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Ravens News 4/27: Draft Scenarios and more

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NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens’ best, worst and most likely scenarios during draft, plus sleepers and wild cards - Jeff Zrebiec

A sleeper option who should be getting discussed more is …

With how much time is spent on covering the draft, I don’t know that there are any sleepers at this point. Each possibility has seemingly been discussed ad nauseam. But how about Mississippi State’s Cross? He is certainly not a sleeper in this draft. He’s been frequently projected to go to the New York Giants with the fifth or seventh picks. However, there hasn’t been much said or written about him potentially being an option for the Ravens. If he falls, you’d have to think the Ravens would have interest. He’s a bit of a polarizing prospect, but he’s arguably the best pass protecting tackle in this class and he faced top competition in the SEC. Cross is much closer to a plug-and-play option than Penning.

A player the Ravens could trade up for is ….

Thibodeaux. The Ravens are represented at most pro days, but the report that Ravens officials had dinner with Thibodeaux after Oregon’s workout seemed notable. Thibodeaux was once viewed as the likely top overall pick. That’s not still the case, but it certainly would be surprising if he gets out of the top 10 even with some teams reportedly turned off by his big and brash personality. The Ravens need another edge rusher and there seems to be a drop-off after the top five, who all could get taken with top-10 picks. Thibodeaux is a big and explosive game wrecker. He had 19 sacks and 31 1/2 tackles for loss in 30 college games. The Ravens are always reluctant to part with draft picks, but if Thibodeaux is still there in the 8-10 range, it wouldn’t be surprising if DeCosta at least made a call to gauge the cost of moving up in the draft.

Sorting Out Final Draft Questions and Buzz - Ryan Mink

Is run-stuffing defensive tackle Jordan Davis worthy of No. 14?

The Ravens certainly understand the pass-happy direction NFL offenses have gone. That’s why Baltimore is one of the league’s top spenders in the secondary. But the Ravens also know they play in a division built around leaving its opponents black and blue.

The value proposition is a legitimate debate, but stopping the run is still important. The Ravens still subscribe to the belief that if you can’t stop the run, you don’t stand a chance. And if teams feel the ultra-athletic Davis can offer more as a pass rusher, that sweetens the pot.

How high would the Ravens draft a wide receiver?

DeCosta has picked a wide receiver in the first round in two of his first three years as GM with Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Rashod Bateman. A cluster of wideouts will probably come off the board around pick No. 14, but don’t expect the Ravens to get into the mix after investing so heavily in recent years.

With that said, the recent mega deals signed by wide receivers shows just how valuable that position is. Brown is about to enter his fourth season and DeCosta already said the Ravens will pick up his fifth-year option, which would keep Brown under contract through the 2023 season. I don’t think it’s crazy to think about bolstering the position in the short and long-term as early as Round 2 if the value is good enough. DeCosta is a bargain hunter, and with wide receiver values booming, a wideout that falls into their lap could be too good to pass up even with more pressing needs.

Twelve Ravens thoughts entering 2022 NFL draft - Luke Jones

With the Ravens scheduled to make five fourth-round picks, others have looked back at 2016 when they drafted Tavon Young, Chris Moore, Alex Lewis, Willie Henry, and Kenneth Dixon. Given the excitement — even hyperbole — then, let’s just be realistic about what to expect from this portion of the draft.

I don’t question the validity of the NFL Network report saying Ronnie Stanley is “on pace to be ready for 2022” after a recent checkup, but that being leaked days before the draft makes one ponder motives. Optimism months before Week 1 shouldn’t alter draft plans to any meaningful degree.

Considering Baltimore isn’t projected to receive a compensatory pick in next year’s draft for the first time since 2010, DeCosta trading a pick from his Day 3 collection to improve his 2023 draft picture wouldn’t be remotely surprising. Weary reporters would applaud trading that sixth-round pick for a 2023 fifth.

2022 NFL Draft: Final Defensive Rankings By Position - Ken Zalis

EDGE:

Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State

Travon Walker, Georgia

Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

David Ojabo, Michigan

Boye Mafe, Minnesota

Josh Paschal, Kentucky

Arnold Ebiketie, Penn State

George Karlaftis, Purdue

Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina

Sleeper: Alex Wright, UAB

Cornerback:

Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati

Trent McDuffie, Washington

Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

Kaiir Elam, Florida

Roger McCreary, Auburn

Kyler Gordon, Washington

Tariq Woolen, Texas-San Antonio

Marcus Jones, Houston

Martin Emerson, Mississippi State

Sleeper: Coby Bryant, Cincinnati

2022 NFL Draft: Lewis Cine, Logan Hall among seven potential surprise first-rounders - Tom Pelissero

Quay Walker

Georgia · LB · Senior

At this point, it’ll be a surprise if Walker isn’t a first-round pick; multiple GMs say they won’t be shocked if he’s the first linebacker off the board ahead of Utah’s Devin Lloyd, perhaps even in the top 20. Walker is a freaky athlete who ran a 4.52 40 (fourth among linebackers) at 6-3 3/4, 241 pounds. He posted career highs last season with 25 QB pressures and 67 tackles, including a team-high eight in the national championship win over Alabama. Walker’s not regarded as the most instinctive player, but he can do a little of everything — cover, man the box, set the edge, play downhill — and a robust slate of visits and interviews with teams has drawn generally positive reviews. There’s just too much value and upside for Walker to stay on the board for too long.