NFL draft boards are pretty much set now that the combine is over with. Teams more or less know which players they are and arent targeting. The Ravens are pretty well known for singling out about 100 players they deem “draft-able”, and drafting only guys off that list, I believe they already know at least 95 of those 100 guys. I will be taking my best guess at that 100 name list a few times, starting next week, but for now i think i can make some educated guesses on the Ravens pick in each round of the draft. So here we go.
Round 1, Pick 32- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia- Ogletree is the top ILB in the draft, he represents the evolution of the ILB position. He is a former safety with incredibly good coverage skills and a nose for the ball. He didnt run a great 40, but honestly I could care less what a linebacker runs in a 40 yard straight line. Ogletree looked very nice in drills and his film is incredible. He is way to talented to go at 32, but there are a ton of questions off the field that Ogletree has to answer. One team who met with him at the combine said they asked him questions after telling him they were aware of his past and according to them, he outright lied from the outset and everything he said contradicted their information. Ogletree also has a recent DUI and was suspended to start this season because he allegedly failed a drug test. he comes with plenty of red flags, but his talent is incredible and the Ravens always find guys that other teams are to scared to take for one reason or another. Ogletree is falling down boards quickly because a bunch of teams have taken him completely off their boards, The Ravens will capitalize on their mistakes. The Ravens will also look at Manti Teo(who I strongly believe the Ravens will take if he is there and Ogletree and a couple others are gone), Matt Elam, Jesse Williams and Sam Montgomery, Tavon Austin, Justin hunter, and whoever the best OL player on the board is(and Jarvis Jones if he tumbles down the draft).
Round 2, Pick 62- D.J. Swearinger, FS, South Carolina-Swearinger has reportedly been highly impressive in combine interviews and he looked good in drills. More importantly he has excellent film and he has a ton of it. Swearinger was a 4 year starter at South Carolina and He can play all over the secondary. His best spot is at FS, but he has played corner and SS before so it wouldn’t be anything new to him to move around in the NFL. Swearinger isn’t very big, but he is an incredibly hard hitter and he has the technical skills to cover TEs one on one. Swearinger also recently said he could see himself fitting in with the Ravens and i tend to agree, He has been a potential Ravens second round target of mine for over a month now. He is a great grab and a huge sleeper in the draft, I think he is a first round value that many teams will overlook because he is short.
Round 3 Pick 94- Da’Rick Rodgers, WR, Tennessee Tech- Rodgers is another guy with first round talent who has fallen out of favor because of a litany of off field issues. Rodgers is a WR that i love on tape though, he is incredibly tough going accross the middle, I have heard a bunch of scouts have described him as fearless. He has good size at 6’2″ 217 lbs and ran a 4.52 40. He has excellent hands and shows incredible concentration to make the catch regardless of what is about to happen to him(i.e. a big hit on a crossing route). Based on talent alone Rodgers would be my 2nd ranked WR(behind Patterson), but Rodgers has some off field and maturity questions. He was kicked out of Tennessee and many teams expressed doubts that he has matured any since then. Because of that Rodgers ends up being a third round steal if he can keep his head on straight in the NFL. Rodgers has the potential to be a bigger fast version of Anquan Boldin in a few years if he develops route running skills like Boldin did after coming into the NFL.
Round 4 Pick 126(subject to change**)-Kwame Geathers, NT, Georgia- There aren’t very many NTs in this draft. John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers are probably 2 of the maybe 5 or 6 guys worth having at the position, and they both come from Georgia. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see the Ravens take Jenkins in the first round, but I like them to target Geathers later on. Geathers is an under-rated player who would excel with the Ravens. The Ravens, coincidentally have a gaping hole in the defensive line at NT. Terrence Cody regressed substantially playing out of Chuck Paganos scheme and a year after looking like a top 10 player at the position, he was beaten out for his job by a guy who graded out among the leagues worst and had been out of football for over a year. The Ravens need someone to either take the job or push Cody back to being the player he was in 2011. I think the Ravens will look strongly at a TE like Vance McDonald from Rice here.
Round 5 Pick 158**- Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida- At this point, the Ravens like to take a chance on a buy low prospect who they will try to coach up and turn into a stud. Previous 5th round examples of this are Pernell McPhee, Jason Phillips(who didnt pan out but was viewed as a high upside guy), Jarred Gaither(supplemental), Troy Smith, etc. Some of those guys were home-runs, some werent. but either way, almost every year the Ravens like to take a chance on a guy in the 5th. Nixon could be that guy this year. He was very inconsistent and had some injury issues at Florida, but he flashed elite talent. There were times, like when he completely shut down LSU pass rushers Tank Carridine and Brandon Jenkins, where he flashed huge ability, but there were other like when he was toyed with by Jadaveon Clowney, where he looked like a future bust in the NFL. He is a guy some team will take a chance on in the late-mid rounds and they may get nothing out of him or he may turn into a 10 year starter. He is worth a gamble though.
Round 6 Pick 190**- Jack Doyle, TE, Western Kentucky- I have a strong suspicion that the Ravens will be taking a TE in rounds 2-5 this year, but in my mock, no value ever presented itself(mostly because i think Geathers is better than Vance McDonald in round 4). but around came round 6 and low and behold Doyle fits. Doyle is a 6’5″ 255 lbs TE with huge upside. Doyle was clearly the only serviceable talent at WKU last year and he still had over 50 receptions(second year in a row). he needs to get stronger and become a better rounded player, but he has a huge frame and good hands which isn’t something you can coach into a guy9at least not the frame). i have seen Doyle valued as everywhere from an early 4th round talent, to an un-drafted free agent, i think this is about right for him though. The Ravens know both Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are free agents next year(RFAs this year) and they certainly will lose one of them, so they need a new pass catcher to develop for a year and try and use to replace the departed player.
Round 7 Pick 222**- Tavaris King, WR, Georgia- King is basically a poor mans Torrey smith. He is a bit slower and a bit smaller, but he has good hands and is very productive. King does have a knack for finding soft spots in zone coverage(which the Ravens are likely to see more of with Jim Caldwells’ offensive scheme in place next season. The Ravens still need depth in their WR corp and I think King would be a better option than a few of the guys they have right now(namely Tandon Doss who I think we can start considering a bust because he hurts the team every time he hits the field on offense). King isn’t a guy with a super high ceiling, but he could be a slot WR from day one and be a serviceable WR for years in the NFL. King is also supposed to be an extremely high character guy, and a strong locker-room presence.
** Picks in the third-seventh rounds all could and will change when compensatory picks are announced in a few weeks.