It’s officially draft season!
For the next three months, I’ll present draft prospects to you that I feel will help the Ravens improve and achieve their ultimate goal. In the end, no one really knows who will go where, but what we do know is the general criteria for what Baltimore looks for in a rookie. Here’s what it means to play like a Raven:
- The player must be tough, mentally and physically. A player that’s not tough is a non-starter.
- They must love to work—film study, weight training, nuanced drills, etc.
- They must be a team player. We, not me.
- They should be focused and fearless. They should not worry about what others say and remain motivated to achieve great things.
- They need to be excellent at their craft. The whole point of drafting someone is to acquire a player who can perform consistently and under pressure. Sporadic performance isn’t good enough.
- They make others better.
Using these criteria, I’ll look at positions of need and positions generally valued by Baltimore to select a player that I think can help the Ravens get back to winning ways in the playoffs.
Traditionally, the Ravens have drafted wide receivers and defensive linemen much more than any other position. This year, in my opinion, they can let those positions wait.
The draft begins 15 weeks from tomorrow (April 28th). Let’s not waste any more time.
NFL Draft Player Profile: Roger McCreary, Cornerback, Auburn
Weight: 190 pounds
2021 stats: 49 tackles, 14 passes defensed, 2 INT, 1 INT TD, 1 sack
Key traits: Tough, technically sound, route mirroring, elite contesting the catch point
Ideal position: Outside (man) corner
Potential draft spot: Round 1, Pick 14 or Round 2, Pick 45
Why he’d be a good fit: McCreary fills a need the Ravens have as he can be a shutdown corner at the NFL level. If healthy, the Ravens have an elite defensive backfield, but the only starters who finished the season were Chuck Clark and Tavon Young. Some think the Ravens should release Marcus Peters to accumulate cap space, which I think is absurd. Still, it’s an eventuality to consider.
Besides, even if every corner is healthy, you still want depth. Even if Peters and Jimmy Smith return, getting McCreary in the fold will help prepare the team for when those two aren’t here anymore, as well as offset the trade of Shaun Wade (2021 selection). That trade, ironically, was made because of depth at the position. A year later, Baltimore has a chance to do things over again.
The baffling amount of injuries Baltimore sustained notwithstanding, think about who they have to play each season: Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson. All game-breaking receivers who figure to be a thorn in the Ravens’ side for years to come. Drafting a stud like McCreary—who’s best game this year was against Alabama—will help greatly against those players.
Do the Ravens also need offensive line help? Sure. Will the Ravens want other players ahead of McCreary? Possibly. Will he instantly make their team better without them having to trade up? Very likely.
Cool side note: his uncle, defensive back Angelo James, played three games for the Eagles in 1987 under legendary coach Buddy Ryan.
Bottom line: Draft McCreary. Get Elliott, Humphrey, and Peters back healthy. Go hunt in 2022.
Born in Baltimore, Mike had long been drawn to sports of all kinds. Growing up watching Cal Ripken play ever day gave him a great example for which to attack every endeavor he undertakes.
When the Ravens came to town, though, that’s when Mike found his passion. Since that time, he’s tried to gain every bit of knowledge he could. Now as a high school coach, Mike is able to take his film study and appreciation of the game to a new level.
To engage with Mike on social media, follow him on Twitter @MikeFastNFL.