Well, this is it, the 2017 NFL draft is today! At long last, the Ravens will get a chance to make their real selections. But before they do so, I will make my final picks. For the tenth and final time in the 2017 draft cycle, I have completed a seven round Ravens mock draft. Per usual, I used Matt Miller’s board on the Fanspeak online draft simulator. Let’s get right into my last mock draft of the year, starting with a familiar face.
First Round: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
I’ve had Corey Davis as the Ravens first round pick in the majority of these seven round mocks, and that will go unchanged in the final edition. Throughout the whole draft cycle, Davis has been my favorite wide receiver in this year’s class (you can hear me rave about Davis on Purple Reign Show’s live first round mock draft).
What I have always loved about Davis is his route running. Having the ability to create separation with his route running is a skill that not many rookie wide receivers have. This ability should help Davis excel early in his career.
Secondly, Davis is excellent after the catch. He has shown good speed on tape to get downfield after hauling in a pass. There are countless plays one can look at where Davis is able to use his legs to turn a medium gain into a big gain, or even a touchdown. This play against Ohio immediately comes to mind (skip to 2:50 in the video).
One of the biggest knocks on Davis is that he doesn’t have any Combine stats due to his ankle injury. However, he recently posted a video on Twitter showing that he is able to run and put weight on his ankle which is very promising.
Davis has the potential to be a star in Baltimore, and would be a home run first round pick should the Ravens choose him.
Second Round: Jordan Willis, EDGE, Kansas State
To me, Jordan Willis screams Baltimore Ravens. This is a guy with elite college production, from a relatively small school, and no character issues. He is tough, physical and relentless. Does anything define the Ravens better?
In 2016, Willis was named a third team All-American after a season in which he had 52 tackles, and 17.5 of them were for loss. More impressively, Willis led the Big-12 in 2016 with 11.5 sacks. Not only did he have 11.5 sacks, but he did it in a conference with extremely high octane offenses which predicate the quarterback quickly getting rid of the ball.
On top of his production, Willis is an incredible athlete as shown by his Combine stats. Willis ran a 4.53 second 40 yard dash, a blistering time for the 6’4” 255 pound outside linebacker. Willis also had a 39.0 inch vertical leap. With his height and high vertical, Willis may swat down a lot of passes in his NFL career. Finally, Willis had 24 reps on the bench press.
Willis has speed, strength and length. If he can become a little more creative and less of a straight line rusher, the Kansas State product should be an excellent heir to Terrell Suggs.
Third Round: Cordea Tankersley, CB, Clemson
Tankersley saw a little bit of a slip in this simulation, as I see him as a second round prospect. The Clemson product had a high level of production against top tier competition, and showed up in the biggest games.
In his final season at Clemson, Tankersley emerged out from under the shadow of Mackenzie Alexander, and became one of the nation’s best shutdown corners in 2016. His production was excellent. Tankersley had four interceptions and 11 passes defended. His ball skills are superb and his stats prove it.
Tankersley also has good speed as shown in his 4.40 time in the 40 yard dash. Not only that, but he has good size, standing at 6’1” according to NFL.com.
As previously mentioned, Tankersley showed up in the big games throughout his career. This was especially so in 2016. Tankersley was a major reason in why Clemson was able to shut out the Ohio State Buckeyes, and he completely took Alabama’s Calvin Ridley out of the game in the National Championship.
His success against NFL caliber talent in college could smooth the transition for him into the NFL. Plus, due to the Ravens cornerback situation, Tankersley won’t have to be thrust into a starting role, another factor that should help his transition.
Third Round: Pat Elflein, C, Ohio State
Elflein is almost the polar opposite of Jeremy Zuttah. Elflein is great character guy who is very disciplined, but doesn’t have the best athleticism. However, after all of the penalties committed by Zuttah, I’m sure the Ravens would much rather get a guy who isn’t as athletic, but won’t cost them 10 yards on key downs. That player is Elflein.
However, despite not being the most athletically gifted, Elflein is excellent at controlling his body, he won’t get bowled over by a big nose tackle like Brandon Williams.
What is most important is Elflein’s reliable blocking that made him a star in the Big Ten. Above all, the Ravens want a player who can keep Joe Flacco upright, and Elflein will help in achieving that goal as he throughly protects the middle of the line.
Fourth Round: Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt
Holden is not the most athletic tackle on the market, although he did have a 111 inch broad jump at the Combine, but he is absolutely fundamentally sound. In fact, it almost seems like Elflein and Holden are the same players, just playing different positions on the line.
Like Elflein, Holden was a very reliable blocker for the Commodores, and he was versatile enough to play on both sides of the line. The Ravens will be asking Holden to play right tackle, thus picking a prospect like the Vanderbilt product who has experience there makes sense.
Not only was Holden a reliable blocker, but he did so in the SEC, a conference where he faces NFL caliber pass rushers on a weekly basis.
Holden is very strong, but not the quickest, which not only makes him a perfect fit for right tackle, but also for the Ravens. Holden actually reminds me of Ricky Wagner to a decent extent. He may not be the long term solution for the Ravens at right tackle, but Holden is definitely a player who could compete for the starting job at the position this season.
Fifth Round: Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
Wilson is a player I feel like I’ve selected in the fifth round every time I do one of these mocks. I’ve consistently wrote that Wilson has a lot of potential, but will need time to reach it. Here’s what I wrote about Wilson in the last edition of the seven round mock (of note when reading this quote, I selected Kevin King in the second round of that edition).
Wilson’s potential is through the ceiling (or it's the roof depending on who you ask), but he is far from being NFL ready. According to Zierlein, Wilson averaged one interception per every 15 targets. That is an incredible rate. His ball skills are excellent, but his technique needs work. With Kevin King already in the fold, then Ravens can afford to take Wilson in order to develop him. While risky, this pick could prove to be a massive steal for the Ravens if Wilson is able to refine his technique and build up more muscle.
Sixth Round: Hunter Dimick, EDGE Utah
Dimick is another player I’ve selected a bunch of times in these mocks. This is what I wrote about him in the last mock (of note when reading the quote, I selected Tim Williams from Alabama in the third round of that edition).
Dimick has really solid measurables, recording 38 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds, and a 4.70 time in the 40 yard dash. His production is there too. Dimick posted 14.5 sacks in 2016 to become the all-time career sacks leader a Utah. Frankly, I feel like Dimick should be getting much more attention, and I’m very happy to be getting him with this pick. If Williams doesn't work out, I think Dimick also has a chance to be an NFL starter.
This marks the end of not just this seven round mock draft, but this year’s series of mock drafts. I could not be more excited to see who the Ravens are going to pick tonight and throughout this weekend. Make sure to stay tuned to Baltimore Beatdown online and on Twitter for all of the latest draft news.