Ian Schultz’s top 3 picks:
The 2020 NFL draft has finally arrived with the festivities set to kick off Thursday night for round one with rounds two and three to follow on Friday night. Rounds 4-7 will round out the draft bonanza on Saturday afternoon.
The Baltimore Ravens are currently scheduled to select three times in the first two rounds with the first of the selections at pick 28. The Ravens will be back on the clock at pick 55 and will then have a short wait before their second 2nd round pick is announced at 60.
The possibility certainly exists that the Ravens could trade up or back at any of these slots but for the purpose of this exercise, we are going to take a look at our ideal top three selections.
The Ravens will be looking to fortify their interior offensive line here with their first pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Ruiz is one of the youngest players in the draft at age 20 and has a ton of room to continue to grow as a professional.
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Ruiz played center for the Wolverines but has the ability to move to either left guard or right in the interior offensive line as well. He started all 13 games each of the last two seasons and projects to be a day one starter on an offensive line that lost Marshal Yanda this off-season to retirement.
Ravens starting center for much of the season, Matt Skura is looking to recover from a serious knee injury. Bradley Bozeman started last season at right guard and performed admirably despite being a more natural fit at the center position. Patrick Mekari filled in for Skura well enough and 2019 draft pick Ben Powers failed to contribute in year one.
Adding Ruiz gives the Ravens more quality along the interior line, and with so many unknowns in that group, he is the right pick at 28.
Remember the Ravens 2019 playoff exit against the Titans? Hollywood Brown tallied seven catches for 126 yards in the 28-12 heartbreaking season ending loss. The rest of the wide receiver group spent most of the day struggling to make big plays and contributing key drops to the equation.
At this point, the Ravens have Brown, Willie Snead, and Miles Boykin slated to return to their wide receiver stable as projected contributors. That is a group that ranks in the bottom 25% of the league. An infusion of talent at the wide receiver position is needed and that can arrive in the way of Tee Higgins.
Higgins tied Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins for the Clemson touchdown record scoring 27 times in his three seasons including double-digit touchdowns in each of his last two years. He is best suited for an outside receiver role but has shown the ability to play all three wide receiver spots.
He has a ridonkulous catch radius and is a consistent winner at the point of the catch. He would be a perfect complement for Hollywood Brown and would give defenses a lot more to think about when the Ravens offense hits the field.
The Ravens have a ton of future uncertainty in the front seven of their defense and especially along the edges. Matt Judon is slated to play this season on the franchise tag if a long-term deal cannot be reached and he is the only “known commodity” from the EDGE spot. Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson are also potential contributors along the front.
Uche is a 6’2, 250 pound outside linebacker who was a strong contributor for the Wolverines over the past two seasons in Ann-Arbor. Last season he tallied 7.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss while earning second-team All Big Ten honors. He has also flashed the ability to drop into coverage effectively as well.
Uche is a little raw but can provide some versatility along the defensive front. The bottom line is the Ravens need to find ways to get to the QB more effectively. Uche can be an impact player in that regard in year one.