On what makes this draft different: “This is going to be the most talked-about draft in history. And not just because quarterbacks could go one through four, or four of the top five picks. But this will be an incredible extravaganza. For years to come, people will compare every draft to Dallas. The saying, Everything’s bigger in Texas, will definitely apply. We’ll have sections all over the stadium for all 32 teams, and it’ll be like a competition between all the teams and their fans...”
Quality of the draft: “This is a draft where 13 to 17 guys I could point to and say for sure, This guy’s a first-round pick. After that, there’s a lot of starting-type players who could go anywhere. Let me put it to you this way: My guy who I have 21st overall on my list could go 64th. The guy I rank 47th could go 19th...”
Brandt’s analysis of this draft class, with 13 to 17 players in the first tier and nearly 50 tier two prospects, supports the view that the Ravens should attempt to trade down and accumulate additional picks considering their draft slot and positional needs.
SLEEPER ADDITION: John Brown, wide receiver.
Joe Flacco is 33 and just put up one of the worst seasons of his career, averaging a putrid 5.7 yards per attempt. While fellow Ravens signee Michael Crabtree has a more established track record than Brown (and will earn a bigger paycheck, per Over the Cap), Brown has the potential to really reinvigorate this passing attack. In 2015, Brown put up 1,003 yards on 65 catches. Last month, Matt Harmon pointed to Next Gen Stats that show Brown has demonstrated the ability to separate from defenders on all routes, indicating that he can be more than just a vertical weapon. Of course, that’s provided he stays healthy, which has been a major issue for him since that 2015 season.
Baltimore Ravens: In addition to Crabtree and Brown, the return of guard Marshal Yanda -- who missed most of 2017 with an ankle injury -- and the continued emergence of running back Alex Collins should help Flacco and the offense get back on track. This team would not seem to be in especially dire straits, having just barely missed the playoffs behind a defense that ranked sixth in points allowed and 12th overall -- even the offense managed to rank ninth in points scored. Still, in his last draft as general manager, Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome will have one more chance to hand Flacco and coach John Harbaugh some pieces to push Baltimore back to the postseason. Charley Casserly has the Ravens taking Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 16 in his latest mock draft, while Charles Davis has them drafting Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley.
‘Smokey’ Brown was identified as the sleeper addition of the division. His proven ability to separate will be appreciated after the departure of veteran playmaker Mike Wallace.
2018 NFL Draft: Browns take Sam Darnold at No. 1, Josh Allen to Jets and other predictions - Jason La Canfora
Mason Rudolph is going in the top half of the first round
Some teams are divided on just how well this kid projects to the NFL, but there are enough teams that like him enough that I see him being the fifth QB off the board … And far sooner than some would have projected. I continue to hear the Ravens – deep into this QB market with them able to untangle themselves from Joe Flacco’s contract after 2018 – are high on Rudolph and I’m guessing he doesn’t get by them with that pick. The question becomes has Arizona (pick 15, for now) or someone else already selected him? Personally, I’m more of a Lamar Jackson guy, but I’m becoming convinced that Rudolph beats him off the board. I’ve been maintaining for quite some time that six passers will go in the first 30 picks, and I continue to expect that to be the case.
Are the Ravens using La Canfora to spread misinformation or are they truly interested in Rudolph? We shall find out on April 26th.
RONNIE STANLEY HAS HIGH PRAISE FOR FORMER TEAMMATE AND TOP TACKLE PROSPECT MIKE MCGLINCHEY - Garrett Downing
If the Ravens end up taking McGlinchey with the No. 16 overall pick, Stanley is one person who would be fired up about the addition.
“I’d be super excited,” Stanley said. “Mike is a great player. He’s a great kid. Super upbeat.”
Stanley and McGlinchey spent three years together at Notre Dame. McGlinchey arrived in 2013 when Stanley was the starting right tackle, and he essentially followed in Stanley’s footsteps.
“He definitely made me better as a player,” Stanley said. “Even though he was younger than me, he was still out there giving it his all, and it just made me want to do that even more. I just gave that extra effort because that’s the way he was. He’s a high-effort guy and he’s always going to give 100 percent.”