ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper held a conference call with reporters on Thursday and was asked about the Ravens' options with their first pick, which will either be at No. 16 or 17.
In Kiper's latest mock draft, he has the Ravens selecting North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. Kiper explained that Ebron would fill a position of need that could also upgrade this offense in a big way.
"I think in terms of tight end, if Eric Ebron from North Carolina is there, he's a heck of a pick," Kiper said. "They need a tight end desperately added to this team. Ed Dickson moves on. You've got [Dennis] Pitta, but Ebron, to me, is a guy to me who could really help Joe Flacco and be a viable pick at that point."
Kiper is high on Ebron to the point where he could see the UNC product being selected even earlier. SB Nation's Mocking the Draft believes Ebron could definitely be selected higher, having him going 12th overall to the New York Giants.
"[Ebron' could even go earlier," Kiper said. "And if he goes earlier, then maybe you look at Marqise Lee, a wide receiver from USC, or Mike Evans, a wide receiver from Texas A&M. So if Ebron's gone, you may look at Evans. So one of those two, Evans, the big receiver with the great ball skills out of Texas A&M, great hand-eye coordination."
Kiper appears to believe the Ravens should address the offensive side of the ball in the first two rounds. He said that if the Ravens go with a receiver in Round 1, they could still follow with a quality tight end in the second.
"If you look at tight ends second round, if you don't take one in the first, you could look at maybe Jace Amaro [if he] slid into the second — I don't think that would happen — from Texas Tech," he said. "Maybe Troy Niklas from Notre Dame. Maybe third round for Austin Seferian-Jenkins from Washington or C.J. Fiedorowicz from Iowa if you wanted to go that route. So I think the tight end Ebron or the wide receiver Evans would be nice picks for the Ravens at 16."