Baltimore Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome was interviewed by both Mike Duffy and Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com. They asked him if he had "fallen in love" with any one player in this week's NFL Draft and believe it or not, he said "yeah!" However, he also said he doubted that player will still be there when the team picks at #26. That must mean the player is most likely a top ten pick and will be long gone by the time the Ravens selection comes up and also way too costly for the team to trade up and get the guy.
With needs in a bunch of positions and most Mock Drafts having the Ravens taking anything from defensive end, cornerback, wide receiver and offensive lineman, it's difficult to predict what position the team will go for as there should be a bunch of solid prospects available later in the first round. Of course, trading down is always something that the team will look at, as well as the lesser probability of the team trading up.
However, if there is one player that could fall to the Ravens that they would be hard pressed to pass up, it would be cornerback Jimmy Smith.
While I am not a fan of using that first pick, whether we trade up, back or stay at #26, on a corner, Smith might be the best talent on the board if he is there when the Ravens turn comes up. He is rated as middle of the first round talent and his combination of size (6'1") and speed that should remind our fans of Chris McAlister, both on the field and, unfortunately, off the field as well.
Smith has a reputation of being a risky pick with those off the field issues, and many teams might pass on him rather than risking millions of dollars that he could get in further trouble. As Ravens fans, we seem to rise above that fear and somehow expect the veterans such as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata to keep the troubled youngsters in line and if the Ravens grab Jimmy Smith, there's no reason that he should be thought of as any different.
Having a bigger, physical cornerback in the AFC North will give the Ravens a pass defender against those wide receivers who are now showing up on every team with the size to out-jump and out-muscle the smaller cornerbacks with regularity. If the Ravens had a corner with Smith's size, he could play them man-to-man and now get pushed around like some of the Ravens defensive backs did last year (see Josh Wilson vs. Roddy White, etc.).
While I'd much prefer a solid pass rusher or even a top offensive tackle's name be called out when the Ravens make their first pick in the NFL Draft, if we hear Roger Goodell say, "...the Baltimore Ravens select Jimmy Smith, cornerback, University of Colorado," you just cannot be disappointed with the talent we would be getting.