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Biggest Questions For Ravens Pre-Draft Press Conference


There's only about three weeks until the 2017 NFL Draft.

With questions mounting, General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz will speak with the media Wednesday at 11:45 a.m.

Here are some of the biggest topics they'll likely address:

Possibility of a first-round wide receiver?After the retirement of Steve Smith Sr. and departure of Kamar Aiken, Baltimore needs another wideout. The Ravens drafted Breshad Perriman in the first round in 2015. Would they take another one just two years later? Three wide receivers are projected to be taken around the middle of the first round: Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis and Washington's John Ross. The Ravens' draft decision makers will probably be asked for their take on those top targets.

What's their analysis on first-round pass-rusher talent?
Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens are looking for the next Terrell Suggs. It's going to be hard to find that in any round outside of the first. This year's pass-rusher/edge class is particularly strong, and this could be the year to find Suggs' successor. While it's impossible to determine whether a prospect who hasn't taken an NFL snap is the next Suggs, what do the Ravens think of some of the top names such as Tennessee's Derek Barnett, UCLA's Takkarist McKinley, Michigan's Taco Charlton, Missouri's Charles Harris and more.

Do the Ravens still want a cornerback early?
While the Ravens have upgraded their secondary with the addition of safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr, Harbaugh has been clear about not being done with upgrades. Baltimore wants to get younger and better at cornerback. The team hasn't drafted a cornerback in the first three rounds since 2011, when they took Jimmy Smith in the first round. After the torn Achilles suffered by Washington's Sidney Jones, what cornerback could be available to the Ravens in the first round? Who do they see as second- or third-round possibilities?

What's the plan for the offensive line?
Baltimore came into the offseason wanting to upgrade the blockers in front of quarterback Joe Flacco, yet still has two openings on the offensive line at center and right tackle. Does Newsome see the solution coming in the draft? Are the Ravens betting on their in-house options? This year's draft class is not lauded for its offensive lineman talent, but Baltimore has found success in the middle rounds in years past.

Do the Ravens still want a running back?Harbaugh talked about adding a dynamic, playmaking running back this offseason. While the free-agent running back market was slow to materialize, the Ravens aggressively jumped in early to grab Danny Woodhead to be a pass-catching and running threat. Now with Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon and Woodhead, are the Ravens out of the running back market? What if a top talent like LSU's Leonard Fournette or Florida State's Dalvin Cook were available? It will also be interesting to see if Baltimore wants to draft another fullback after the departure of Kyle Juszczyk to San Francisco.

How will the Ravens replace Zachary Orr at inside linebacker?Harbaugh expressed confidence in 2016 second-round pick Kamalei Correa to step into the starting position next to C.J. Mosley, but that doesn't mean the Ravens won't explore the inside linebacker draft class. The Ravens invested a first-round pick in Mosley, but have most often relied on late-round picks or undrafted rookies, like Orr. How high a priority is inside linebacker?

Looking for a DT after trading Timmy Jernigan?
Upon trading Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday, Newsome cited the opportunity it will give the team's young defensive linemen to compete and play. The Ravens have Michael Pierce, Carl Davis and Willie Henry at defensive tackle, as well as Bronson Kaufusi and Brent Urban at defensive end. But does Baltimore now need another big body in the middle of its defensive line? Jernigan led last year's defensive linemen with five sacks (second-most on the team) with his penetrating style.

What does this year's draft mean to the organization?
The Ravens have missed the playoffs three of the past four years, and fans can bet that the scouting department also shares in that pain. Last year's draft class was, in many regards, a big hit. Just like in past years, the Ravens have talked about the desire for playmakers. To get over the hump and back into the postseason, Baltimore needs players that will make big plays in critical situations. How have the Ravens increased their scouting efforts to get to the next level?

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