Mar 25, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh speaks to reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens have a higher draft selection than in recent years, as well as a total of eight selections including four in the top 100. But guessing a NFL draft is not terribly dissimilar to selecting numbers for a power ball lottery … something I don’t do. But if I do well with this list, maybe I should reconsider and get some tickets.
In consideration of the needs to round out the Baltimore Ravens team, and in line with who might still be on the board at each selection, here are some guesses as to what the draft may look like for our local good guys …
Pick 17 – Calvin Pryor – As I wrote previously here in this article, Pryor is the #1 choice of draft prognosticators as going to the Ravens. There is quite a spread of predictions, but the Louisville safety is most common. This would be a great pick for Baltimore, and I will be hoping to see that it is their choice. This is the greatest need on the defense, and paired with Matt Elam, the Ravens can be set for several years in the deep backfield.
Pick 48 – Kelvin Benjamin – It might be a surprise to find that Benjamin is not gone by this second Ravens pick, but with so many good wide receivers in the draft and Benjamin not necessarily one of the very best, perhaps those teams most significantly needing receivers will have picked one first and then moved on to something else in round two. Kelvin Benjamin is a big guy who could fit really well in the new Gary Kubiak scheme. And besides, the first two picks could be Calvin and Kelvin – that sounds like something that could only be foreordained before the foundation of the world (Write a comment if you see what I did there!!)
Pick 79 – Weston Richburg – Many people list Richburg as one of the top two centers in the draft. But what about the Ravens picking up Jeremy Zuttah? And don’t they need a tackle much more? Here’s the story: Zuttah can play left guard with Kelichi Osemele moving to right tackle. So the line from left to right would be: Eugene Monroe, Jeremy Zuttah, Weston Richburg, Marshall Yanda, and Kelichi Osemele. That is a good upgrade over 2013.
Pick 99 – Terrance West – Some folks project West just a tad higher than 99, but in the end his Towson University small-school rap will drop him a bit more. The Baltimore Ravens will be able to pick up a quality back and create a ton of local good will by doing so.
Pick 134 – AJ McCarron – Here is a more recognizable name due to his college success at Alabama – yes, the well-travelled road between there and M&T Bank Stadium. McCarron drops this far because of concerns that his arm is not quite good enough for the NFL. But his skills will play well as a backup to Joe Flacco in Gary Kubiak’s schemes.
Pick 138 – Anthony Johnson – The Ravens would do well to pick up a defensive tackle, and if it is not done higher in the draft (and I don’t think it will be), then Johnson would be a good pick in round four. He is particularly quick at this position – both in moving through the line and also in pursuit.
Pick 175 – Ross Cockrell – The Ravens suffered a loss at cornerback in Corey Graham, and they are going to need to get some contenders in camp either through the draft or some other mechanism. This Duke product is smart and quick to the ball, along with size and the physicality necessary.
Pick 194 – Matt Patchen – This is a big guy, listed as 6-6 and 302 pounds. He has some great skills in movement, which will be necessary in the new system. A variety of health and off-field issues have prevented him from having a long and consistent career. He could therefore be a total bust, or he could be a talent with tons of head room. It is the sixth round, so take a chance.
Free Agents – The Ravens are going to be incredibly active in signing college free agents and looking for another Marlon Brown. I’ll predict that two or three of these selections make the team this year.