This was difficult. In the two mock drafts that I utilized to try to find common picks and trends to get my definitive list, I was left with picking between Cesar Ruiz (IOL), A.J. Epenesa (EDGE), and Kenneth Murray (LB). Tough decision. I can’t really fault anyone, including Eric DeCosta, for taking any of the three of them, but this kind of lands in the realm of “best player available.” Epenesa is a really close second, but Ruiz is transcendent. There won’t be any questions about Ruiz’s work-ethic, on-field play, or character. There will be no question if Ruiz can start day one, fit the Ravens mold, and elevate the Ravens’ offense. With Epenesa and Murray, I have some questions about fit or polish; I don’t have those concerns with Ruiz.
Besides, I personally have a “balance” mentality that I feel DeCosta shares. This means, that after looking after the defense to an immense degree in the early stages of Free Agency, I feel the Ravens have a defense that’s ready to play today and be a Top 3 defense in the NFL. On the other side, the offense has been ignored thus far in the off-season and the Ravens need a Marshall Yanda replacement, while also questioning how ready Matt Skura will be after a gruesome knee injury. Maybe Matt Skura will be fine, and second-year Right Guard Ben Powers will fill in nicely. It doesn’t really matter. Cesar Ruiz is by most accounts a cut above those two players, and Offensive Line depth is never a bad thing; especially from a player that can play Center or Right Guard.