The days leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft are spent gathering as much information as possible. Coaches, scouts and executives knit pick every little detail about prospects from their game tapes, combine results and pro days. They use all this information to see how a player will perform on the field.
What cannot be judged on tape is a player’s demeanor. His intelligence. His reaction to coaching. That’s why the NFL allows teams to invite 30 prospects for a visit.
Teams get their best chance to get to know a prospect during private sessions. The team controls how the time spent is going to play out, rather than the scripted approach that is used at the combine and pro days. It’s more up close and personal than the interview process at the combine. Teams have the option to do on-field work, evaluate a player in the film room and learn the football IQ of potential draftees.
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The Baltimore Ravens have done their share of hosting players. They haven’t used all their potential visits yet, with two weeks still remaining before the start of the 2015 NFL Draft. What this list does is give us an insight on what positions the Ravens seem to be targeting most in the upcoming draft.
Three of the players listed above have almost no chance of playing for the Ravens. With the organization’s new position on not drafting players with off-the-field issues, Williams, Gregory and Green-Beckham will not be donning a Ravens uniform.
The wide receivers that have been brought in are intriguing because each player is 6-foot-2 or taller. The Ravens could be searching for a big-bodied receiver to compliment the smaller Steve Smith Sr. Each possess good speed, ranging from a 4.45 to 4.55 in the 40-yard dash, and the hands that make them effective red zone options as well.
Surprisingly, Walford is the lone tight end the Ravens have brought in for a visit, despite the glaring need at the position. Walford is projected to be the second tight end off the board, but isn’t much in terms of a receiver, which the Ravens would like to have from their tight end. There are several tight end options the Ravens could go with, but it’s doubtful Walford is the choice.
Shane Ray and Gregory are arguably the two best pass rushers in this draft, and Steve Bisciotti has openly expressed his desire for another in this draft. There is no chance the Ravens draft Gregory, and Ray should be gone somewhere between the fifth and tenth pick.
The five cornerbacks brought in makes you wonder the Ravens intentions with the No. 26 pick. Each of the players invited is a potential first round pick and it’s no surprise Ozzie Newsome wants to upgrade the secondary after last year’s disaster. A lot of analysts are projecting the Ravens to select a cornerback with their first-round pick, and with the amount of corners brought in, that’s a logical choice.
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Our staff has predicted who the Ravens will select at No. 26, and after reviewing this list, my opinion on where they go has changed. I originally projected that Jordan Phillips, a defensive tackle from Oklahoma, would be the Ravens top choice. Based on this list, that will change in my next mock.
While a lot of these interviews can be viewed as a smoke screen, we get a general sense of what positions the Ravens have shown the most interest. Will they select a cornerback or receiver with their top choice? Looking at their pre-draft visits, that’s a strong possibility. We just won’t know the answer until the first weekend of May.