2 reasons Baltimore Ravens may make most mock drafts wrong
The Baltimore Ravens are taking either a wide receiver or a pass rusher right? Maybe an offensive lineman? The Ravens first-round pick could actually end up being a surprise: Here are three reasons:
1. The Ravens may not even take a player in the first round
When the Baltimore Ravens are on the clock you always have to be willing to accept that they may trade away the pick. The Ravens have the 27th pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Ravens traded back. They may even end up trading back twice before the first round is even over.
Do you remember what happened when Ozzie Newsome drafted Hayden Hurst and Lamar Jackson in the 2018 NFL Draft? The Ravens drafted Hayden Hurst after trading back twice. They then used some of the added draft capital to trade up to get Lamar Jackson with the 32nd overall pick.
The Ravens never view getting more picks as a bad thing. There’s a reason the Ravens are so mindful of compensatory picks. They know that each draft selection is a chance to add value to the team. Value is always going to be the keyword with the Ravens. It’s not just about what the Ravens walk away with, but how they worked the draft and stayed true to their guiding principles.
With the 27th pick, the Ravens will have an idea of how far they can trade back and still get one of their guys. The beginning of the second round isn’t a bad place to be. While second-round picks don’t get the coveted fifth-year option, they come with a lot less pressure. Trading back to the beginning of the second round could allow them to take the first-round leftovers of their choice while building a draft class of their design.
Trades always bust up mock drafts. The Ravens are often good for that.
2. The Ravens are a solid football team:
The Baltimore Ravens have very pronounced needs. The Ravens need another edge rusher or two. They need help on the offensive line. That’s about all the Ravens desperately need. There is no rule that the Ravens need to look at the first round to the solution to one of those problems. Being a solid team affords the Ravens the luxury of drafting whomever DeCosta and company desire. The Ravens don’t have to pigeonhole themselves at any one position. A first-round pick outside of the little list of team needs at the bottom of the screen can pay off.
Baltimore often deploys the best player available model. It’s what got the Ravens Marlon Humphrey in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Ravens selection was a surprise to many pundits who thought the Ravens would go to a more prominent need. The Ravens weren’t focused on their most pressing need. They loved Humphrey and he ended up becoming a cornerstone to everything the team was doing.
The Ravens technically didn’t need J.K. Dobbins when they selected him in the second round last year. Is anybody complaining about the pick? No.
Let’s just go through the list. The Ravens are set at quarterback, running back and, tight end. If Orlando Brown Jr. doesn’t get traded offensive tackle is set other than depth. The Ravens can always use more at wide receiver but the center position is the one big hole for the Ravens to toy with on offense.
The Ravens don’t have to pick their starting center of the future in the first 32 picks. The offensive line isn’t a bad guess though for a mock draft. It’s just not a lock.
The defensive line is solid with young players coming up behind veterans. The secondary is strong even if it could use an upgrade or two. The Ravens have a surplus of talent (most of it young) at the inside linebacker positions. Outside linebacker is the only obvious defensive need.
The Ravens have a whole draft to work with. Should they have the urgency to attack their needs in the first three rounds? Yes. Should they be desperate for a particular prospect to fall to the 27th spot? Absolutely not.
The more a team has figured out the more they can look for a game-changer. The Ravens aren’t looking to fill a lot of blank spaces on the depth chart. They’re looking for a player they can’t pass up.