While the Ravens should walk away from the first few waves of free agency with at least one new starting lineman, it will more likely be a guard or tackle than a center, as the market simply has more options at the prior two positions. While Creed Humphrey would make a lot of sense as a new starting center much earlier in this draft, he likely won’t fit the “best player available” mantra at pick 27, and will more than likely be off the board by the time the Ravens pick in the second round. If Baltimore ends up trading out of pick 27, Humphrey becomes a much more likely option, but until then, the Ravens are looking for a center later in the draft. Kentucky’s Drake Jackson is the perfect fit.
Jackson doesn’t offer the kind of versatility that the Ravens crave from linemen, but he is good at what he does and can provide great value as a Day 1 starter in the fifth round of the draft. That should make Baltimore more willing to ease off their demands for versatility and rely on the plethora of depth linemen already on the roster to handle those duties.
When healthy, Tavon Young is one of the better slot corners in the NFL in his young career. Unfortunately for Young and the Ravens, he has missed all but two games over the last two seasons, meaning Baltimore will need to add a backup slot option as an insurance policy this offseason.
Wisconsin’s Rachad Wildgoose Jr. is something of a wild card, having played just two games in 2020, but showed versatility and a nose for the ball in his brief career with the Badgers. While he posted just one interception in his time at Wisconsin, Wildgoose deflected at least six passes in both of his two full seasons, and also showed the ability to hold his own in coverage against bigger receivers. He’ll need to be coached up before he’s ready to be relied on as a starting slot corner in the NFL, but has the kind of talent that is worth taking a swing on at this point in the draft.
The Ravens’ lack of depth at tackle was exposed when Ronnie Stanley went down in 2020, and even if Orlando Brown Jr. is still in the fold for 2021, Baltimore would be wise to find a developmental tackle that can step into action in a pinch. Wisconsin’s Cole Van Lanen provides the kind of raw talent and upside that make him a strong candidate to be the next late-round find for Baltimore on the offensive line. Whether Van Lanen takes over for Brown in 2022 or serves as a quality backup/swing tackle, there’s certainly a role for him on the Ravens.