Since the Ravens have the sixth-overall pick, there are fewer scenarios and variables than in a normal year when Baltimore is selecting near the end of the first round.
Still, there will be waves before General Manager Ozzie Newsome is on the clock.
Here are five things that could affect the Ravens’ pick tonight:
1) Which way the Chargers go
The No. 1 and No. 2 picks are pretty much sewn up as with quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. But it’s anybody’s guess what the Chargers might do at No. 3. They’ve struggled on the offensive line the past few years, making Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil an obvious possibility. However, the Chargers have re-signed two tackles in the past two offseasons. They may take their top-rated defensive player. If the Chargers pass on Tunsil, that may send Tunsil spiraling down to No. 6 because the Cowboys (No. 4) and Jaguars (No. 5) don’t have a need for a left tackle. That scenario would give Newsome a decision to make. Does he bypass a defensive talent for an anchor at left tackle, even though it’s not an immediate need because of Eugene Monroe?
2) Another run at a quarterback
There’s already been two blockbuster trades for quarterbacks. Could there still be a third? The aggressive moves for quarterbacks could start a run. Memphis gunslinger Paxton Lynch is considered to be the draft’s third-best signal caller. The 49ers (No. 7), Browns (No. 8), Bills (No. 19) and Jets (No. 20) may be eying up a quarterback. If anybody wants to leapfrog the 49ers, they’ll likely call the Ravens. If Baltimore has multiple solid options still on the board, Newsome could always trade back, given that he finds a partner.
3) The chase for RB Ezekiel Elliott
The most exciting offensive player in this year’s class is generating buzz in the final days leading up to the draft. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott could go as high as to the Cowboys at No. 4, [comma] and the Dolphins (No. 13) have a dire need for a running back. Elliott said himself that the Bears (No. 11) are in love with him. With that much interest, teams may be looking to trade up and snag the dynamic talent. If the Cowboys grab Elliott, that also pushes another player at a more pressing position of need to the Ravens. Then again, could the Ravens draft Elliott themselves? ESPN’s Mel Kiper has previously projected it and Todd McShay said he’s a “perfect fit” for Baltimore.
4) The offensive tackles
As previously stated, the Chargers and Tunsil are one to watch at No. 3. But now there are late rumblings that Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley is rated higher than Tunsil by several general managers, per NFL Media’s Mike Silver. Silver says the Chargers are considering taking Stanley. A week ago, McShay mocked the Ravens selecting Stanley ahead of Tunsil, defensive end DeForest Buckner and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack. If Stanley and Tunsil both slide, the Ravens could trade back with other teams looking for a tackle. There a host of teams looking for tackles and the Titans, who were supposedly targeting Tunsil at No. 1 overall before trading back to No. 15, have the ammunition to move back up in the Ravens’ range.
5) Myles Jack’s knee
Jack was one of the most buzzed about prospects in this year’s draft and considered a sure top-5 top-five pick for much of the pre-draft process. Many pundits had him pegged to the Jaguars at No. 5. However, recent rumors about Jack’s surgically repaired knee and the possibility for long-term damage that could require another surgery have teams in the teens reportedly prepping for Jack to slide, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Where Jack goes will be determined by each team’s individual medical report. What do the Ravens’ doctors say? He’s the biggest question mark of any player mocked to Baltimore, but has tremendous upside.