Baltimore Ravens 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
Baltimore Ravens 7-Round Mock Draft: Post Combine Edition
After winning the Super Bowl in 2013, the Baltimore Ravens experienced what most Super Bowl losing teams experience, and that is the Super Bowl hangover. With free agency gutting most of the defense and the offense unable to produce, the Ravens fell back into the middle of the pack. While being the hunters in 2012, the team could not cope with being the hunted in 2013. That being said, for the Ravens to get back to postseason success in 2014, here's how they need to approach the 2014 Draft.
Defensively, the Ravens had very few starters remaining from their Super Bowl win. Gone were the likes of Cary Williams, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe to free agency along with Ray Lewis to retirement to name a few. Offensively, the Ravens were hurt by the trade of Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers, as well as injuries to Dennis Pitta, Ray Rice and Jacoby Jones.
This year, the Ravens will go into the draft with only four of their team picks as well as an undetermined amount of compensatory picks. Surely, given the history of Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens' brass, they will most likely trade down in the draft to get some more picks. But given their current draft situation, I will attempt to put together a mock draft for the Baltimore Ravens as if the draft were today.
The NFL Draft for the Ravens essentially started at the trade deadline when the Ravens traded their fourth and fifth-round picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars for tackle Eugene Monroe. While Monroe did an OK job as a mid-season replacement for Bryant McKinnie last year, Monroe is a free agent after the offseason and the Ravens would have to think long and hard about retaining the former first-round tackle.
Rather than trying to predict which prospects the Ravens should take with their compensatory picks and not knowing which rounds they will be in, instead, I will list some needs that the Ravens didn't address in this fictitious draft.
4. Sixth Round: Max Bullough, Linebacker, Michigan State
Linebacker Max Bullough from Michigan State could not ask for a better situation here should this happen to him. The highly-publicized linebacker was suspended prior to the Spartans' Rose Bowl victory over Stanford. Since then, Bullough has taken a major step back on draft boards with character concerns scaring most teams away.
The Ravens would be one of the few teams who can turn Bullough around. With a great team culture and history of winning, the Ravens will not cut the linebacker any slack, and since this is a late pick, the team would lose nothing if the linebacker played his way off the team.
3. Third Round: Terrance West, Running Back, Towson
The situation in Baltimore's backfield looks to be in even more trouble after Rice's recent episode with the law. After the star running back had a bad season while fighting numerous injuries, his chances of remaining with the team look to be in serious jeopardy pending an investigation.
Here, the Ravens will be proactive in finding a replacement should Rice get some severe punishment by the Ravens, the NFL, or both. In Towson running back Terrance West, the Ravens get a runner who has a similar stature to Rice. West would not have to start right away as the Ravens already have a solid backup running back in Bernard Pierce.
2. Second Round: Jimmie Ward, Safety, Northern Illinois
Last year, the Ravens found their replacement for Ed Reed in Matt Elam. This year, they get their replacement for Bernard Pollard in Jimmie Ward. The former Northern Illinois safety is a hitting machine who can put a wallop on opposing receivers.
Ward's skill set is just that of a head-hunter as he also has some playmaking ability as well, collecting 11 interceptions during his career. The Ravens will get their secondary of the future while ridding themselves of the James Ihedigbo experiment that failed last year.
1. First Round: Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens
For the Ravens, there are plenty of intriguing receivers on this roster, including Marlon Brown and Tandon Doss, but none of these players are impact guys who can affect the outcomes of games or scare opposing defenses.
Quarterback Joe Flacco needs to validate his $100 million contract he signed last year, and the easiest way to do this is to give the quarterback some more offensive weapons. In Texas A&M's Mike Evans, the Ravens and Flacco get a big possession receiver who has shown breakaway speed and the ability to make tough catches that will keep the chains moving.
The Ravens are guaranteed to have no more than four compensatory picks in this year's draft that cannot be traded. Here are some positions of need that the Ravens can address with these picks.
While Monroe is a free agent, starting right tackle Michael Oher is also a free agent, giving the Ravens the option of trying to retain both, or keep one instead of the other. Finding another lineman for Flacco will also help the running game get going, and helping to protect Flacco is always a good thing to look for.
The Ravens currently have zero tight ends on the roster. From Dennis Pitta to Ed Dickson to Dallas Clark, all three of these tight ends are free on the open market. The Ravens would be smart in at least keeping one of these three players, and with one of their compensatory picks, finding a late-round tight end that could give the Ravens two solid options at the position.