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50 Words or Less: Final Thoughts As We Enter Draft Week

Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) awaits the snap during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.
Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) awaits the snap during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.

I'm such a tinkerer that my "Lounge" co-host, Garrett Downing, and I have a name for it – Minkering.

Thus, this final week before the NFL Draft kicks off is full of dissection and second-guessing about what I think the Ravens will do starting Thursday.

Here are my latest (and final) thoughts before Garrett and I release our seven-round Ravens mock drafts on Wednesday:

There's plenty of chatter about the Ravens trading down. But what about a trade up? If one of the top offensive tackles gets to within striking range, the Ravens could look to leapfrog some tackle-hungry teams (Cowboys and Packers at 24 and 25) to get their guy.

The Chargers seem like a team the Ravens could do business with, especially if they deal the No. 5 pick to the Minnesota Vikings (and get their selections at 11 and 23). Joe Hortiz has Eric DeCosta's number and could subscribe to Baltimore's classic get-more-picks mindset as the Chargers reload.

Baltimore has nine selections as it stands now. DeCosta already said this year's draft isn't as deep overall as previous years because of the lack of underclassmen. He said the Ravens could look to trade 2024 picks for upgraded 2025 selections. Or EDC could use them to move up.

If the Ravens do trade back, the logical partners from the second round are the Patriots (if they don't pick a QB at No. 3), Raiders, Saints, and Giants because they would be coming up for a quarterback. The later three would be a sizeable 15-pick jump back, however.

The Ravens are not going to reach for an offensive tackle at No. 30. They signed Josh Jones, who has 24 career starts. Everyone is drooling over the massive tackle prospects with some developing to do. Meanwhile, the Ravens have been developing 6-foot-8, 380-pound monster Daniel Faalele for two years.

We've been saying for a while that it's unlikely that DeCosta would pick a wide receiver in the first round for the fourth time in six years. I'm starting to think that's not the case. If Adonai Mitchell is sitting there, it could be mighty tempting – history be damned.

If the Ravens are going to make a surprise pick during the first two days at a position other than offensive line, wide receiver, cornerback, or EDGE, I expect it would be safety. The Ravens have used a lot of three-safety looks the past couple years and lost Geno Stone.

There's chatter about Iowa's Cooper DeJean possibly being a better safety than cornerback. When have I heard before about a defensive back who could slide because of versatility "concerns?" Hmmm. Oh, that's right, Kyle Hamilton. DeJean isn't built like Hamilton but sign me up for another version of that.

The Ravens could do a whole lot worse than selecting Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry with pick No. 30. He's the second-most likely pick, per ESPN’s Draft Predictor, just barely trailing Mitchell. A smooth, savvy, alpha Alabama defender at a position of need sounds like a Ravens-like pick.

I would be shocked if the Ravens don't take multiple offensive linemen in this year's draft. I also wouldn't be surprised if they drafted a pair of wide receivers, even after signing Deonte Harty. They lost two wideouts in free agency – Odell Beckham Jr. and Devin Duvernay.

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