After a 9-7 season, which has been considered by most an unsuccessful campaign based on the previous season’s accomplishments, the Ravens have the #25 pick in this April’s NFL Draft. Ozzie Newsome and Co. have a proven track record of successful 1st round
picks, ranging from franchise cornerstones (Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed) to very solid recent picks (Joe Flacco, Michael Oher).
Regardless of the past, the Ravens are looking to make at least one splash this offseason. Newsome has said that he wants to bring in a playmaker, and hopefully, that means a veteran receiver, namely Anquan Boldin or Brandon Marshall. We’ve dissected the Ravens’ options at receiver in the first round, so with this post, I’ll be looking elsewhere, based on my own opinion about this offseason: Bring in a veteran receiver and a young core of defensive players through the draft.
Based on this season’s woes in the secondary, my opinion is that the Ravens should take the top cornerback left when pick #25 rolls around. Now, my opinion doesn’t make the pick, as usually Newsome likes to take the top player on the board, sometimes regardless of need. With that said, Newsome may take the receiver who many Ravens fans want, Illinois’ Arrelious Benn (originally from DC, by the way) or may take a guy none of us would really expect, based on how the first round breaks out.
If we are looking at cornerbacks however, the top-ranked player at the position in the draft is without a doubt, Florida’s Joe Haden. Haden will not fall to #25, as most mock drafts have him going in the top 10. Much will change with the combine approaching, but Haden’s talent will definitely not let him slip to #25. Some options may be Florida State’s Patrick Robinson, Oklahoma State’s Perrish Cox and Boise State’s Kyle Wilson. All three are about 6’0″, give an inch over or under and all three are in the 19-195 lbs. range. Wilson has been rising up draft boards, but Robinson arguably is the most talented and has been mentioned as a first rounder for a while.
With Trevor Pryce getting old (and possibly being a trade target), the defensive line may be considered in the draft if good enough DEs remain. Florida’s Carlos Dunlap, Ole Miss’ Greg Hardy and USF’s Jason Pierre-Paul may be possible options at #25. It’s a bit unlikely, but if that’s the way the Ravens want to go, the defensive end class in this year’s draft is fairly deep.
Ozzie Newsome will always be (relatively) unpredictable with his first round pick, but his track record makes Ravens fans believe in whatever pick he chooses to make. After the combine and more pre-draft workouts, this picture will clear up quite a bit.