The 2017 NFL draft is more than three hundred days away. A whole lot can change over the course of a season. That has not stopped many prognosticators from releasing mock drafts. Way-too-early predictions for the Ravens:
20. Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
The Ravens took two cornerbacks in the draft this year, but fourth-rounder Tavon Young is a nickel corner only and sixth-round pick Maurice Canady is, well, a sixth-rounder.
19. Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Our top-graded cornerback from 2015, Lewis was targeted often with little to show for it. Of his 90 targets, only 33 were completed (36.7 percent) and he tied for the national lead with 15 passes defensed to go with two interceptions. At a listed 5-foot-10, Lewis will battle the NFL’s preference for bigger cornerbacks, but another playmaking season like 2015 should put him right into the first-round mix.
18. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama
Williams was a dominant situational edge rusher for the Tide last season, racking up 10.5 sacks in limited time. He even flirted with the 2016 draft. Circle him as a player whose stock could skyrocket in the coming months.
20. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Instinctive and physical, Davis could be the perfect complement to 2014 first-round pick C.J. Mosley.
17. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
JJSS is a really exciting player after the catch.
15. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
The Ravens spent a fourth-round pick on Kenneth Dixon, but barring a great rookie campaign, I don't think he'd preclude the front office from spending its first-round selection on a mega talent like Dalvin Cook, who is a steal at No. 15.
19. Lewis Neal, DE/OLB LSU
The Ravens could use another young pass-rusher to pair with Kamalei Correa. Both Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil will have to be replaced.
The Tigers' defense didn't generate the headlines of the offense in 2015, but there was some good NFL talent on the LSU defense with Neal being the program's top edge rusher. He was a serious pass-rushing presence off the edge, recording eight sacks. He also had 48 tackles and six passes batted. Neal (6-2, 264) is dangerous edge rusher who looks like he has upside to develop.
19. Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
A need at cornerback pushes the Ravens toward considering Tabor here, but it helps that he is a six-foot guy on the outside who can play physically and also get his hands on the football. Tabor has a pretty high ceiling and if he builds on his 2015 season he might never get this deep into the draft, but the Ravens would be smart to scoop him up in this mock.
14. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan.
Lit up Michigan State (10-154, TD). In two career bowl games: 16 receptions, 359 yards, 4 TDs. As long as the 6-foot-3 Davis can run a sub 4.5 40, he’ll be in the 1st round mix.
20. Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri
The pipeline from Missouri to the NFL is strong on the offensive and defensive lines. Edge-rusher Charles Harris is next in a long line of talent going from Columbia to the NFL—and he has a chance to be the highest-drafted Tiger since Aldon Smith left campus.
Harris is an excellent speed rusher and has the overall tools that would have garnered a Round 1 grade had he entered the 2016 draft class. Given his size (6'3", 255 pounds), there is room for bulk and growth, but Harris was comparable to No. 9 overall pick Leonard Floyd in terms of potential. He also had better production on film. If healthy in 2017, Harris has a shot to be an early pick in the upcoming draft.
10. Jamal Adams, Safety, LSU
Baltimore really wants to be good at the safety position. Frequently, the franchise has invested draft picks to address the need, but it remains a position where internal development has floundered. Currently, the only reliable starter on the roster is free agent signee Eric Weddle, who will be 32 by the time the 2017 NFL Draft rolls around. Upgrading the defensive backfield will be the top priority over the course of next offseason, provided there is not a wildly-unexpected revelation this season. Jamal Adams is the kind of elite talent who could give the Ravens the dominant Safety they have wanted since the prime of Ed Reed. Given the exceptionally-high number of developmental prospects taken in the mid-rounds of the last two drafts, the performance of the Baltimore youngsters will play a dramatic role in the team's needs come draft time.
Next year's draft crop appears to be exceptionally deep and talented. At this point, approximately ten pass rushers and eight defensive backs are projected as first rounders. The myriad of pass defenders should enable the Ravens to continue upgrading their defensive personnel in the 2017 draft.