The Baltimore Ravens have to prepare themselves for the possibility that Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen will both be gone when the Ravens get to the 28th pick:
I did this thought experiment with interior linemen, so I thought we should probably go through inside linebackers as well. The idea is to go through all the options the Ravens have in the NFL Draft at the position. Obviously there are more options, these are the most viable ones that should get you through the beginning of day three. These players are listed in the order of where they fit on my personal big board. I’ve watched all these guys, taken some notes and have a decent idea of what they bring to the table. If the Ravens can’t get Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen here are their inside linebacker options.
1. Malik Harrison (Ohio St)
Harrison is a guy we’ve talked a lot about. He’s a downhill linebacker. While Queen and Murray have more elite traits, Harrison is as proven as a linebacker as there is in this draft class. Harrison would add a lot of toughness and heart to the middle of the Ravens defense.
Harrison is a player I am higher on than a lot of people. I have him as my number three linebacker. I actually like him more than Murray because his tape is so impressive and I believe he can be an every down linebacker. I have Harrison as my 19th ranked player. Isiah Simmons is a top 10 pick. The next tier in my eyes includes Harrison.
2. Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech)
Brooks looks the part and he’s got the athleticism. Brooks is coming off an awesome season with Texas Tech where he had 108 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He’s a downhill linebacker who doesn’t mess around. He doesn’t have first round polish, yet he has traits and production. While I would like to see better instincts, he’s a high effort player and he fits the mold of a Ravens linebacker. He could be a very good target at 55.
Brooks has the ability to be what the Ravens hoped Arthur Brown would be. The same strengths that Brown had coming out of Kansas State are there for Brooks. I have a hard time trusting Big 12 linebackers in general (a concern Murray is not immune to). I like what I see though.
3. Willie Gay Jr. (Mississippi State)
This is the NFL Scouting Combine warrior of the year. He had a 4.46 40 yard dash and had good numbers with the vertical and broad jump. This is what the NFL.com draft profile by Lance Zierlein says about Gay Jr.:
"“Gay has experience lining up in a variety of linebacker roles, but might not have the feel to play in the middle on the next level. He’s hard to miss on the field with his flailing arms and energetic playing style. He’s a healthy hitter once he squares and attacks ball-carriers. He lacks instincts and angles to mirror ball-carriers from the gaps to the flanks, but he does a nice job of sticking and finishing when he’s in position.”"
This is the definition of a boom or bust pick and I had a hard time making up my mind in where to put Gay Jr. on my board. Using Zierlein’s draft profile helped me with that. What Gay Jr. does well is awesome. What he does less well seems to be things that can be coached up. In my eyes he is a high ceiling linebacker who at the very least is instantly better than Chris Board or Otaro Alaka.