Nov 1, 2014; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Shane Ray (56) watches play on the sidelines during the first half against the Kentucky Wildcats at Faurot Field. Missouri won 20-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
It is easy during this time of year to listen too closely to NFL draft news. You hear things how players such as Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are going to certain teams. Or that an insider says Vic Beasley will go to the Redskins. Maybe even that Shane Ray will fall to the Cleveland Browns.
You may also tend to spend way too much time Googling “NFL mock draft” so that you can somehow piece together all the likely scenarios in your head. It even gets to the point that you make an Excel spreadsheet trying to make the numbers piece together in some kind of pattern that no one else will have. And then next year you are on ESPN explaining how you know everything about the draft and need your own midday show on the network.
But what you need to do is STOP. You are a Baltimore Ravens fan and the rest of the league doesn’t matter. Even if the Steelers find the best defensive backs in the draft to somehow plug in place of Troy and Ike, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter if the Browns suddenly slide into take Mariota and/or Winston. And it doesn’t even matter if the Bengals get offensive line support that makes their redheaded quarterback look like, well…..Joe Flacco.
Why does it not matter? Because the Ravens master the draft because they don’t panic like we fans do. Every single pick in every year cannot be a winner; look at Sergio Kindle. But the Ravens more than any other team hit it out of the proverbial ballpark.
Every year we hear fans say that the Ravens do best by drafting the best player available, but this year the need for position X, Y or Z trumps that technique. And each year the wise Ravens stick to what they do best and draft the best players.
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Do the Ravens need defensive backs? Of course. But do not be surprised if the team starts with the defensive line.
Do the Ravens need wide receivers? Once again, of course. But do not be surprised if the Ravens get more defensive line help.
Do the Ravens need tight ends? DUH. But do not be surprised if the Ravens get even more defensive line help.
Sense a theme there? In my mock draft pick here on the site I said the Ravens would take Shane Ray. I have no idea how the team would end up with a player that many slot into the top 10. It is my job as a pundit to say what I think will happen and not explain how it happened. That is just not my job.
I might even be wrong. In fact, likely I will be wrong. But if at the time of the Ravens’ draft pick a defensive player such as a lineman is the best pick available, guess what? That player will be the next Baltimore Raven.
I will leave you with this question, what if a great QB such as Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston was available in that slot? Does the team take the best player? Just watch the masters at work………………….