ESPN projects Ravens will stun fans, pass on OT in first round of 2024 NFL Draft

The Ravens may be in the market for defense.
NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens are a few days away from making their first selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. GM Eric DeCosta can finally address concerns surrounding a lack of talent on the offensive line and a defense that saw multiple starters depart in free agency.

After being linked to many of the top offensive tackles in this class, with Arizona's Jordan Morgan starting to gain a ton of steam in recent days, the latest analytical models have the Ravens going in a different direction. Fans may need to prepare for a top cornerback to come off the board at No. 30 overall.

According to ESPN's Draft Day Predictor, Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry has the most likely chance of being selected with the No. 30 overall pick. This goes against what many mock drafts and rumors suggest, as the Ravens could eschew an offensive lineman for a defensive back.

A pair of pass-rushers rounded out the top three, with Penn State speed demon Chop Robinson and Missouri tweener Darius Robinson being the next two likeliest selections. The top five was finished out with Texas wide receiver Adonai Mitchell and Oklahoma right tackle Tyler Guyton.

ESPN says Baltimore Ravens will draft Alabama CB Kool-Aid McKinstry

If he has a clean bill of health, there's quite a lot to be excited about when looking at McKinstry. With textbook man coverage ability, quality ball skills, and only one touchdown surrendered during his last two seasons at Alabama, McKinstry's solid production will make up for a lack of amazing long speed.

McKinstry should have no trouble stepping in as one of the two outside cornerbacks in a secondary that has already lost Geno Stone and Ronald Darby via free agency. With Marlon Humphrey's future past this season cloudy, the Ravens would do well to add a possible CB1 successor.

Both Robinson pass rushers are worth taking a look at as well. Penn State's Chop has tremendous explosion off the line of scrimmage and bendiness to get around offensive linemen, while Missouri's Darius shows exceptional versatility and run-stuffing to go along with a solid bullrush and a deep bag of pass rush moves.

The Ravens could go in one of 26 different directions early in the draft, but it seems like the idea of eschewing the offensive line in favor of a defensive starter seems to be more appealing to Baltimore than previously indicated, McKinstry could be a 10-year starter if he makes good on his potential.