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Ravens News 4/25: JuJu instead of Humphrey, coverage linebackers/safeties and more

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

2017 NFL Draft do-over: Deshaun Watson goes No. 1 to Browns - Adam Rank

16. Baltimore JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

The Ravens have seemingly never hit on a receiver in the draft. The Steelers seem to never miss.

Actual pick: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama.

In this do-over, Marlon Humphrey would be selected 24th by the Raiders. It is still premature to consider JuJu the better option after one season, there is no guarantee he would have produced the same rookie impact in the Ravens offense. Furthermore, it is difficult to argue against selecting a player with Pro Bowl potential at a premium position.

Mike Mayock’s 2018 NFL Draft prospect-team connections - Chase Goodbread

Baltimore Ravens

If the Ravens take a wide receiver in the first round, Maryland’s D.J. Moore would offer them more versatility than Alabama’s Calvin Ridley because of his potential playing not only in the slot but as a return specialist, as well. Mayock sees the Ravens’ pick at No. 16 as being a bit high for either, however.

The recent acquisition of slot receiver Willie Snead may have changed the equation a bit. If the choice comes down to Moore or Ridley, the Ravens would now be best served by picking their top ranked receiver, regardless of immediate fit.

Ranking the LB prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft - Sam Monson

5. SKAI MOORE, SOUTH CAROLINA

Moore has a lot of negatives working against him, but his play has been excellent in the SEC, which is no small order. His PFF coverage grade of 88.7 was one of the highest in the nation in 2017, one spot above Georgia’s Smith, and his instincts are clearly excellent. He will need to convince NFL teams that he can still produce with a step up in competition given he is both undersized and potentially less athletic than they would like.

8. JEROME BAKER, OHIO STATE

Baker has the athletic profile of a first-round pick at linebacker, but his best season came in 2016. His 2017 season was solid, but a significant drop from the overall PFF grade of 87.7 that he managed the year before. He can move well in coverage and mirror receivers in man coverage, but he surrendered three touchdowns in each of his past two seasons and has just two picks and two pass breakups over that same span, so he needs to improve his ability to challenge at the catch point.

22. TEGRAY SCALES, INDIANA

Another player coming off a down year, Scales was outstanding in 2016, and could go higher if teams are convinced they can get that player instead of the 2017 version. Allowed just one touchdown in each of the past two seasons in coverage.

Ranking the Safety prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft - Steve Palazzolo

3. TARVARIUS MOORE, SOUTHERN MISS

Moore brings some versatility to the table, as he flies to the ball on underneath routes and he has the movement skills to hang with receivers when matched up 1-on-1. His eight pass breakups had him tied for fourth in the nation and his length is a weapon when playing underneath zones.

9. DAMON WEBB, OHIO STATE

Perhaps the best pure free safety in the draft, Webb has outstanding movement skills that allow him to make plays on the ball from a single-high alignment. His quickness is also on display when covering slot receivers, which allows Webb to offer up a versatile skill set for creative defensive teams willing to use him on the back end and in the slot.

11 JESSIE BATES III, WAKE FOREST

Bates has excellent movement skills and he’s one of the few safeties capable of matching up 1-on-1 with receivers. He can attack downhill in the run game, making him a good fit for a quarters-heavy scheme...

The Ravens defense is equipped to stifle most attacks after several strong drafts. The one area they could improve upon is coverage in the middle of the field. Any of the six incoming linebackers and safeties above could remedy this remaining coverage issue.

OZZIE NEWSOME DOESN’T WANT A SENTIMENTAL FINAL DRAFT, HE JUST WANTS TO NAIL IT - John Eisenberg

Quarterback? There’s been a lot of interesting talk, but in the end, my guess is the Ravens will want an immediate contributor with their first pick.

It’s asking a lot, but in light of their playoff drought, they really need to add not just one but a couple of difference-makers who play right away instead of languishing on the depth chart, as has happened lately with those relatively high picks mentioned above.

That’s what Newsome wants from his last draft, I’m sure: Not ceremonial recognition of a job well done over many years, but rather, a last burst of the kind of shrewd drafting that helped him become so respected.

The Ravens could use it, that’s for sure.

To find a couple immediate difference makers, the Ravens will probably have to pull off a trade or ‘reach’ to supplement their weaker positions. Eisenberg predicts Newsome will trade down in the first round and eventually select South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert.