2019 NFL Draft: Prospects Ravens should watch in CFP
The match-up: Clemson vs. Notre Dame
- EDGE Clelin Ferrell (Clemson)
- EDGE Austin Bryant (Clemson)
- DL Christian Wilkins (Clemson)
- DL Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame)
- LB Te’von Coney (Notre Dame)
- CB Trayvon Mullen (Clemson)
- CB Julian Love (Notre Dame)
Similarly to Alabama, the Clemson Tigers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish possess the majority of their talented players on defense. In fact, there aren’t hardly any names worth mentioning as prospects who are eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. Yes, Clemson’s Tee Higgins is a stud wide receiver, but he remains a true sophomore and can’t come out until at least 2020.
With Terrell Suggs on the wrong side of 30-years old by a lot, the Baltimore Ravens need youth at pass rusher. Za’Darius Smith and Matt Judon are nice, but the two will be free agents following the 2018 and 2019 seasons respectively. Until Tim Williams shows he can stay healthy, he can’t be counted on. And by this point, no one even remembers who Tyus Bowser is.
Before the 2018 season started, there was a belief that the Clemson Tigers entire defensive line was talented enough to have all four starters taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That suspicion has quickly faded, however, and now the only sure-fire lock for round one is Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell is a monster off the edge with the production (26.0 sacks over last three seasons) and build that Baltimore loves. His partner in crime, Austin Bryant, isn’t nearly as flashy as Ferrell is, but he still produces and does dirty work as the fourth, often forgot about, Clemson defensive lineman.
Given Clemson runs a 4-3 defense, it should be made clear that both Ferrell and Bryant would be 3-4 edge rushers in the Ravens 3-4 defense. As for true defensive linemen, Clemson’s Christian Wilkins and Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery are high-floor players for Baltimore to fancy. Wilkins was definitely the true leader of Clemson’s defense and has a high-motor that doesn’t let up. Tillery is a productive pass rusher who could change the way the Ravens attack the quarterback from their front-three.
The best of the bunch is Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence, but considering he is more of a nose tackle than a 3-Tech, he simply isn’t a logical pick for Baltimore in round one. The Ravens already have two of the NFL’s best nose tackles in Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce. While Lawrence could be argued to be an upgrade over both, it’s simply not worth the investment.
Te’von Coney has been a do-it-all linebacker for the Fighting Irish over the last two seasons, notching over 100 tackles in each respectively. With the recent play of Kenny Young, who could be a star in the making for Baltimore, and Patrick Onwuasor providing solid depth at the position, drafting Coney only makes sense if C.J. Mosley leaves Charm City via Free Agency.
The Ravens definitely need a solid no.2 cornerback opposite Marlon Humphrey should the team elect to let Jimmy Smith go after 2018. The 2019 NFL Draft class has plenty of solid corners, but Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen might be its best kept secret. Perhaps it’s his lack of production (zero interceptions in 2018), but Mullen’s size (6’2″ 190-lbs.) makes him a deadly combo opposite Humphrey. Notre Dame’s Julian Love is another guy to keep an eye on and could find his way into the round one conversation.