Here on the FanSided Network the local blogs like The Baltimore Wire (and a few NFL sites to fill the gaps) completed the first round of a mock draft. Our Cleveland sports site called Factory of Sadness organized the entire effort, and the final full draft with brief write-ups from each team may be seen by clicking HERE.
This is a simple list of the selections (join me after the list for some summary thoughts related to the Baltimore Ravens).
#1 Houston Texans – Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville, Quarterback
#2 St. Louis Rams – Sammy Watkins, Clemson, Wide Receiver
#3 Jacksonville Jaguars – Blake Bortles, Central Florida, Quarterback
#4 Cleveland Browns – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, Quarterback
#5 Oakland Raiders – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, Defensive End
#6 Atlanta Falcons – Jake Matthews, Texas A&M, Offensive Tackle
#7 Tampa Bay Bucaneers – Anthony Barr, UCLA, Linebacker
#8 Minnesota Vikings – Derek Carr, Fresno State, Quarterback
#9 Buffalo Bills – Mike Evans, Texas A&M, Wide Receiver
#10 Detroit Lions – Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, Cornerback
#11 Tennessee Titans – Khalil Mack, Buffalo, Linebacker
#12 New York Giants – Greg Robinson, Auburn, Offensive Tackle
#13 St Louis Rams – Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State, Cornerback
#14 Chicago Bears – Louis Nix, Notre Dame, Defensive Tackle
#15 Pittsburgh Steelers – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama, Safety
#16 Baltimore Ravens – Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State, Wide Receiver
#17 Dallas Cowboys – Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota, Defensive Tackle
#18 New York Jets – Eric Ebron, UNC, Tight End
#19 Miami Dolphins – Taylor Lewan, Michigan, Offensive Tackle
#20 Arizona Cardinals – Calvin Pryor, Louisville, Safety
#21 Green Bay Packers – Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame, Defensive End
#22 Philadelphia Eagles – Bradley Roby, Ohio State, Cornerback
#23 Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee, USC, Wide Receiver
#24 Cincinnati Bengals – CJ Mosley, Alabama, Linebacker
#25 San Diego Chargers – Trent Murphy, Stanford, Linebacker
#26 Cleveland Browns – Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama, Offensive Tackle
#27 New Orleans Saints – Zack Martin, Notre Dame, Offensive Tackle
#28 Carolina Panthers – Select Allen Robinson, Penn State, Wide Receiver
#29 New England Patriots – Jace Amaro, Texas Tech, Tight End
#30 San Francisco 49ers – Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, Cornerback
#31 Denver Broncos – Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, Linebacker
#32 Seattle Seahawks – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington, Tight End
There are three trains of thought relative to the direction the Ravens should proceed …
A. The Offensive Tackle Direction – It remains a painful memory as to the disastrous season turned in by the Ravens’ offensive line. There are several possible directions to go with a new center and with the guards. But there is certainly going to be a new offensive tackle, and many mock drafts and articles link Jake Matthews of Texas A&M with the Ravens. That would be great and could happen were he to be available at pick 16 or 17. Not likely. As you can see in our draft, he was gone with pick seven, and Greg Robinson of Auburn was taken with pick 12.
B. The Safety Direction – In more recent days it has been written in a number of sources that the Ravens would do well to draft a great safety to pair with Matt Elam (along with corners Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb) to create a relative shut-down air defense in the mode of the Seahawks. The fairly unanimous best safety in the draft is Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. In our mock draft he was the pick immediately before I had my shot. In real life, he may not fall even that far.
C. The Wide Receiver Direction – A couple of weeks ago John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome seemed to signal pretty definitively that the greatest need was a wide receiver who could handle intermediate throws and run a bit with the ball. It was toward this need that I chose Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State. You can read my full justification in my article, but the main reason is his size and playmaking ability. Many writers associate Mike Evans of Texas A&M with Baltimore, but again, not much chance he will still be available. And most would probably dispute my pick, since Marqise Lee of USC was still available; but like it says in the popular phone commercial, “It’s not complicated, bigger is better.”
In any event, the Ravens are going to get a good athlete for sure, and a player who will benefit the team immediately.