The Baltimore Ravens will be picking in the 26th slot in round one of the 2009 NFL Draft, to be held on April 25-26, 2009 in NYC. The Ravens get the 26th pick based on their regular season record, which determines the first 30 slots, with the final two determined by the outcome of the Super Bowl between the Steelers and Cardinals. So with the 26th pick on the 2009 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select....whom?
It all depends on where we go and how we decide to determine what to do with that pick. All Mock Drafts pretty much make their predictions based on everybody selecting in their slot, with no trades and pretty much based on team need. The Ravens successful mantra has usually been to take the best player on the board, not the most dire need. However, I'm not convinced that they will hold true to this philosophy this time, as their needs are very specific and their depth at other positions is pretty good. Therefore, in my humble opinion, they need the seriously consider using that first round (and probably the first two round) pick on either a wide receiver or cornerback. The cornerback position is a more dire need than the wide receiver, but it will depend on the quality of the player available to determine whether or not they are first round material when our turn comes up.
I've looked at a bunch of Mock Drafts on the internet (just google "2009 NFL Mock Draft) and they all have different opinions on the direction that the Ravens will go in with their first pick. Here are the list of names, schools and positions that the Ravens have been predicted to select:
Jeremy Macklin, WR (Missouri)
Percy Harvin, WR (Florida)
Vontae Davis, CB (Illinois)
Coye Francies, CB (San Jose State)
Aaron Maybin, LB (Penn State)
Clint Sintim, LB (Virginia)
Duke Robinson, G (Oklahoma)
Darius Heyward-Bey, WR (Maryland)
Hakeem Nicks, WR (North Carolina)
Shawn Smith, CB (Utah)
Tyson Jackson, DE (LSU)
The top three (Macklin, Harvin, Davis) show up more than any other player listed here. There are so many more Mock Drafts, some actually going all the way through Round 5, but that just becomes a best guess or speculation compared to the first round or even two rounds at most. Many of the other Mock Drafts show Macklin going in the top ten or 15, and I don't believe he will still be on the board at 26. I'd love to have Florida's Percy Harvin, as he can not only stretch the field as a receiver, but add the ability as a dangerous punt and kickoff returner to his duties as well. However, as a pure receiver, I'd take the Terps' Heyward-Bey, who has pretty good hands to go along with his blazing speed.
At cornerback, the name that pops up is Illinois' Vontae Davis, who is widely looked at as the second best CB in the draft, behind top ten pick, Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State). Davis is also projected in most Mock Drafts to be long gone by the time our pick comes around. If either Macklin or Davis is there, we would probably grab them, as they fill our biggest needs and would arguably be the best left on the board at that time. I'd like to see the Ravens go CB, WR in the first two rounds and then fill out the depth of the roster with the rest of their picks. I would even consider trading later picks in this year's draft to move up in the first two rounds as needed if these players are still there as their pick gets closer. I'm not a fan of trading future year picks as they always seem to come back to haunt us, as next year's needs may be totally different than this year.
So, search the 'net yourselves and take a look at what others think our Ravens are going to do with that 26th pick in April, and tell me what you'd like to see us do if you were in the Ravens War Room with Ozzie and company.