During his pro day, University of Washington cornerback Sidney Jones suffered what was reported to be a severe leg injury. Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports later reported that the injury is believed to be an Achilles tear. Jones has not undergone an MRI yet, but if the early diagnosis proves to be correct, Jones’ Draft stock is about to sink, and fast. With Jones almost assuredly out of the first round equation, where do the Ravens turn with its first round pick?
With Jones slipping to a day two, or even day three pick, every projected first round corner will slide up a rung. Jones was viewed by many as the number two corner in this year’s class to Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore. With Jones’ injury, Quincy Wilson likely hops up to the number two spot. After his impressive combine, Marlon Humphrey will be my third ranked corner, followed by Tre’Davious White and Gareon Conley respectively. Teez Tabor had slid out of the first round for me after his Combine, but he now may be able to squeak back in.
It’s almost guaranteed that Lattimore will land in the top five, and Wilson may move up into the top 10 as a result of Jones going down. If Marlon Humphrey is the best corner on the board upon the Ravens selection, I have to assume the Ravens will look elsewhere.
It’s also fair to question if other teams will do the same. This year’s cornerback class is deep, but I frankly don’t view any of the corners not named Lattimore or Jones as top 15 picks. Will teams in front of the Ravens be willing to reach on Wilson, who is somewhat of a project? The same applies to Humphrey.
Mock drafts across the NFL landscape will have to be adjusted accordingly, as Jones to Baltimore was one of the most common predicted selections. Now, Derek Barnett and Corey Davis will become the top two realistic targets for the Ravens. I have consistently had Davis coming to Baltimore in my mock drafts, and that will remain unchanged with the injury. However, it is slightly less likely that Davis will be available. Here is my updated mock draft (first 16 picks) following the injury:
1) Cleveland Browns: Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
2) San Francisco 49ers: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
3) Chicago Bears: Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
5) Tennessee Titans: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
6) New York Jets: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
7) Los Angeles Chargers: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
8) Carolina Panthers: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
I previously had Jones going to the Panthers to address their poor secondary. However, I don’t see them reaching on Wilson with the eighth pick. Instead, Carolina addresses its running back need with Dalvin Cook.
9) Cincinnati Bengals: Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama
10) Buffalo Bills: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Bills need a corner following the loss of Stephon Gilmore, but they also are unwilling to select Wilson, and take Williams instead. Williams will be a strong running mate alongside Sammy Watkins, and will help the Bills attempt to keep pace with the Patriots offense who recently acquired Brandin Cooks.
11) New Orleans Saints: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
12) Cleveland Browns: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
13) TRADE: Arizona Cardinals to Tennessee Titans: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Tennessee has a wealth of draft picks to trade since trading down from the first pick last season. The Titans know that Arizona, as well as other teams, will be in the market for a wide receiver before they come on the clock with the 18th pick. Therefore, they move up to get their star wideout after missing on Alshon Jeffery. The Titans are very close to being big time contenders, thus making this trade logical. The Cardinals move back to the 18th pick and select: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB, Michigan to fill the void at safety left by Tony Jefferson’s departure.
14) Philadelphia Eagles: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
With the signing of Jeffery and Torrey Smith the Eagles are win now mode. They missed out on A.J. Bouye, and are still looking for a corner. The Eagles take Wilson, knowing that he is somewhat of a project, but are willing to overlook it for his high ceiling. Wilson has great ball skills and decent speed (4.54 40 yard dash) that will be crucial against the high flying NFC East offenses.
15) Indianapolis Colts: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
16) Baltimore Ravens: Derek Barnett, DE/OLB, Tennessee
Easy selection for the Ravens. With no great fit at wide receiver or corner on the board, the Ravens elect for the best player, which is Barnett. The Ravens desperately need a young pass rusher, especially with the departure of Elvis Dumervil. Barnett reminds me very much of Terrell Suggs as a college player with high production, who could slip due to athletic concerns. Barnett posted a slightly better 40 time than Suggs, and showed impressive agility. The Combine didn’t erase all concerns, but the Ravens are not complaining here at all.
The rest of the first round mock draft will come later in the weekend, be on the lookout for it upon its release.