Ravens Mock Draft: 5 first-round targets for Baltimore

Ravens, Devin Lloyd (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Ravens, Devin Lloyd (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Ravens, Verone McKinley III Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Ravens draft target: Verone McKinley III, S, Oregon

Another position that might not jump out as a huge need for the Ravens is safety. But much like cornerback, it’s something they could look to address.

DeShon Elliott is in the final year of his contract, and although the Ravens would probably like to re-sign him, they may not have the cap space to make it work. And even if they do, that certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility that they draft a safety.

One player who makes a ton of sense is Oregon’s Verone McKinley III. McKinley has been a rapid riser up draft boards this season and could give the Ravens the center-field type safety they’ve been missing.

A former cornerback, McKinley is a rangy free safety with excellent ball skills and above-average athleticism. He always seems to find himself around the football and his skills as a former cornerback allow him to track the ball effectively in the air.

The Ravens have been missing a true free safety in their defense since the departure of Earl Thomas, and although defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s defense doesn’t require safeties to have defined roles, his skill set is one in demand.

The Ravens could have Chuck Clark take on more of a hybrid linebacker role allowing McKinley and Elliott to mix in at safety. Martindale would certainly find plenty of ways to use a talent like McKinley.

Keep an eye on him as the months go on. Time will tell just how high he climbs up draft boards.