I was invited to participate in Draft Season's All-Blogger mock draft this year. Draft Season has asked a representative from every 32 teams to pick as though they are the team they represent. Every person asked currently writes about the team they were to choose for, allowing Draft Season to create a really interesting experience that should actually mimic the real thing.
There were the expected selections as well as the few head scratching picks that we come to expect every year from the NFL. Then it became my turn...
Selection: Melvin Gordon RB, Wisconsin
The sad slide of Maxx Williams continues with every team in the AFC North passing on the top rated tight end prospect in the first round of this draft. The Ravens would certainly be interested in Williams in this spot as a possible replacement for Dennis Pitta if his injury proves to be the end of his career as many people feel it will. If reports come out before the draft that Pitta is done, Williams will be the go-to pick for the Ravens at this spot, but if there is a possibility that Pitta could come back and continue his career, the Ravens would likely feel confident in their ability to bring back Owen Daniels for another year and continue working on project tight end Crockett Gillmore while even mixing in a little bit of Kyle Juszczyk as a motion fullback/tight end in packages until Pitta is ready to see the field again.
Since the NFL has turned into a pass first league, running backs have become less of a priority for NFL offenses, which is why we don’t see the mad rush on them in the first round despite this being one of the more talented classes in the past few years. However, the Ravens are one of the few teams in the league that still aims to run the ball in order to grind teams down. In that case, Melvin Gordon becomes the easy pick here for the Ravens given the way this mock draft has shaken down. With the top 4 receivers and the top 3 corners off the board already, the Ravens would want to add an immediate impact player to the team. Journeyman Justin Forsett is no lock to return to the team, with his inconsistent overall career to think of and the little starting caliber depth at the position; the Ravens would be fools to not nab the best pure rusher in this draft. With the right mix of speed, instincts, vision and massive frame, Gordon could truly be a game changing type of player behind the Ravens offensive line with Joe Flacco forcing defenses to stay honest.
As you can see, the mock draft lead me towards selecting a rusher in the first round. With the more important positions (CB and WR) already down to the second round level talent, I didn't feel comfortable grabbing a player just due to need. It isn't how the Ravens draft and Melvin Gordon truly is a top 20 talent if it weren't for the NFL's desire to throw on every down.
Realistically, I would have wanted to trade down. Either in the last few picks of the first round or early into the second round. I could have probably still gotten Gordon in the early second round and if not, I could have still grabbed one of the top three rushers in the draft. However, we weren't able to trade for good reason. If we were, the 26th overall pick is worth roughly 700 points on the draft value cheat sheet. That would have allowed me to nab an early second round pick, a fourth rounder, and a 7th rounder fairly easily.
What do you think of the selection and the reasoning? What about the other picks in this mock draft?