Ravens Draft Preview

Ravens Draft Preview
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The 2019 NFL Draft is a little over two weeks away. Teams are busily finalising their draft boards ready for the three day football extravaganza (without any actual football being played). Ninety-Nine Yards also has their eyes on the draft and with this in mind I’ll be previewing the draft needs of every AFC North team.

First up, The Ravens. Baltimore started Free Agency in 2019 quietly, seeing three key defenders leave, not to mention trading away their long-time quarterback . However, they made up for their early inactivity by signing two marquee players. Now, as the team looks to rebuild let’s looks at all their Free Agency transactions.

Lost

QB Joe Flacco (Traded to the Broncos)

WR Michael Crabtree (Released

WR John Brown (Bills)

ILB C.J. Mosley (Jets)

OLB Za’Darius Smith (Packers)

OLB Terrell Suggs (Cardinals)

S Eric Weddle (Released, then signed by the Rams)

Additions

Re-signed QB Robert Griffin III (2 years, 4.5 million)

Re-signed TE Nick Boyle (3 years, $18 million)

Re-signed CB Tavon Young (3 years, $25.8 million)

Signed RB Mark Ingram (3 years, $15 million)

Signed CB Justin Bethel (2 years)

S Earl Thomas (4 years, $55 million)

Free Agency Summary

The Ravens addition of Mark Ingram gives the team a legitimate number one running back who is also a receiving threat. On defence, bringing in veteran star safety Earl Thomas is an upgrade over the departed Weddle. Both Ingram and Thomas should provide veteran leadership as well as top notch performances. The re-signing of some younger veterans, including RGIII, make sense too, as the team looks to make the Playoffs again in 2019.

2019 Draft Picks

The Ravens will have eight picks to start the draft. This year’s second round pick was traded away to draft the franchise’s future; quarterback LaMar Jackson. However, Baltimore were awarded a third round compensatory pick and trading Flacco netted the Ravens the Denver Broncos fourth round pick. The team also received Tennessee’s sixth round pick in return for Kamalei Correa.

Round 1, Pick 22

Round 3, Pick 85

Round 3, Pick 102

Round 4, Pick 113

Round 4, Pick 123

Round 5, Pick 160

Round 6, Pick 191

Round 6, Pick 193

Positions To Be Addressed in The Draft

Receiver

The Ravens find themselves with what somewhat of a fresh canvas with the release of Michael Crabtree and John Brown headed to free agency. If they are to provide LaMar Jackson with the weapons the passing game needs, they must add a couple of receivers in the draft. The top free agent receivers are long gone, so adding a playmaker in round one (pick number 22) is a distinct possibility. Oklahoma product Marquise Brown, D.K. Metcalf from Mississippi or Parris Campbell of Ohio State would all be immediate upgrades. Later in the draft Kelvin Harmon from NC State fits. Harmon would offer a bigger target for Jackson and contribute as a rookie.

https://twitter.com/ftbeard_17/status/1066397626130546688?s=20

Pass Rusher

The cupboard is nearly as bare at pass rusher. Suggs’ and Smith’s production must be replaced. One of the deep spots in the 2019 draft looks to be pass rusher, so waiting until Day 2 or even Day 3 makes sense here. That being said, either Clelin Ferrell or Dexter Lawrence, both from Clemson, may just be too tempting. The selection of either player would add some teeth to the pass rush. Alternatively, the could use their multiple picks in rounds 3 and 4 in an attempt to grab Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson should he last until Round 2. Oshane Ximines from Old Dominion would also make sense in the mid rounds.

Linebacker

With Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and C.J. Mosley all playing elsewhere in 2019 there’s suddenly uncertainty on defence for Baltimore. While the coaching staff like their young players at linebacker, they will need to add depth somewhere down the line. In round three Bobby Okereke of Stanford is an intelligent linebacker who Ravens fans would love. New Mexico State’s Terrill Hanks or Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill figure to be available in round four and could find themselves lining up at outside linebacker for the Ravens.

Guard/Centre

Finally, although the Ravens offensive line was a strength last season, there was a definite drop off at centre. Adding a player that can develop with Jackson for the next decade here would be huge. With this in mind, the team may choose to protect their latest star by drafting Garrett Bradbury from NC State. He’s an athletic centre would would likely start from day one. On the other hand, Erik McCoy of Texas A&M is a more physical player who would fit equally well. Another option that would also make sense is drafting Penn State’s Connor McGovern in rounds 3 or 4. The former Nittany Lion would likely provide challenge for a starting spot.

In Conclusion

Restocking the defence should absolutely be a focus for Baltimore but draft winds seem to be blowing towards a wide receiver in round one. The team could legitimately add two a piece at linebacker, pass rusher and wide receiver. This draft will need to add multiple contributors for the Ravens to equal last year’s Playoff run.

Photos – USA Today

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