Getting tired of seeing the words “mock draft” everywhere? I thought instead of a boring everyday “mock draft”, I’d give you a “What Would I Do” Draft. In a “What Would I Do” Draft, instead of getting you inside the war room and the big board in Baltimore, I give you insight to the head of a Ravens’ fan who is as devout of a draft fanatic as Chris Berman is devout in saying “Whop!” every video segment. Here it goes. If I were Ozzie Newsome I would:
1st Round: Brandon Harris-Cornerback-The University of Miami
While both Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington showed flashes of brilliance last year, we need a cornerback for the future. I understand there are a lot of Ravens faithful are sold out on Jimmy Smith, but hear me on this one. Brandon Harris doesn’t have the character issues, has an unrelenting work ethic, and is a smooth man-to-man corner. He does need to work on his zone coverage and his play-making in jumping routes, but with Ed Reed, a fellow “the U” alum, in the backfield, he will be certain to pick it up quick.
2nd Round: Leonard Hankerson-Wide Receiver-The University of Miami
With all the hysteria of defensive ends and big name receivers selling like hot cakes, Leonard will quietly slip down to the 58th pick and the Ravens will love to have young threat in the receiving core. Coming off of a disappointing season for all three of the new guys in T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Donte’ Stallworth, and Anquan Boldin, Cam Cameron will be salivating at the chance to work with a receiver who had over 1,000 yards receiving and 13 touchdown catches last year for the Hurricanes. You might be thinking, “Why are you taking two Miami guys?” Your answer would be Willis McGahee, Ray Lewis, and Ed Reed.
3rd Round: William Rackley-Offensive Lineman-Lehigh
Who? I thought the same thing. That was, until I did some research looking for potential 3rd round offensive linemen and Rackley popped up looking like he could handle James Harrison on a bad day. He has a 6.8 draft grade, which is fairly high of a small school prospect. That small school factor will also help him slip into the 3rd round while everyone is going crazy that some quarterback hasn’t been drafted yet. He has the ability to pick up speed rushers and anchored a line that only gave up 14 sacks last year. Sounds like that savior that you were looking for right, Flacco?
4th Round: Casey Matthews-Linebacker-Oregon
As much as everyone wants to tell you, Casey Matthews is not the next Ray Lewis. No one will ever be like Ray Lewis. So please, cease your futile attempts to tell the 52 jersey crew this, in every mock draft. Nevertheless, Casey’s brother Clay had recent success becoming a young leader of the Packers, and helping lead them to raise the coveted Lombardi trophy this year. While Casey doesn’t possess all the athletic ability as his brother, he still offers qualities that a man getting used to the way it works at Baltimore usually do not. Casey shows leadership and immediate impact qualities. It is a stretch that a big name like his slips to the 123rd pick, but a guy can dream can’t he?
Other prospects to keep an eye on are Ben Ijalana, an O-lineman out of Villanova whose stock has slipped due to newer names surfacing, John Clay, a burly running back from Wisconsin who would be a great 3rd down and goal-line back in case of Willis McGahee’s parting in the offseason, and another small school wonder out of Mount Union, Cecil Shorts dazzled the Ravens at the Combine and would be another good young addition to an aged wideout corps. Be watching the draft next Thursday and see where I fell short and where I came close. You can bet your Terrible Towel toilet paper that I’ll be watching every chaotic and heart-leaping moment of the stage where all greats start. (Hear that one Tony Romo?)