The 2018 NFL draft is finally drawing close.
At this point in the draft process, options for the Ravens in the first round have been discussed ad nauseam. Baltimore’s positional needs are well known, the wide receiver and offensive lineman crops have been thoroughly explored. Other positions, including defensive line, outside linebacker and cornerback, are unlikely to provide instant impact as rookies. Nonetheless, the team could benefit from adding specialized players at running back, tight end, inside linebacker and free safety.
Ten mid to late round draft prospects that could help the Ravens immediately:
- RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
Freeman is flying just under the radar in this deep tailback class. The well build, productive runner is the Ducks all-time leading rusher. Freeman’s pass catching ability would make him a steal if he lasts until the fourth round.
- RB Akrum Wadley, Iowa
A shifty runner with homerun speed. Wadley also possess returner ability and is one of the best receiving backs in the class. This situational prospect may be available in the middle of Day 3.
- TE Ian Thomas, Indiana
Thomas’ stock is rising as some analysts believe he is the fourth best tight end in the draft. Although a bit raw, he combines blocking strength with seam stretching athleticism. The local product would be a fine backup plan if the Ravens wait until the third round to address the position.
- TE Chris Herndon, Miami
Projected as a Day 3 prospect, Herndon will need development at the next level. Still, he is a willing blocker with excellent yards after the catch ability. Herndon could provide a big target from the slot as a rookie.
- LB Darius Leonard, S. Carolina St.
Leonard is an undersized run and hit ‘backer who has drawn comparisons to Telvin Smith. One of the best coverage linebackers in the class, he is expected to come off the board on Day 2. He could immediately push Patrick Onwuasor for a starting spot or find a role in the Ravens sub packages.
- LB Tegray Scales, Indiana
Another undersized inside linebacker, Scales has a natural feel for the position. Great in pass coverage, he secured eight interceptions for the Hoosiers. Scales could be a nice value pick on Day 3.
- LB Skai Moore, S. Carolina
Moore excels in zone coverage due to his plus instincts and quickness. A former first team All-SEC performer with 14 interceptions on his college resume. Skai is expected to be chosen in the final few rounds.
- S Tarvarius Moore, S. Mississippi
Combining excellent tape with elite athleticism, Moore is skyrocketing up draft boards. A true centerfielder with strong ball skills. The Ravens would likely have to spend a Day 2 pick to acquire this potential free safety of the future.
- S M.J. Stewart, N. Carolina
Stewart played cornerback for the Tar Heels, but would benefit from a move to safety. An intelligent defensive back and capable tackler with 41 pass breakups in college. He is expected to be selected in the third round.
- S Dominick Sanders, Georgia
A four year starter for the Bulldogs, Sanders will probably end up as a coveted undrafted free agent. What he lacks in speed he makes up for with anticipation and ballhawking ability. While unlikely to develop into a full-time starter, the Ravens could use his skills in obvious passing situations.