Quarterback Chad Kelly was the final selection of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos and became the new "Mr. Irrelevant". Which also brings an end to the craziness that was the 2017 NFL Draft. It was a rather memorable three days with a rowdy Philadelphia crowd that didn't disappoint.
With the draft over, every Baltimore Ravens pick will be praised, assessed, and questioned before the start of training camp. General manager Ozzie Newsome's picks in this draft have been under a different kind of microscope from the local media and the fans as the longtime leader of the Ravens player personnel made his decisions these last three days. Time will tell if his decisions were the right ones, but for now, many will debate which selections were right or wrong.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley decided to take a swing at who he thinks is the Ravens best and most riskiest picks of the draft. Hensley thinks that Houston outside linebacker Tyus Bowser was the teams best selection. Hensley states:
"Pass-rusher was the biggest need for the Ravens because Terrell Suggs turns 35 in October and Elvis Dumervil was cut. The Ravens were 1-7 when recording one or fewer sacks last season. That's why Baltimore was fortunate that an explosive edge rusher such as LB Tyus Bowser slipped into the second round. The former college basketball player totaled 16 sacks in his last 24 games and has tremendous upside."
While Hensley feels the teams second round pick was their best, it was their 16th overall selection that he felt was the most riskiest. Not for what Marlon Humphrey could do, but for what they passed up on. Something many have argued about ever since the pick was announced (or read on Twitter five minutes before it was announced). Hensley states:
"Taking the draft's second-best corner at No.16 overall isn't typically regarded as a gamble. The risk here is the prospects that Baltimore passed on for CB Marlon Humphrey. The Ravens had a choice of three Alabama players who were once regarded as top-10 talents--tight end O.J. Howard, defensive end Jonathan Allen, and inside linebacker Reuben Foster--and instead selected a corner for the first time since 2011."
Bowser is a good choice for being the best pick. His explosiveness and development into his full potential could work in the Ravens favor, and add on to the fact that Terrell Suggs will be there to mentor him. While Bowser possesses all the traits of a Ravens defensive player, the guy who could turn out to be the team’s best selection was a potential first round talent that fell right into Ozzie Newsome's lap with the 78th pick in the third round: Alabama's Tim Williams.
The Ravens wouldn't be confident in this pick unless they trusted Williams is past the character concerns that dropped him into the third round. Newsome is trusting him to be the pass-rushing machine he was at Alabama, and be a welcome addition to Bowser, Suggs, Za'Darius Smith, and Matt Judon to improve that part of the defense. While he might not be a starter this year, he could make good as a situational pass-rusher and continue his development into 2018. Former Ravens head coach Brian Billick thinks that Williams has "double-digit sack potential". Overall, both Bowser and Williams have extremely high potential, and are good building blocks for the Ravens defense this year and into the future, but Williams might have the most upside.
As far as Humphrey being the riskiest pick, the Ravens did indeed pass up on some quality talent for him. I thought they were going to pick Foster, but Humphrey is also a quality player and might be starting opposite of Jimmy Smith, whether it's this year or next. Of course, if Smith goes down with an injury, the Ravens have options with Humphrey and Brandon Carr. Something the team has struggled with for years due to Smith's unfortunate history.
By 2019 or 2020, we will know if the Ravens made the right choice taking Humphrey over the other three Alabama prospects. Maybe all four turn into really good players and help contribute to their teams greatly. After all, it's why all four were picked in the first round. When it comes to Ozzie Newsome's decision on his first draft pick of 2017, just like always, he will stick to his board.
Who do you think was the Ravens best and riskiest pick of the 2017 NFL Draft?