If nothing else, the Firing Of Cam (FOC) and the two game losing streak is creating a ton of uncertainty, and to me excitement, about the future of our beloved franchise. From my point of view the FOC has put the whole team on notice: coaches and players alike. If the team crashes and burns and either squeaks into the playoffs only to quickly lose or even misses the playoffs entirely then a large chuck of the team is vulnerable to being replaced, from Harbs to Alex Silvestro (he's on the practice squad). Of course if the FOC and the plugging in of Caldwell turns the ship around and we go deep into the playoffs again, even if we don;t make the Super Bowl, the question will be how to keep the team together given how tight we will be against next year's salary cap.
And tight against the cap we will be. Just like that team 4 hours drive away to the northwest, years of being successful combined with years of low first round draft choices makes us veteran heavy when it comes to salaries and leadership. Regardless of how we get through this year we are in a multi-year transition from the Ray-Ed teams of the last decade to....what? Part of the answer to that question wil come via veteran cuts and free agency signings while the rest will come via the draft. It's that aspect that I want to look at today.
A couple things to know before we delve into a few mock drafts. A case could be made that any postion could use a high draft pick directed at it this year-and you will see below that almost every position gets targeted by one mocker or another. To me the biggest positions of need are : ILB, DL, S, and OL, not in that or any particular order. I would go with best player available at those positions. Also no mock has us taking a QB in case you are wondering. None will unless we lose Flacco to free agency.
Most mocks are just one round but I think you will find enough of a variety of picks that you will get a sense of who might be available when we pick. I will also list the next 5 picks in the mocks just to get a sense of what that mocker is choosing from when making our pick.
Of course the mocks will get more accurate after the combine and all-star games and workouts but with the college season over now except for the bowls we have a good idea which players have blossomed and which have farted out. To the mocks!
Oops! For a guide to these mocks, check out their scores from last year at The Huddle Report. I am trying to pick mocks with a good track record.
1. CBS. Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have been around awhile and at this point they might be the closest to what the NFL scouts are seeing.
Rang: Pick #27 Ravens pick Tavon Austin WR. Next 5: Dion Jordan OLB, Barrett Jones G, CJ Moseley ILB/OLB, Sam Montgomery DE, and Terrance Williams WR
Brugler: Pick #27 Ravens pick Matt Elam SS. Next 5: Jonathon Cooper G, Tavon Austin WR, Tyler Eifert TE, Ezekiel Ansah DE, Kevin Minter ILB.
Analysis: Rang: wowsers! This guy clearly does not like the young WR's in our depth chart. I honestly can;t imagine us picking Austin with the talent that's left on the table with those next 5 picks. If ANY of Jordan, Moseley and Barrett are left when we pick I'll be jumping up and down on my couch. But back to the Austin pick: Rang does have a point that we do need to see if Caldwell plays our scrub WR's at all the last few weeks. Part of Cameron's many problems was overly relying on his starters. Let's see if Caldwell also agrees that the scrubs also suck. I think they actually don't and they just need better plays called for them.
Brugler: Elam. I think this will be too high for Elam. though I would be happy to pick him in round 2. Cooper and Ansah are probably the two here I'd choose from. You'll see Cooper picked a lot right after we pick in round 1.
2. Mocking the Draft- Matthew Fairburn: Ravens Pick #30: Tank Carradine DE/OLB. Next 2: DeAndre Hopkins WR, Ezekiel Ansah DE
Analysis: First I want to say that I like Dan Kadar's mocks on this site more than Fairburn's. But Kadar hasn't mocked in a good month-I'll get him next time. Fairburn's mock is kinda old too- Nov 21st and it shows since Carradine promptly tore his ACL right after this. No first round for you!. But notice Ansah lurking again. My advice is if you have time do some research on this kid. I think that by the draft he will be picked before the Ravens pick but otherwise there's a whole lot of potential there.
3. Ricky Dimon- Fantasy Football Toolbox: Ricky has a 2 round mock. Ravens pick #30- Alec Olgetree ILB Next 5: Tyler Eifert TE, Tavon Austin WR, Terrance Williams WR, Jackson Jeffcoat DE, DeAndre Hopkins WR.
Ravens pick #60: Shariff Floyd DT. Next 2 picks: Ezekiel Ansah (!) DE, Alex Hurst OT
Analysis: Hey I could sleep happily with these two guys picked in the first two rounds. Olgletree I am VERY high on. I think he could be our anchor at ILB for the next decade. Good run stopping skills. Good pass rush. Decent at coverage. And looking at the next five, all receivers. Definitely Ogletree. And Floyd, while not exciting to me, is a solid pick. That Ansah is lucking at 61 reminds me of the saying from our recently completed elections and the polls: if you see a poll which is way different than all the other polls then it is almost guaranteed wrong. The Gallup poll was wrong then and Ansah will go in round 1.
Analysis: The safety class is thought to be particularly deep this year. That said I am not convinced that there is much value in picking one of them in the 1st round-and you wil see below that both Jefferson and Elam are thought by other mockers as round 2 picks. Rounds 2-5 look great for the safeties. I can even imagine taking two safeties in the mid rounds like we did with TE's a couple years ago.That said I think (but don't take my word for it obviously lol) that Jefferson is more of a free safety than Vaccaro or even Elam are and we need a safety that can cover given that we have Pollard who can hammer. If not Jefferson then take the tackle, Fisher.
Round 2, pick #57: Datone Jones DE, Next 5L Da'Rick Rogers WR, Travis Frederick G/C, DJ Swearinger CB/S, Matt Elam S,
Analysis: Datone from UCLA could play 5 or 3 technique I think. Had a good year and is versatile. I'd take Elam over him though and maybe Swearinger or even Rogers too. (Don't know Frederick yet but he's a Wisconsin OL guy and they got a good rep.)
5. Steven Lourie-Football Fan Spot Ravens pick #26 Eric Fisher OT. Next 5: Sheldon Richardson DT, Eric Reid S, Alec Ogletree ILB, Jonathan Cooper OL, Jesse Williams DT
Analysis: Jesus Christ! The bottom of this guy's round 1 mock is loaded! 2nd mock here that has Fisher at or below the Revens pick. Many mocks have him going before us though. He's probably a RT kind of guy in case you are wondering. Good pick IMO. Richardson? He's gonna go higher but if he lasts then I'd take him or my man Ogletree. Really three quality choices here. 4 with Cooper. Williams right now is getting some backlash and most mocks would have him in round 1.
6. Walter Chirpinski, Walter Football-a 3 round mock. Ravens pick #27 CJ Mosley ILB. Next 5: Jonathan Cooper OL, Matt Elam S, Tavon Austin WR, Barrett Jones OL, Justin Hunter WR.
Analysis: SCORE! I'd be very happy if Mosley falls to us. The think that stands out with Mosley is that he can cover-and have you noticed any Ravens LB's in the middle of the field this year? No? Then your eyesight is good!
Round 2, pick #56- Da'Rick Rogers WR. Next 5: Eddie Lacy RB, Tony Jefferson S, Chase Thomas OLB, Margus Hunt DL, John Simon DE.
Analysis. meh. Would much prefer Jefferson here. Hell I would LOVE Thomas but he wil not last this long. But back to Jefferson: and in the last mock above, Elam: see how there's no consensus when the top safeties will go?
Round 3: pick #89 Tyrann Mathieu CB. Next 5: Akeem Spence DT, EJ manuel QB, Shawn Williams S, Monte Ball RB, Andre Ellington RB.
Analysis: We get the Honey Badger! At this point, and in looking at other mocks, round 3 is where people are initially pegging this guy-with the proviso that if he cleans himself up he would be a steal here. So, yeah, I'd take him here. With Webb making a career of torn ACLs, sure I'll take a flyer here, especially since I think we'll have another 3rd rounder as a compensatory pick.
Okay. I'm done for tonight. Obviously these mocks wil change all sorts of ways and some of the better mockers have yet to set their initial mock. I am also too cheap/smart to not pay for ESPN Insider so I won't be doing Kiper (who is quite good) and McShay. But I will revisit the mocks around the time of the college all-star games and the combine and before the real draft so see how things are developing. G'night all!