NFL Draft 2016: BSL Contributor Draft Discussion
This is the most consequential NFL draft the Baltimore Ravens have faced since the fateful 2008 haul that brought in Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. This time, though, the Ravens have their quarterback situation set, and they have one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL at the helm. That actually adds more intrigue, however. In 2008, there was no question the Ravens would be adding a quarterback. Now, they could go any direction.
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That’s exciting, and it has the Baltimore, Sports and Life Ravens contributors paying close attention. I and my fellow contributors took a crack at some of the pressing questions facing the Ravens in this year’s draft.
Regardless of fit in Baltimore, who is the best player in this draft?
Jason B. Hirschhorn – Though he won’t hear his name called first, Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey has earned the status of top player in the 2016 draft. Whether you think he’s a cornerback or a safety in the NFL, you’re right. His has the athletic profile and skillset to thrive at either spot, reminding many of a young Charles Woodson. In 2015, opposing quarterbacks went to great pains not to challenge him, which is perhaps the only reason he didn’t record an interception that season. However, he can expect more passes to come his way in the pros, and his turnover numbers should spike accordingly.
Gabe Ferguson – I have similar grades on a few players, but I will give the nod to Jalen Ramsey. Not only is he an elite athlete, but he has sound technique and great versatility. My one concern with Ramsey is his questionable ball skills, but I think in the end he will be a dynamic playmaker who will create turnovers.
Mike Randall – Jalen Ramsey – DB, Florida State. He is special in so many ways. Versatile enough to play CB, safety, nickel. Speed and agility. Man or zone. Playmaking game changing ability at any moment. Tall at 6’1″. It’s not often that a DB could be the number one overall pick, and that should tell you something about the potential Ramsey has.
Andy Guyader – Jalen Ramsey – guys with that much athleticism will change games in the NFL. Antonio Cromartie x 2. I predict a 109 yard TD return for Ramsey.
Shawn Brubaker – Laremy Tunsil, who is one of the best tackles I’ve ever scouted. Smooth, athletic and physical, Tunsil is a plug-and-play left tackle who should be a Pro Bowler for 10 years.
Whose film did you most enjoy watching?
JBH – No player jumps out on the tape more than TCU wideout Josh Doctson. While some of this draft’s receivers possess better speed, none can create separation as consistently or in as many ways as Doctson. Better still, no player at his position does a better job in contested-catch situations. Everything you see suggests that he should have a successful career in the NFL.
GF – Myles Jack no question. I’ve never seen a LB that can cover like a CB like Jack, and he has great instincts and playmaking ability from sideline to sideline. He’s going to be an outstanding linebacker in today’s NFL and he can even take a few snaps at RB!
MR – Mackensie Alexander. I was blown away by the guy’s ability to cover WRs. He takes away one side of the field which is a huge advantage. There was a noticeable difference in Alabama’s offense in the title game when Alexander had to leave the game injured. He was brilliant while dealing with a bad hamstring to start with. Zero INTs in two seasons for the sophomore because they just don’t look his way often.
SB – Shaq Lawson. Early in the process I went to watch the Notre Dame Clemson game to watch Ronnie Stanley, and I came away floored by how well Lawson played. As a former defensive end, I have a thing for skilled defensive ends, and he is among the most technically sound pass rushers in this draft (it’s between him and Bosa). Lawson plays with intense effort on every snap and exudes passion for the game. Other players on the Clemson defense seemed to respond positively to his energy, and that’s some I like to see.
What player do you think is most overrated headed into the draft?
JBH – I have concerns about Joey Bosa’s ability to win consistently at the NFL level. While he possesses better athleticism than the majority of edge rushers in his class, he ranks a notch behind those usually selected in the top 10. Unlike other positions, defensive ends without elite physical traits rarely live up to that kind of draft hype. While he could still have a solid career, teams looking to improve their pass rush may want to choose someone with a higher ceiling.
GF – A’Shawn Robinson. I’ve seen him rated as the top DT in the draft by some, but I don’t think he is deserving of a 1st round pick. He’s too limited athletically and is a non-factor as a pass-rusher.
MR – Laquon Treadwell. I see a big WR who has room to grow into his frame. Otherwise, his hands are ok. His speed isn’t blazing. He doesn’t create matchup problems with his size. He rounds off his routes which will throw off needed timing with the QB in a faster pro game. I just don’t see the first round talent others do.
AG – Robert Nkemdiche. Feels like a GM will be haunted by this pick for many years. Hope I am wrong but I would steer clear if I was drafting.
SB – Ronnie Stanley. He’s a good pass blocker, but I saw some troubling signs in his run blocking that make me wonder why he’s considered a top-tier left tackle prospect. He struggles blocking downfield, often lunging at linebackers rather than engaging them with a solid base and his weight under him. In the Ravens’ zone blocking scheme, that’s a big issue that makes me take pause.
If you’re the Ravens, what is your strategy headed into the draft? (Note… not looking for specific players here so much as trade back trade up scenarios, positions you target, etc.)
JBH – The Ravens sit in a particularly advantageous spot at No. 6. If either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff makes it past Dallas, interested teams may look to jump ahead of the 49ers, who pick at No. 7, to land one. That gives Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome plenty of leverage in a draft-day negotiation. While the team could land a field-tilter at their original pick, it probably makes more sense to take the king’s random to trade down instead.
GF – Best defensive player available in the first round, or trade back if the top rated prospects are off the board. I think the 2nd and 3rd round will have lots of value at WR and CB, and I would definitely get at least one defensive lineman in the first 4 rounds. The Ravens need a pass-rusher more than any other position in my estimation.
MR – Simply, you don’t get top ten picks in the draft often. While that is a very good thing, don’t screw this one up. Not really a strategy, so here’s what I got. There is no reason to spend draft picks to trade up. Staying at #6, they will get a very good player based on projections that someone ahead of Baltimore will take a quarterback. I’m sure the Ravens have a list of players they want, and if they feel then can move back and still land someone they rank highly on their board, they’ll go for it. Then maybe use those picks to move up in round two or three, to grab someone they really want there. Moving up in round two could mean two first round picks at the end of the night. Instead of having #6 and #37, maybe they get #15 and #27 or so.
AG – Follow the Cardinal’s model – you have a franchise QB so don’t ruin it while you have it. Surround him as best you can. Draft on offense. Trade down if the offense guy you want is not there. Get two later.
SB – If none of Tunsil, Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack or Joey Bosa are on the board when the Ravens’ pick, I’m trading back. I think this is a great draft for the Ravens to get cornerback and pass rush help in the middle rounds, so I’d make a point to address those spots in the second through fourth round. Add some O-line and receiver depth later in the draft. If Corey Coleman is there in the second round, though, go for him.
Who is a mid to late-round prospect that you would like to see the Ravens target?
JBH – With the defection of Kelechi Osemele, the Ravens may want to find a mid-round guard in case John Urschel doesn’t pan out as a starter. North Dakota State’s Joe Haeg fits the mold of a Baltimore offensive lineman both in stature (6-foot-6, 304 pounds) and athleticism (63rd percentile by SPARQ). With some seasoning, he can become a fixture along the Ravens’ line.
GF – I put Max Tuerk in my recent mock draft. He’s a versatile offensive lineman that I think would be a great fit in Baltimore.
MR – So many for different reasons, I can’t name one. Jaydon Mickens of Washington is the best pure slot receiver in the draft. The Ravens Michael Campanaro can’t stay healthy and Mickens is a kick returner as well. Another WR is Charone Peake of Clemson. Death Valley has churned out Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant of late. They know a little something about developing wideouts. At RB, Kenyan Drake from Alabama would be a receiving asset that Marc Trestman loved to utilize with Matt Forte in Chicago, and Joe Flacco loved to check down to Ray Rice in years past. Justin Forsett doesn’t excel there, and Buck Allen has to step up in the rushing department to convince me he can be the starter. I’ll limit it to those three for now.
AG – Wish I knew the entire draft better.
SB – Sterling Shephard. He’s not just a skilled slot receiver. Shephard’s lack of size didn’t stop the Oklahoma Sooners from targeting Shephard on fade routes, and he brought them down with regularity.
Finish this sentence… “With the sixth pick in the NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select…”
JBH – Ronnie Stanley, offensive tackle from the University of Notre Dame.
GF – Joey Bosa. I think he has a good chance of falling to the Ravens and he is too talented to pass on if he does. He can rush from a variety of alignments and is as good as it gets as a run defender on the edge.
MR – I see this as a real possibility. I see it going Tunsil-TEN, QB(Goff or Wentz)-CLE, Ramsey-SD, Bosa-DAL, Jack-JAX. Ravens could go DeForest Buckner, Ronnie Stanley (hope not). I think they move back and land Shaq Lawson or Noah Spence. If one of Ramsey, Jack, or Bosa fall, that has to be the pick, no trading back with one of those three available.
AG – Ezekiel Elliott…. Camera flashes…. Bear hug the commish and have Flacco immediately on stage handing him a football.
SB – DeForrest Buckner. I’m not exactly excited about it, but I think that’s what ends up happening. Hard for me to imagine any of Bosa, Ramsey, Tunsil or Jack falling, and the Ravens have made a big deal about having a high pick this year.
Shawn began his writing career with Bleacher Report as a Ravens featured columnist and Breaking News Team writer. He moved on to write for Yahoo! and work on the Ravens Central Radio podcast. Most recently, he was an Editor at the Baltimore Wire. Shawn is a 2013 graduate of the Catholic University of America.