Mel Kiper’s Ravens Mock Draft 1.0: A Wide Receiver?


Nov 29, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Devin Funchess (1) watches the scoreboard near the end of the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 42-28. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that wonderful time of year when we are bombarded with mock drafts from pretty much every Jim, Bob, and Joe on the interwebs.  The most ballyhooed, of course, is ESPN’s Mel Kiper.  And Kiper has just released his first mock draft of the year (Insider subscription required), one that has the Baltimore Ravens selecting Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess.

Kiper presents his logic for making the big bodied Funchess the number 26 pick of the 2015 draft:

"It’s not really fair to call Funchess a tight end based on where he typically lines up, but at more than 6-foot-4 and at about 235 pounds with the ability to simply overpower most cornerbacks, he’s not exactly a flanker, either. What I’d call him is a perpetual matchup problem, a guy you can move around, with the quickness to run crisp routes and easily create space if linebackers try to cover him and enough size to make cornerbacks have to go through him for the ball. Joe Flacco can use a weapon like Funchess, as could Gary Kubiak, assuming he passes on any other overtures."

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Devin Funchess is huge, indeed, and would most definitely present a big mismatch problem for opposing corners.  He has all the measurables, but unfortunately, that didn’t translate to elite production in his college career.  Funchess peaked this season with 62 receptions for 733 yards (11.8 avg) and 4 touchdowns.

Obviously, great collegiate stats aren’t always a prerequisite to a great pro career. And Funchess played on a team that had major quarterback and offensive line issues.  What is concerning, however, is how Funchess has obtained a reputation for checking out of games and losing focus, especially when times got tough at Michigan this season.  Is that the kind of guy you want to spend a first round pick on?

In addition, Funchess isn’t a good blocker and battled injuries this past season.  Sure, he has the size and potential that gets offensive coordinators excited.  He had some good games against elite defenses in college, before Michigan’s season went in the crapper.  But his maturity level scares me for a guy who still has a lot to learn.  Would he put the necessary work in to make it at the next level?  NFL history is littered with guys who haven’t.

Plus, the Ravens employ a “best player available” draft strategy, year in and year out.  They could certainly use a big receiver, but they certainly won’t reach for one.

Do you agree with Mel Kiper’s Ravens mock draft pick?