Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens Mock Draft Roundup

Shehan PeirisCorrespondent IIIApril 28, 2014

Baltimore Ravens Mock Draft Roundup

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    Rob Carr

    The draftniks around the Web may not know what the Baltimore Ravens are thinking, but they do know what the team needs and which prospects are a good value at pick No. 17. Consequently, it’s always a good exercise to look at whom general manager Ozzie Newsome is selecting in the massive number of mock drafts around the Web—and this roundup is here to help!

    I have taken the liberty of going through the most recent mock drafts of 21 respected experts and evaluators around the Interweb and consolidating their predictions for the Ravens.

    Starting with the most common picks and ending with my own mini big board, here is a rundown of the latest Baltimore draft news.

Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

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    Zack Martin has been a common hypothetical pick for the Ravens all offseason—and for good reason. Right tackle is a big need, and Martin can step in and be the reliable presence at the position that Michael Oher wasn’t last season.

    The reason Martin has been such a consistent presence in Baltimore mock drafts is because he provides a good blend of need, fit, talent and value. The need is obvious, since Ricky Wagner is unproven and would be the starting right tackle if the season started today.

    As for fit, he possesses the necessary foot speed, athleticism and intelligence to prosper in Gary Kubiak’s zone-blocking scheme.

    The talent is established, since he has been one of the best left tackles in the nation over the last two seasons, but his lack of ideal size has caused some to label him as a guard and pushed him down draft boards to the point that the middle of the first round is the appropriate draft slot for him.

    As McShay explains, “He lacks ideal length for the position, which is why some have projected him to be a guard, but I really like his effort, awareness, lateral quickness and mobility.”

    It’s not a sexy pick, but Martin will definitely be a contributor from Day 1 in Baltimore, and the Ravens could do a lot worse in the first round.

Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

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    Garry Jones

    Like Martin, Calvin Pryor has also been a regular in Baltimore mock drafts because he brings a similar combination of talent and need.

    Free safety is an even more glaring problem than right tackle, and Pryor has the athleticism to come in and be the playmaker Baltimore needs.

    There are some concerns, however, when it comes to his coverage abilities. Kiper expands in his mock draft:

    Pryor isnt quite the ace in coverage that [Ha Ha] Clinton-Dix is, and if Clinton-Dix is available at this slot he could become the pick, but Pryor is hardly a consolation prize given his range and playmaking abilities, something the Ravens’ defense needs.

    Personally, I feel that Pryor isn’t a good fit since he’s very similar to Matt Elam in terms of physicality and downhill playing style, but he definitely has the range and ball skills to become a difference-maker at the position eventually.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

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    Taylor Lewan looked like a lock to go off the board in the top 10 picks after the NFL Scouting Combine, but legal problems have reared their heads, and many draftniks project a draft-day slide in the cards for the Michigan product.

    He’s certainly a blue-chip tackle prospect, but the off-field concerns and the lack of experience at right tackle are concerning for the Ravens.

    Regardless, he has a mean streak in the run game and would most likely be able to adjust to playing on the right-hand side. Lewan has elite size, athleticism and technique, so he would definitely be a tremendous pick in the middle of Round 1.

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

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    Eric Ebron is one of the more polarizing prospects in the draft, but he definitely has the upside to be worth Baltimore’s first-round pick.

    Some analysts think he’s a top-10 talent as one of the best athletes we’ve seen at the position since Vernon Davis. Others feel that his drops and lack of blocking skills limit his ceiling, that he isn’t worth such a high pick and that he’s benefiting from a relatively unimpressive tight end class.

    Realistically, the answer is somewhere in the middle.

    He may develop into a capable blocker, but his role is always primarily going to be as a pass-catcher and field-stretcher. Given the lack of depth at the position (Owen Daniels is only on a one-year contract), it wouldn’t hurt to draft Ebron if he’s on the board, but there should be better wide receivers on the board to upgrade Joe Flacco’s targets for the future.

    Given Ebron’s lack of blocking skills, it would make more sense for the Ravens to add Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks or Marqise Lee with this pick as opposed to Ebron.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

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    Given the depth at the position, it may be hard for the Ravens to pass on addressing a bigger need in the first round, but they should also be able to add a legitimate difference-maker and potential “No. 1 receiver” at this point if they opt to go with a wideout.

    Odell Beckham Jr. falls into that category because of his versatility—as explained by Edholm:

    Beckham can play all three receiver spots and return punts and kickoffs, making him a valuable piece on a team that lacked receiving weapons last season. A package of Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones on the outside, Steve Smith and Beckham in the slot and Dennis Pitta would be an outstanding upgrade for Joe Flacco this season.

    The receiving corps is fairly solid as it is, but Steve Smith isn’t getting any younger, and Torrey Smith is a free agent after the season, so it may once again be a gigantic need next season. Beckham could easily be the best player available when Newsome is on the clock, and he would be an instant contributor.

Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Jimmie Ward is generally viewed as a second-round pick—mostly because of the level of competition he faced in the Mid-American Conference. When evaluating his traits and the tape, however, you see a player who is definitely a first-round talent, and that’s why Chris Burke and Josh Norris have Ward going to Baltimore.

    Part of the reason he’s such an alluring pick is because he would be a perfect complement to Matt Elam in the defensive backfield, as Burke points out:

    The Northern Illinois product may not have much of a shot to go any higher than this, but he’s hardly a mistake by Baltimore at 17. At just 5’11”, Ward would give the Ravens two safeties on the smaller side (Matt Elam is 5’11”). His rangy game also would pair perfectly with Elam, who would be freer to drop down into the box.

    Size is sometimes listed as a concern for Ward, but he’s the same height as Calvin Pryor—and he brings a much more complete coverage skill set to the table.

    Ward may be a slight reach at No. 17, but he’s a better safety prospect than Pryor for Baltimore.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

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    Dane Brugler is the only expert who predicts Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will land in Baltimore because he’s the only expert who has him on the board at No. 17. If he’s available when the Ravens are picking, it would be shocking to see Ozzie Newsome pass on him.

    He is clearly the most versatile safety in the class, and he’s also the best center fielder, which would make him an excellent fit alongside Matt Elam as the last line of the Ravens defense for years to come.

    With great range, tremendous instincts and solid size, Clinton-Dix would be a dream pick for Baltimore. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely he lasts past the cluster of safety-needy teams that pick ahead of the Ravens.

My Own Mini Big Board

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
    1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
    2. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
    3. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
    4. Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
    5. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

    These are the five players on my Ravens-specific big board of realistic draft-day targets. Clinton-Dix is the ideal pick for the reasons discussed previously, and he would give the Ravens a playmaking free safety who would be a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

    Next up is Taylor Lewan because the talent is overflowing. He shouldn’t have a problem shifting over to the right side, and his ability to play left tackle makes him a nice backup in the event of an injury to Eugene Monroe.

    Zack Martin follows close behind, but Lewan gets the edge because he should have no troubles adjusting to the physicality of the pro game.

    Ward is a controversial prospect to be rated so highly, but he does everything well and is excellent in deep coverage. He’s not as well-rounded as Clinton-Dix, but Ward would form a nice safety duo with Matt Elam.

    Lastly, Allen Robinson is one of the best receivers in the draft (in my eyes) because of his hands, size and speed. He impressed at his pro day, according to Jeff Reynolds of NFLDraftScout.com, showing the explosion and quickness to vault him into the first-round conversation.

    With his 6’2” frame, Robinson has the size to be a dominant NFL receiver, and that gives him the edge over smaller wideouts such as Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks.

     

    Shehan Peiris is B/R's Lead Featured Columnist covering the Baltimore Ravens and a co-host of Ravens Central Radio, a weekly podcast on the Pro Football Central radio network that focuses on all things Ravens-related. For the latest Ravens news, draft analysis and links to episodes of Ravens Central Radio, follow me on Twitter:

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