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Will the Ravens draft style pivot in 2018?

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NFL: International Series-Baltimore Ravens Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the last five years, the Ravens have selected only one skills position player in the first round, wide receiver Breshad Perriman in 2015. Is this the draft the Ravens deviate from the norm and select another skills position player?

In fairness, UCF’s Perriman has been a giant flop, first spending his entire rookie season on injured reserve. In three season he has just 43 career receptions, three career touchdowns and 576 receiving yards. Pick 146 in the 2015 draft, Stefon Diggs, has 200 career receptions, 15 touchdowns in his three seasons and 2,472 receiving yards.

Regardless of recent draft misses, the need at the receiver position is glaring. In 2017, Baltimore ranked 29th in receiving yards. The rival Pittsburgh Steelers ranked fourth. With Joe Flacco turning 33 last month, the aging and often ailing quarterback is in dire need of offensive reinforcements.

While defense has always been the identity and cornerstone of the franchise, the offense’s inability to stay on the field and pick up first downs throughout the season contributed to defensive fatigue in late game situations.

Several analysts project the Ravens to select Alabama product Calvin Ridley with the 16th overall pick. With Ozzie Newsome entering the last year in his role as GM, will he stick to his bread and butter and bring in an offensive tackle or bolster the defense? Or perhaps he will be more comfortable selecting a receiver from his alma mater, as he did with Mosley in 2014 and Humphrey in last year’s draft. Ravens fans will have to wait and speculate until April 26th.