Weird ESPN Mock Draft has Ravens taking 2 defensive backs early

Would the Ravens invest in their defense so heavily?
Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

As the 2024 NFL Draft inches closer, it remains to be seen if the Baltimore Ravens will try to add more playmakers on offense, beef up the defense, or take the best players available. If ESPN had their way, the Ravens would be spending a ton of time and effort beefing up the secondary.

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Field Yates combined forced for a 100-pick, three-round mock draft. Both analysts seem to have a less-than-impressive view of the Ravens' defense after losing so many starters in the offseason, as their top picks will primarily be spent on the defensive side of the ball.

In the first round, Yates has the Ravens addressing their secondary by drafting Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry. While he is an inferior prospect to teammate Terrion Arnold, McKinstry is still every bit as worthy of being picked in the first round.

Things started to get weird once Day 2 came. At No. 62 overall, the Ravens were projected to select Illinois offensive lineman Isaiah Adams. With the 93rd overall choice, Baltimore again decided to pick a defensive back, as Kiper had them picking Miami safety Kamren Kinchens. No wide receivers went to Baltimore in this exercise.

ESPN Mock Draft has Ravens taking Kool-Aid McKinstry, Isaiah Adams

McKinstry is an ideal man coverage cornerback prospect, as his length, aggressive style of play, and years of high-end tape against future pro receivers in the SEC all contribute to him being ranked this highly. McKinstry only surrendered one touchdown during his final two years at Alabama.

Adams is an unusual pick, as many project the former Fighting Illini star to be selected early on Day 3 of the Draft. Positional versatility and physical strength are his two best assets, which could help him fill in as a quality backup tackle or convert inside to guard with the promise of eventually becoming a starter.

Every year, teams have to weigh athletic testing against production, and Kinchens is the ultimate experiment in those extremes this year. While he completely bombed his testing and ran a disappointing 4.65 40-yard dash, the player formerly regarded as the top safety in this class did intercept 11 passes during his final two years at Miami.

While the Ravens need more help for Lamar Jackson on the perimeter, and Adams seems like a bit of a risk in the second round, Baltimore's secondary isn't exactly the Legion of Boom at this moment in time. With a new No. 2 cornerback and Geno Stone replacement in McKinstry and Kinchens, respectively, Zach Orr's defense can be elite once again in 2024.