The Ravens are doing their due diligence before the draft by working out two of the most intriguing offensive prospects in the class. While many pundits and fans alike expect the Ravens to go for defense early in the draft, there's still a chance that Baltimore could opt to select an offensive weapon in the event of a trade down from their sixth pick, or even at the beginning of the second round.
Busy day for Ravens -- hosted Joey Bosa, Vernon Hargreaves and Myles Jack in Baltimore; worked out Braxton Miller and Mike Thomas in C'bus.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 7, 2016
Miller and Thomas, both wide receivers for the Ohio State Buckeyes, are each top prospects at receivers, but their collegiate careers couldn't have been anymore different.
Braxton Miller is certainly one of football's biggest enigmas. A quarterback by trade, Miller was one of college football's best and brightest gunslingers until he suffered a string of arm injuries. Widely considered to be a preseason Heisman front runner in his junior season, but sidelined with a torn labrum, Miller had no choice but to watch as his backups led Ohio State to a National Championship. A year after the injury, Miller said the effects of the injuries to his arm had taken a toll, and that he just couldn't be a quarterback anymore. Miller instead quietly converted to wide receiver for his senior season, where he showcased some insane athleticism and hands on his way to 341 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns, and 260 rushing yards. It's not the most impressive body of work ever, but its not the stats that have scouts and general managers excited about Miller, its his raw ability and athleticism. That athleticism is what put Miller in the top 3 of three events at the NFL Combine, and is causing many to say that Miller will be one of the first names called on Day 2 of the draft.
Miller is certainly a project, and his name will naturally be associated with former Ohio State player Terrelle Pryor, who also made the same transition as Miller, albeit under somewhat different circumstances. But still, you can't deny that Miller has heaps of potential.
Thomas on the other hand, is a more traditional case. Thomas was Ohio State's number one receiver last season, and if you asked some teams, they'd tell you that he is their number one receiver in the draft too. In an offense that leaned on the run and also dealt with quarterback struggles, Thomas still managed to corral 56 passes for 781 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as the Buckeyes' leading receiver. A successful Junior campaign indeed. Thomas projects to be a good "X" receiver in the next level, as he has the tangibles and size to do so. Scouts however are quick to note that there may be a significant learning curve, as the Buckeyes' offensive system is far from pro-style.
It's worth saying that the Bengals too were also looking at the Ohio duo. Cincinnati is especially rumored to have interest in Thomas with their first round pick. It's too hard to say if the Ravens covet either player in the same way, but chances are that Baltimore is likely merely exploring their options at this point.