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Eric DeCosta Sees More Defensive Talent in First 25 Picks Than Offensive

Posted Mar 22, 2018

Outside of the quarterbacks, there aren't a lot of offensive players projected to go in the top 25, which means Baltimore could go defense in Round 1 again. But DeCosta promises the offense will be a priority in the first four rounds.

The Ravens will not pick four straight defensive players at the start of the NFL Draft this year. Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta all but guaranteed it.

“If [we do], you’ll probably be looking for a new GM next year,” DeCosta joked on “The Lounge” podcast this week.

Drafting a defensive player in the first round though? Well, that’s certainly a possibility.

Many mock drafts predict more defensive talent taken in the top part of the first round. With the Ravens sitting at No. 16, there’s a good chance they could have more highly-graded defensive options than offensive.

“It’s an interesting draft because I would say that most people would think that in the first 25 picks, there will likely be more defensive players than offensive players,” DeCosta said.

“You’re going to have the quarterbacks, obviously, drafted pretty high. You might have a couple offensive linemen, maybe a receiver or two, maybe a running back or two. But there are a lot of good defensive players.”

There could be four quarterbacks (USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield) off the board before the Ravens are on the clock. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley will be gone. Notre Dame guard Quentin Nelson won’t be there.

There aren’t any consensus stud offensive tackles. There may not be any wide receivers drafted in the top 10 this year. There probably won’t be any tight ends taken until the end of the first round, if at all on Day 1.

Baltimore could have its pick of the top wide receiver (such as Alabama’s Calvin Ridley) or No. 1 offensive tackle at No. 16. More likely is a smorgasbord of defensive talents.

Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Florida State safety Derwin James, Texas-San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport, Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans, Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes, Boston College pass rusher Harold Landry and others are intriguing prospects who could be in play at No. 16.

Near the end of the first round and through the rest of the draft, DeCosta sees the balance of offensive vs. defensive talent flipping. There’s a cluster of wide receivers widely projected to be taken near the end of the first or early second round. There are many more pass catchers in the third and fourth rounds.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if you had maybe 60 percent of all the players drafted on offense and 40 percent on defense,” DeCosta said.

So what does this all mean for the Ravens, whose needs are clearly more on the offensive side of the ball? Many Ravens fans are still clamoring for a high pick to be used on a wide receiver.

“In the first round, are we going to take a wideout? It just depends,” DeCosta said. “Is it fair to say that in the first three rounds, are we going to be taking some offensive players? Definitely.

“I think there’s a really good chance that we’ll continue to work on the offense in the first four rounds of the draft. We may take a defensive player in the first round, we may take a defensive player in the second round, but the notion that we’re going to go defense, defense, defense, defense, that’s just not going to happen.”

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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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