I already know what you all are saying if you’re reading this. “It is way too early to think about the 2016 draft. The Baltimore Ravens are only five games into the season.”
However, with a 1-4 record this season, the Ravens need to do some soul searching. They will still do some scouting during the season to break down tape. They need to find their potential picks for the 2016 draft. Here are some suggestions …
I have done some of my own research as well to figure out who they should draft. Reviewing their games, the Ravens have gotten beat on defense many times this season. One area of concern is their defensive backs group. They have constantly gotten torched this season. It also doesn’t help that they have had a few injuries in their secondary.
For this reason, I suggest that the Ravens take a look at cornerback, Jalen Ramsey (6’1, 202 lbs) from Florida State. He has amazing athleticism and can tackle well in open space. He has also been known to help out in rush defense and may have the ability to play free safety in the future. His instincts for the game of football are absolutely amazing and he would aid a defense that is in absolute need of a player who has great instincts in the secondary.
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports gave a scouting report of Ramsey; it is mainly positive:
"STRENGTHS: Ramsey has gliding athleticism with long strides and fluid change of direction skills, staying controlled in his pedal transition and collecting himself with ease in small spaces. He has above average anticipation, vision and instincts, seeing the field extremely well with uncanny awareness and timing to create turnovers and get his hands on the ball.He closes in a blink and wraps well as a willing run defender. He shows outstanding dip and bend as an edge blitzer, using his long arms to knock down passes and bat the ball when lined up near the line of scrimmage.WEAKNESSES: Ramsey lacks ideal muscle and functional strength to routinely finish off-balance tackles.IN OUR VIEW: Ramsey, who also plays a valuable role on special teams coverages, is a defensive savant with the framework that makes him a viable option at cornerback, safety or linebacker and if his 2015 tape matches or exceeds last year, he will be one of the top players drafted next spring.–Dane Brugler (8/7/15)"
Another pick at the cornerback position could be Vernon Hargreaves III (5’11, 199 lbs) from Florida. He has been nothing short of a savant in press coverage for the Gators this season, as well as being proficient playing in off coverage. He reads the quarterback’s eyes and makes plays on the ball. Hargreaves III has also been known to make plays in the run game and shows willingness to fight through the blocking of offensive lineman.
Sep 5, 2015; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (1) runs with the ball after an interception against the New Mexico State Aggies during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Rang of CBS Sports has provided a scouting report of Hargreaves and there is much to be excited about for Ravens fans who are calling for them to draft a hard-nosed defensive back:
"STRENGTHS: It is hard not to gush about Hargreaves as he combines quickness, balance and route-recognition to excel in coverage with rare physicality and open-field tackling ability to be just as effective in run support and when blitzing off the corner. He possesses good size for the position with a compact, athletic frame.When lining up in press man coverage, Hargreaves gets a stiff initial punch in on the receiver at the snap and shows good balance and light feet dropping into coverage, fluidly changing direction and the acceleration to remain in the hip pocket of receivers. He’s equally effective in off coverage, reading the quarterback’s eyes and breaking quickly downhill to disrupt passes. Hargreaves’ lack of height is mitigated by impressive body control, timing and competitiveness in jump-ball situations. He possesses excellent hand-eye coordination to slap the ball away as it arrives as well as good hands for the interception (six in two seasons).Scouts will also appreciate that unlike some of the other highly regarded defensive backs throughout the country, Hargreaves is far from just a cover corner. He’s very aggressive in run support, fighting his way through blocks and showing zero hesitation in taking on bigger ballcarriers. On most occasions, Hargreaves makes the effective stop, often significantly cutting short the yards gained in impressive fashion.WEAKNESSES: An inch or two shorter than scouts would prefer. Hargreaves can get himself in trouble by attacking ballcarriers too high, clawing at the football while ‘rassling opponents to the ground rather than wrapping up and driving them to the turf. He also takes such aggressive angles in pursuit that he can be forced to lunge at ballcarriers, occasionally missing as he swipes at their legs.IN OUR VIEW: With another strong season in 2015, Hargreaves will likely consider making the early leap to the NFL, where he could prove to be the highest drafted defensive back from Florida since the Cleveland Browns made Joe Haden the No. 7 overall pick in 2010.–Rob Rang (8/18/15)"
Sep 26, 2015; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears defensive end Shawn Oakman (2) during the game against the Rice Owls at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The Ravens should look into bolstering the play of their defensive line. The Ravens have been really good at drafting defensive lineman in the past couple of years with the additions of Carl Davis, Za’Darius Smith, Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan. However, they have had a few injuries this season and Chris Canty is almost at the end of the road in his career. They would like to re-stock their defensive line with top prospects.
One large individual that would add to the Ravens defensive line and overall intimidation factor would be defensive end Shawn Oakman (6’9, 275 lbs) from Baylor. You have probably seen memes and pictures of Oakman, showing his massive frame and Adonis-like physique but, he also a good football player too. He has all of the physical tools that one would look for in a pass-rusher. He tosses blockers all over the place on tape with his ridiculous strength.
Brugler has also gushed about Oakman’s athletic ability in his scouting report:
"STRENGTHS: With a physique that makes scouts gush, Oakman certainly passes the eyeball test with his tall, chiseled frame, branch-like length and body thickness to overwhelm blockers at the point of attack.Oakman is balanced and flexible for his body type, playing comfortable on his feet when asked to drop and cover flat responsibilities. He is heavy-handed with muscles on his muscles, using his long arms to jolt and drive blockers backwards.WEAKNESSES: Oakman has steadily progressed the last few seasons with added reps, but he isn’t yet the sum of his parts. His pad level will always be an issue due to his height and his pass rush arsenal is very rudimentary right now.Oakman tends to slow and be a nonfactor once his initial moves stall, struggling to shorten his path to the pocket. He doesn’t consistently generate power from his lower half or convert his quick first step to power.IN OUR VIEW: A freakish specimen on the hoof, Oakman physically has the look of a future high draft pick, but his development as a senior in 2015 will ultimately determine whether he’s a top pick or not.–Dane Brugler (5/18/15)"
Aug 28, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Boise State Broncos quarterback Grant Hedrick (9) throws a pass as Mississippi Rebels defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (5) pressures him in the first quarter of the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Another defensive lineman worth looking at is Robert Nkemdiche (6’4, 296 lbs) of Ole Miss. Nkemdiche has a lot of athleticism for a defensive tackle and is very good against the pass and run. He is an all-around good player, so much so that Brugler hasn’t found a weakness in Nkemdiche’s scouting report:
"A player who will likely receive comparisons to 2015 first round pick Leonard Williams, Nkemdiche has above average athleticism for his size, using movement skills and lower body fluidity to skirt blockers and easily change directions. He can push the pocket with power and offers the versatility to make an impact vs. the run and penetrate the pocket to make plays in the backfield.–Dane Brugler (4/23/15)"
While looking at these positions, the Baltimore Ravens can make four great, different picks if they place high enough in the draft. These players are at the top of many lists and the Ravens should give strong consideration to drafting any of these four players in the 2016 NFL Draft.
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