Baltimore Ravens' Initial 2014 Round-by-Round Draft Big Board
The Baltimore Ravens are busy with filling their coaching staff and preparing their free-agency plans, but the draft is creeping up, so the Ravens big board needs to be ready. Here's an early look at some players who are sure to catch Baltimore's eye.
This draft big board goes through every round and highlights some of the best-value picks at positions of need for the Ravens roster. There is sure to be a lot of movement up and down draft boards between now and draft night, but this is how the board stands right now.
Offensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end are the biggest needs, so those positions dominate the early rounds. After that, however, we get a glimpse into the less pressing needs where an upgrade would be beneficial nonetheless.
Peruse through the names of these future NFL players—some of them may be wearing purple and black next season.
1. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
Some scouts question his frame (6'4", 308 lbs) and whether he can play tackle in the NFL. If you watched him shut down every pass-rusher he faced while lined up at left tackle this season (including in the Senior Bowl), you won't be as concerned about his ability to play tackle.
He is incredibly smart, uses phenomenal technique and doesn't miss plays. That would be a refreshing change for the Baltimore offensive line. Martin is a safe pick: If he doesn't work out at tackle, he's a Pro Bowl guard. His spot on the Ravens big board depends on whether they think he's a tackle or not, but he's a first-round prospect.
2. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
There will be some debate as to the order of Marqise Lee and Mike Evans, but the Ravens will be getting an exciting young player with either pick. Lee is more well-rounded right now, with the electrifying speed to beat defenders deep, gain separation from defensive backs and make would-be tacklers miss in the open field.
3. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Size. That's what you notice with Mike Evans. He's 6'5" and 225 lbs. Whoa.
He will tower over NFL cornerbacks, and he has the hands, coordination and leaping ability to come down with every jump ball thrown his way. As a red-zone threat and contested-catch receiver, there's nobody better in this class.
There are, however, drawbacks. His route running is rudimentary, and he doesn't possess great quickness or footwork to separate from defensive backs. The upside is abundantly clear, but he may not put it all together.
4. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Taylor Lewan's draft stock is lower than it would have been last year, but he's still an elite tackle prospect. With tremendous size at 6'7" and 315 lbs, he is a people-mover and possesses the requisite mean streak to be a devastating run-blocker at the next level. He has the potential to be a left tackle from Day 1, but he would thrive as a right tackle opposite Eugene Monroe.
5. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Ravens aren't drafting Eric Ebron if they re-sign Dennis Pitta. But if he walks, Ebron might even be an upgrade. He's a terrific athlete with the speed and body control to dissect defenses up the seams and across the middle of the field. Built in the mold of Jimmy Graham, Ebron is the best tight end in the class.
6. Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
It would be risky to start two young safeties, but Hasean Clinton-Dix is better than a number of NFL free safeties. He's a tough hitter with excellent recognition skills and closing speed to cover a lot of ground on the back end.
7. Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Clinton-Dix is the best safety in the draft, but Calvin Pryor is hot on his tail and rising fast. He is an excellent cover safety with the ability to play deep-half coverage or as a single-high safety. The Louisville prospect is no longer one of the draft's best-kept secrets.
Sounds like the Calvin Pryor secret is out. 1st round stud #NFLDraft— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 15, 2014
1. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Allen Robinson may just be the second-best receiver prospect in the draft. He has nice size and is a brilliant route-runner with experience in head coach Bill O'Brien's pro-style offense. With great hands and a high football IQ, Robinson is an intriguing prospect if he falls to the middle of the second round.
2. Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee
The coaching staff will need to work on Antonio Richardson's technique and pad level, but he has the physical tools to be a dominant NFL tackle. With surprising athleticism and speed, he's already a powerful run-blocker who could anchor the right side of the offensive line.
3. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Jordan Matthews is related to Jerry Rice. That alone makes him worth a look, but Matthews has made a name for himself as the SEC's all-time leading receiver. With good speed, reliable hands and a solid frame, he could be a nice complementary receiver alongside Torrey Smith with the ability to work the intermediate routes.
4. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Morgan Moses is an intriguing tackle prospect. He was excellent while manning the blind side for the Cavaliers and has the footwork and quickness to be an NFL left tackle.
That will probably come down the road, however. He has a close relationship with Eugene Monroe, according to Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com, and what better place to ply his craft than with the man he calls his "big brother"?
5. Jimmie Ward, FS, Northern Illinois
Jimmie Ward wasn't initially considered one of the top safety prospects in this draft, but his standout play at the Senior Bowl confirmed that his skills will translate to the next level.
Big fan of Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. Lacks ideal size but he's very instinctive and he has the fluidity to cover the slot.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 21, 2014
His size isn't perfect, but he's an excellent cover man and can drop down to cornerback if necessary.
1. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
If Dennis Pitta is re-signed, C.J. Fiedorowicz would be a perfect match. The primary job of the No. 2 tight end is to block well, and the Iowa product is the best blocking tight end in the class.
In addition, he proved to be a much better receiver at the Senior Bowl than he showed at Iowa, where he wasn't used much as a pass-catcher.
2. Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Davante Adams will face questions about whether his production was due to his system or his natural abilities, but the Ravens should jump at the chance to grab him if he falls to the third round.
He's an established route-runner with an elite ability to high-point the ball and win jump balls. He may not be a No. 1 receiver right away, but he's great value in Round 3.
3. Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State
One thing the Ravens love in their offensive linemen is versatility, and Jack Mewhort has it in spades. He played all five positions at Ohio State and would be a nice rotational piece to improve an O-line that was horrendous in 2013.
4. Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
5. Terrence Brooks, FS, Florida State
1. Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
The comparison in the above video is perfect for Seantrel Henderson: Bryant McKinnie. That's both good and bad for Ravens fans.
With an enormous frame (6'8", 345 lbs), he's a devastating run-blocker, but his technique and focus waver. Proper coaching could make him an elite right tackle, but there is a fair amount of risk involved with selecting the former Hurricane.
2. Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
Arthur Lynch is a poor man's C.J. Fiedorowicz in this draft. He doesn't have as much upside and isn't a dominant blocker, but he's serviceable as an in-line blocker and as a red-zone target.
3. Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
4. Kenny Ladler, FS, Vanderbilt
5. Bryan Stork, C, Florida State
1. Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
If Jared Abbrederis falls down draft boards due to the lack of elite athletic measurables, the Ravens should snag him. He's a crafty route-runner with a high football IQ, and he's an underrated athlete. He doesn't have great long speed, but he's very quick and easily gains separation from cornerbacks.
2. James Hurst, OT, North Carolina
James Hurst may be best known for shutting down Jadeveon Clowney earlier this year, but he has some work to do before becoming a starting NFL tackle.
He has adequate speed to deal with the NFL's edge-rushers, but he needs to bulk up to gain the necessary strength to win at the point of attack.
3. Marqueston Huff, FS, Wyoming
4. Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State
5. James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State
1. Antone Exum, FS/CB, Virginia Tech
Antone Exum is best suited for free safety, but his experience at cornerback makes him an enticing late-round pick. With size that scouts will fawn over, he is a physical press corner, but his lack of excellent recovery speed makes him a liability to get burned when receivers beat him.
As such, he's better when playing the ball in front of him and would thrive at free safety.
2. Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest
Michael Campanaro is small, but he's shifty and projects to be a pesky slot receiver in the mold of Julian Edelman. He would add a different dimension to the Ravens offense and could turn into a valuable safety valve for Joe Flacco.
3. Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
4. Tre Boston, FS/CB, North Carolina
5. Taylor Hart, DE/OLB, Oregon
1. David Fluellen, RB, Toledo
The Ravens need depth at the running back position, which they need to address with situational running backs. David Fluellen is just that.
He lacks high-end speed and rarely breaks big runs, but he's a big, powerful back who is hard to bring down in short-yardage situations.
2. Steven Clark, P, Auburn
Before you laugh at the fact that he's a punter, remember that punters are people too. More importantly, punters are crucial members of winning football programs, and the Ravens may need to find a replacement for Sam Koch.
3. Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford
4. Matt Patchan, OT, Boston College