordan Willis, Edge, Kansas State

Scenario B: Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy

Scenario C: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech

By the third round the level of talent has seen a drop off, but there are still players who can come in and help immediately. In scenario A, with WR and CB already addressed, the Ravens snap up the best edge rusher left on the board. Willis, the Big 12 DPOY, posted extremely impressive numbers at the Combine. He was highly productive in college, but the film shows a player that is not as fluid or explosive as the numbers suggest. In scenario B, the Ravens take a high-upside offensive tackle. Garcia has a prototypical frame and good athleticism, but suffers from playing against lesser competition. He could be a potential steal or end up as a NFL wash-out. In scenario C, the Ravens find another prospect from a smaller school. Henderson is an explosive athlete and dangerous in the open field who also has plus return skills. Another WR who won’t be a #1 in the NFL, but can be a strong complementary player.

Round 3 (compensatory):

Scenario A: Ethan Pocic, OL, LSU

Scenario B: Rasul Douglas, CB, WVU

Scenario C: Kendell Beckwith, LB, LSU

By the end of the 3rd round, the Ravens may be more focused on finding value as opposed to drafting for need (this could be true throughout the draft as we have seen in years past), but I still have them taking players that at the very least would provide much needed depth. Pocic played center for the Tigers in college, but he also played some at OG and OT, and with his size (6’6) he has the length to be a versatile offensive lineman. Douglas was only a one year starter at West Virginia, but he was incredibly productive notching 8 interceptions. He has the size and length at 6’2 that the Ravens like on the outside. Douglas was timed at 4.59 in the 40 which may drop his stock a bit combined with some stiffness that appears on film. Kendell Beckwith is an interesting option as he is recovering from an ACL injury that occurred at the end of the season. He is not an elite athlete, but he possesses good instincts and is a strong and forceful tackler. 

A few takeaways for me after compiling this mock:

-  Edge rusher is deep, but once you get into the 3rd round options will start to become very limited.

-  DB is even deeper than edge rusher. Very high level of talent in this draft.

-  At WR, there are 2, maybe 3, top end prospects. After that there are a number of solid players, but the upside with the majority of the later prospects appears limited.

- It is not a great class of offensive lineman, but there are some high upside players throughout the draft.

- TE and RB are both strong, but given the number of players the Ravens have at both positions under contract and other needs on the roster, it would be somewhat surprising if they draft either position early.

 

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Gabe Ferguson

Gabe is an avid fan of the NFL and Ravens football. He grew up in Westminster, MD, and attended college at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Biology. He earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and now works as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where he studies cartilage development and cancer. Gabe has appeared as a guest on 105.7 The Fan.

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