A few days ago the Draft invitees were announced. For the first time ever the list included nearly a full round worth of players with 26 names making the list (a recently as 2007 there were just 5 invitees, that’s 21 less than this year). That gives late first round teams a chance to get their first round pick on the stage, holding up a jersey. Its a cool moment for prospects and fans and the idea of the Ravens drafting a player in the building is a pretty fun one (the last time they did that was with Michael Oher in 2008, who was expected to be a top 13 pick but slid).
So my question is simply, could the Ravens draft a player who will be attending the draft?
Once you remove the players with no chance of lasting 29 picks (Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne, Michael Floyd, Stephon Gilmore, Fletcher Cox, RGIII, Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Kalil, Melvin Ingram, Quenton Coples, Micheal Brockers) and players who aren’t scheme fits or the Ravens wouldn’t want/need (Coby Fleener, Devon Still) that leaves just 11 names.
Mark Barron, S, Alabama
Cordy Glenn, T/G, Georgia
Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise St.
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Dontari Poe, DE/DT, Memphis
Reuben Randle, WR, LSU
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
I don’t think the Ravens have much of a shot at Barron who was recently described as the “hottest player in the draft” by Charlie Casserly and is reportedly on the Radars of the Cowboys, Jets, Steelers and Bengals. Cordy Glenn has been sliding the past few weeks (through no fault of his own) and has a very outside chance of making it to 29. I don’t think Randle deserves a first round grade. Dontari Poe is sliding, but not to 29. Kirkpatrick would be a good pick for the Ravens as I believe he has a good future as an NFL free safety, but I don’t think he will slide any further than 22 (Bengals).
That just leaves Hightower, Hill, McClellin, Perry, Upshaw and Wright.
Hightower is a favorite of Ravens fans and the Ravens would take a very very close look at him if he were available at 29. Hill, who would be my pick for the Ravens if I did a mock draft today, is also a fairly likely option as the Ravens have had him in for a visit and Joe Hortiz has repeatedly spoken highly of him. McClellin is a scheme and position fit but he is a late riser. I’ve always said to beware the Late riser in the draft because they are almost always over drafted. If their draft stock changes any time after the combine, they probably aren’t going where they should have gone. Perry is similar to McClellin but I personally don’t think he has any type of coverage or run stopping ability to speak of, and would NOT be an improvement over Paul Kruger in the short or long term. Upshaw is my favorite pick for the Ravens in the draft. He is an elite run defender, shows promise as a coverage backer and has potential to average 7-9 sacks per season. Wright fits a need for the Ravens, but being so similar to Torrey Smith means the Ravens would likely not be interested in the Baylor WR.
Now the List is down to Hightower, Upshaw and Hill.
Any of the three would be good picks, Hill is the safest bet to make it to 29, Hightower wont be far off. Upshaw might make it and might not. It is almost impossible to get a good read on his stock because depending on who you ask you might find out that he is a top 15 player (he is 17 on my board), or that he is a second rounder. All three have a decent chance to fall to 29 though, and any would be a good pick.
Tags: Andrew Luck Coby Fleener Cordy Glenn Courtney Upshaw Devon Still Donta Hightower Dre Kirkpatrick Fletcher Cox Justin Blackmon Kendall Wright Malvin Ingram Mark Barron Matt Kalil Michael Brockers Michael Floyd Michael Oher Morris Claiborne NFL NFL Draft Nick Perry Ozzie Newsome Quenton Coples Ravens Reuben Randle RGIII Ryan Tannehill Shea McClellin Stephen Hill Stephon Gilmore Trent Richardson