The weather has started to turn and the NFL combine is complete, so that means it’s time for two very different things: Baseball fans are ready for their season to start, and the NFL fanatics are analyzing the combine stats. That guy who shaved 1/10 of a second of his combine time could go a full round earlier. This player refused to run the 40, that player got injured while running, and there were a few, somewhat comical moments (Chris Jones), but, what exactly does it all mean?
We’re now in the phase where players will visit teams, interview with coaches, and we will see new mock drafts every day until the real things happens. A quick history: Ogden (4), Boulware (4), Starks (10), Jamal Lewis (5), Suggs (10). Those are the names of players who the Ravens have selected in the top 10. You’ll notice that most of those players are in the top 5. I’ve never been a fan of the sixth pick. It seems like it’s the first pick of the second tier.
As a Ravens fan, this can be an exciting, but dreadful time. Why, you ask? Mostly because no one ever knows what the Ravens are planning, but you can typically bet that it will, somehow, involve a trade. So, I’m going to take a stab at what the Ravens are planning.
What I can guarantee you is that the Ravens will make their list of players worthy of the number 6 pick. If none of those players are there, they won’t pick anyone. At this point, I think the Ravens will decide that their choices are Laremy Tunsil, Jalen Ramsey, or Joey Bosa.
Laremy Tunsil is a starter from the second he gets drafted. He would be our next Ogden if he were to fall to us. In reality, I don’t see that happening. I believe the Titans take Tunsil, so we look at the next option. Tunsil didn’t perform at the combine, but also didn’t need the combine to make a case for the top pick in the draft. He’ll be just fine seeing as he is well-balanced and a plus blocker in both the passing game and the running game.
Jalen Ramsey is a very-talented safety from Florida state. He has the ability to move to corner if needed, and he absolutely killed it at the combine. Ramsey ran a 4.41 (6th best among DB’s), post a combine-best 41.5 vertical, and his 6.94 three-cone time was tied for 9th. At the Combine, he cemented his spot as a top pick in the draft, reminding us of his speed, agility, and ability to out-jump WR’s when going after the ball. Because of his Combine performance, I think Ramsey gets drafted before the Ravens pick.
My last option, Joey Bosa, is an absolute monster. I’ve seen the JJ Watt comparisons, but I don’t buy them. Watt is a generational player, and while Bosa may be great, I don’t know that anyone will be Watt for a very long time. I don’t think Bosa has the strength that Watt does, and he ran a similar 40 time while being significantly lighter. That being said, Bosa could be a great player. He could end up being an outside backer at the Pro level and would benefit a lot from being behind Suggs and Dumerville. I’d really love to have Bosa, but I’m not sure that he’ll last to pick 6 either. There was a point in time where he looked like a top-3 pick.
So, what other options are there? The tried and true method- the Ravens trade back. I could see the Bears trying to trade up to get Goff. I could see the Rams doing the same thing. After the Rams benefited from the trade where Washington took RG3, I think they might be willing to give up a lot to pick Goff. You may think I’m crazy, but let me offer some detail to this theory. The St. Louis Rams just became the Los Angeles Rams (again) and need to sell their brand. Is there any better way to do that than to draft a potential franchise QB? I think not. They also have the 15th pick and two 2nd round picks. I’m thinking this year’s 1st, both 2nd round picks, and maybe next year’s 1st would get it done. Doesn’t that sound like something the Ravens would do? I think so. They did so in 2010 (with Denver) and 2012 (with Minnesota). Imagine how much more valuable the #6 pick would be.
I realize that all of the mocks are done where a team selects in their spot, and no-one accounts for trades, but I’ve watched how the Ravens work the draft. In the last 5 years, a top 7 pick has been traded exactly 7 times. That should benefit the Ravens, but the issue is the lack talent that any other team may find worthwhile at this pick. That being said, here’s to hoping that the second tier of prospects have rising stock as we get to the draft- I’d love to see Ozzie Newsome make it to the podium four times in the first two rounds. I trust his ability, and giving him four chances to find the next second rounder who has the upside of Jamie Sharper is enticing.