2010 FC NFL Mock Draft: At No. 25, the Baltimore Ravens Select...March 19, 2010
With the blockbuster acquisition of former Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin, coupled with the arrival of oft-maligned Donte Stallworth, the inconsistent Ravens passing game should find itself in much better shape in 2010.
The backfield is already one of the league's best. Against New England in last year's playoffs, Ray Rice proved that he is in the same class as Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew, often considered the NFL's most versatile back.
While the offense continues to get younger and more explosive, the record-setting defense is beginning to show signs of wear. Future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed has been contemplating retirement all offseason. The face of the organization, Ray Lewis, is entering his 15th season, and while he's been able stave off the dreaded mid-30's decline so far, with each passing game, the end draws closer.
As hard as it to accept for Ravens fans, it may be time to overhaul the Ravens defense. With a defensive line anchored by Haloti Ngata, who is just entering his prime, it would seem that linebacking corps and secondary are the two biggest areas of need heading into the draft.
In a perfect world, Texas' Earl Thomas would still be on the board. A versatile player who can play multiple positions in the secondary, Thomas would be an ideal player to spend a year or two learning under Reed (if he comes back), while offering immediate help as a nickel corner and special teams player.
Unfortunately, the Giants scooped up Thomas at pick 15 .
A linebacker that has flown under the radar, but is a solid prospect, is Mississippi State's Jamar Chaney. A nicely sized (6'1", 242 lbs) and extremely athletic (4.51 40-yard dash at the Combine, fastest of any LB who ran) player, Chaney could blossom into a star under the tutelage of Ray-Ray. However, with a few durability issues (missed all of the 2008 season), Chaney should be available for the Ravens to grab in the second round.
So, with the Baltimore Ravens' first pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select: Taylor Mays!
A freakish size/speed combination gives Mays one of the highest ceilings of any player in the draft. While his stock has dropped significantly in the last nine months, Mays is worth a shot at 25. With a year or two of guidance from two of the game's most well-respected men, in Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, Mays could harness his immense talent and become an uber-productive NFL player, carrying on the lineage of Baltimore Ravens' defenses.