5 Things That Could Affect Ravens' First-Round Pick


For perhaps the first hour of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Ravens will sit back in the war room and watch like everybody else. With the No. 16-overall pick, the Ravens will be mere spectators until their pick draws closer.

But whatever happens before they're on the clock will drastically impact what Baltimore will do.

Here are five things that could affect the Ravens' first-round pick: 1)     The run on quarterbacks, or lack thereof

There will definitely be some quarterbacks taken in the first five picks of this year's draft. Depending on how many, it could shake up the first round.

There could be as many as four quarterbacks taken with the first five picks by the Cleveland Browns (No. 1), New York Giants (No. 2), New York Jets (No. 3) and Denver Broncos (No. 5).

If one or two of those teams pass on signal-callers, however, it could spur a lot of trades by teams looking to move up to grab quarterbacks.

While USC's Sam Darnold seems like a lock in the top 5 and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield is getting a lot of late buzz, Wyoming's Josh Allen, UCLA's Josh Rosen and Louisville's Lamar Jackson are still wild-cards to a degree.

The more quarterbacks that go before Baltimore's No. 16 pick, the better. That is, unless the Ravens are interested in getting one themselves … 2)     QB Lamar Jackson

The Ravens have been clear in saying they won't shy away from drafting a quarterback, and there's been reported connections with Jackson.

Baltimore has Joe Flacco as the starter heading into 2018, but could be looking to head in another direction in the years to come. Jackson is one of the most electrifying talents in the entire draft.

So, if he slides to the Ravens at No. 16, do they take him? Or could the Buffalo Bills (No. 22), New England Patriots (No. 23), New Orleans Saints (No. 27) or Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 29) trade up for him?

A team wanting to move up to grab Jackson could present the Ravens with their best opportunity to trade back and acquire more picks.

3)     A defensive stud slides

If the top five quarterbacks (or maybe six with Mason Rudolph?) go ahead of Baltimore's No. 16 pick, that pushes players at other positions down the board.

One of those could be a stud defensive talent such as Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Florida State safety Derwin James, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds or Texas-San Antonio defensive end Marcus Davenport.

Would the Ravens consider trading up for any of those players? Could they wait and grab one at No. 16?

Despite Baltimore's more pressing needs on the offensive side of the ball, the Ravens will take their highest-ranked player in the first round, and that could very well be on defense. 4)     A cluster of offensive talent

In terms of need, tight end, wide receiver and offensive line are probably the three biggest for Baltimore, in that order.

If there are multiple options available for each when the Ravens are on the clock at No. 16, they could very well look to trade back and be comfortable going in any direction.

The recent buzz is that Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore are more suited to be drafted in the 20s or 30s than teens. Same goes for the top tight ends of South Carolina's Hayden Hurst, South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert and Penn State's Mike Gesicki.

The top offensive tackles, Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey and UCLA's Kolton Miller, could go anywhere in the first round and there are top-notch interior blockers as well.

If there's still a mass of offensive talent on the board and nobody the Ravens are in love with at No. 16, Baltimore could trade back and still fill an offensive need. 5)     Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals will obviously affect what the Ravens do at 16 because they sit one pick ahead of Baltimore. What makes this especially interesting is the Cardinals have some of the same needs.

They have been commonly linked to the draft's top wide receivers of Ridley and Moore. They've also been rumored as a potential landing spot for Jackson. The Ravens may be in a position of trading up or crossing their fingers and hoping Arizona doesn't take their guy.

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