It’s the Monday morning drive and the Baltimore Ravens are one of the 30 teams now in the NFL offseason period which means mock drafts are just getting started.
Welcome to the Monday morning drive, a new weekly series I’m starting today. It will drop every Monday morning, featuring a different topic each week. Along with the topic will be the latest Baltimore Ravens news from FanSided and around the internet.
The offseason is in full swing for the Ravens with free agency and the NFL draft right around the corner. Senior Bowl practice begins this week and the oversaturation of mock drafts is just getting started. You’re about to see more mock drafts than you’ve ever imagined. Every site and every football expert will have their take on where the next batch of NFL players will land.
News flash, there’s no such thing as a perfect mock draft
It’s important to note that scouting is very important and draft experts put countless and countless of hours and effort into their work but even they can agree mock drafts vary by person. They are like predicting the weather and things change on any given day. We’re in the early portion of the offseason and mock drafts will look completely different come the draft week, you can bet on that.
Just about no one predicted the Baltimore Ravens selecting cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the 2017 draft and their first round selection this year is completely up in the air again. Fans are clamoring for an offensive playmaker but we’ll believe it when we see it. The Ravens need something to be excited about on the offensive side of the ball aside from Alex Collins.
But without further ado, let’s get into this week’s news and discussion.
5 Mock Drafts From the Week
Who do the experts have the Ravens taking at No. 16?
Mel Kiper-ESPN: OT Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh
"“Right tackle Austin Howard didn’t have a great year in pass protection, and the Ravens could find an immediate upgrade with O’Neill,” Kiper wrote. “He was dominant on the left side at times this season after starting on the right in 2015 and 2016.”"
Daniel Jeremiah- NFL.com: OT Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
"The Ravens need to address the wide receiver position, but they have a good track record of filling that void with veteran players in free agency. Brown would immediately start at right tackle for Baltimore, just like his father did a little more than a decade ago."
Steve Palazzolo- PFF.com: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
"Adding playmakers for QB Joe Flacco may be the top offseason priority, and Ridley brings a downfield, speedy option on the outside. His production at Alabama doesn’t tell the story given the run-heavy scheme, but he averaged 24.0 yards per target on deep passes, ninth-best in the nation."
Matt Miller- BleacherReport.com: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
"The Ravens are in a spot where something has to give. The team is routinely good enough to fight for a playoff spot but can’t overcome the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North. Adding a receiver that can stretch the field and make physical plays can take the offense over the top."
R.J. White- CBSSports.com:WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
"Ozzie Newsome obviously loves to grab Alabama prospects in the draft, and here’s a guy that also fills a major need for the team. Ridley is so much more than his pedestrian college stats suggest, and while teams will give him a pass for his production in that offense, he’ll need to show the ability to bulk up a bit if he wants to jump into the top half of the first round."
Ravens News and Notes From Around FanSided
"This is going to be the best season for drafting wide receivers. Last year’s crop of receivers was disappointing. Teams don’t want to find themselves wasting the first year on a developing player…The Ravens know all about being gun-shy at this position, but they have to leap at the opportunity this April. The 16th pick should probably be a wide receiver."
Top 5 wide receiver prospects for the Ravens [Ebony Bird – Chris Schisler]
"Courtland Sutton is one of the most incredible wide receiver prospects I have ever seen. He reminds me of a young Julio Jones. He has great body control, great hands and he’s a fiery competitor."
Joe Flacco: How does he compare to the G.O.A.T? [Ebony Bird – Jackson Thompson]
"Of course, I began with Tom Brady; and while some fans might be quick to complain about Flacco’s contract or ready to run Joe out of town, what I found could be surprising. No, don’t throw anything at your computer, but there are more similarities between Joe Flacco and Tom Brady than you might think."
More Ravens News From Around the Internet
While we here at Ebony Bird strive to put up the best Baltimore Ravens content on a daily basis, there are other great sites doing the same. Here’s some of the Ravens news around the purple and black community.
Is Courtland Sutton worth the 16th overall pick? [Baltimore Beatdown – Michael Sedjro]
"Sutton is a 6-foot-4, 215 pound wide receiver who shows good wiggle after the catch and dominates at the catch point. He does not lack natural ability. However, there is a scenario where Sutton does not immediately contribute with the numbers and production of a number one receiver. [The Ravens] will need the sixteenth pick to contribute right away, especially in a year where the head coach’s seat could be getting warmer."
It’s an interesting question that will continue to be debated heading up to draft day. The Ravens have the need for a wide receiver and with some intriguing first-round prospects, it’s going to be hard to pass up. But on the same side, the Ravens have proven that drafting receivers are their Achilles’ heel
Season in Review: Joe Flacco [Russell Street Report– Adam Bonaccorsi]
"Looking at individual stats over his career, Flacco’s 2017 completion percentage was his lowest since 2014, while his 18 touchdowns were the 3rd lowest in his 10-year career (rookie year he had 16 total touchdowns, and in his 10-game injury-shortened 2015 season he had 16 total TD’s). His QB Rating of 80.4 was also the 3rd lowest of his career."
Since his big contract following the 2012 Super Bowl, it’s obvious Joe Flacco hasn’t been the same. His production has tailed off and the Ravens are financially stuck with him for at least two more years. That being said, Ozzie and the front office must look to find his successor this year.
Derrius Guice to the Ravens doesn’t make sense [RavensWire– Nathan Beaucage]
"Using first-round selections on running backs is becoming more and more of a rarity, as we are seeing that productive rushers can come from all stages of the draft, with teams being rewarded for their patience by drafting exceptional backs like Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara and David Johnson in the draft’s later rounds."
The Ravens need playmakers and while Gruice isn’t a wide receiver, he’s one of the most explosive offensive weapons coming into the draft. I do however agree with Beaucage on this topic. If the Ravens have Alex Collins at the helm and Kenneth Dixon returning, there’s no need to commit a first round pick to a running back. That’s not saying the Ravens can’t draft a back this year but it’s not the primary need.
Things are just getting started for the Ravens this offseason. Keep up with us here at Ebony Bird for all of the latest news surrounding the purple and black.