Five Factors That Could Influence Ravens' First-Round Picks


General Manager Eric DeCosta dramatically improved his ability to maneuver around the draft board with the trade of Orlando Brown Jr., but sitting at No. 27 and No. 31 in the first round, the Ravens are still going to be watching from the sideline for most of Thursday night.

There are so many different ways the first round could play out in front of them that will affect who Baltimore will select.

Here are five different factors in play:

When does the run on offensive linemen start and how many will be included?

After Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater come off the board, it remains to be seen when and how many offensive linemen follow them in the first round. Teams that are looking for offensive tackle help after the top-10 include the Las Angeles Chargers (13), Minnesota (14), Las Vegas (17), Washington (19), Chicago (20), Tennessee (22), Pittsburgh (24) and Jacksonville (25). Of course, they all have other needs as well.

There are several offensive tackles projected to come off the board Day 1, including USC's Alijah Vera-Tucker, Virginia Tech's Christian Darrisaw, and Oklahoma State's Teven Jenkins. If a couple are selected early, it will probably be hard for Baltimore to grab one at No. 27 or 31. At that point, the Ravens could be looking at others such as Texas' Samuel Cosmi, Notre Dame's Liam Eichenberg or North Dakota State's Dillon Radunz if they want an offensive tackle early.

Where do the wide receivers rank?

Ravens fans intent on the team trading up to get one of the top wide receivers will be keeping an eye on how far Alabama's wide receivers, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, could slide. After they're taken, it'll be interesting to see where the next tier of wideouts comes off the board.

The prospects to watch are Elijah Moore of Ole Miss, Rashod Bateman of Minnesota, Terrace Marshall Jr. of LSU and Kadarius Toney of Florida. It wouldn't be surprising to see all of them available to Baltimore, which would have Ravens fans salivating. It could also be a sign that the Ravens could trade back and still get one in the second round.

In what order do the pass rushers come off the board?

There's a cluster of edge rushers expected to be selected in the second half of Day 1, including Michigan's Kwity Paye, Georgia's Azeez Ojulari, Miami's Jaelan Phillips, Penn State's Jayson Oweh, Washington's Joe Tryon and Miami's Gregory Rousseau. It seems every pundit has them stacked differently.

Who knows how the Ravens rank them, but it offers the possibility of one Baltimore loves dropping to them at No. 27. Each is very talented, but they all come with some dents such as injuries, size, production, or pure athleticism.

With similar needs, will the division rivals block Ravens?

One of the most interesting teams to watch when they're on the clock is the rival Steelers. They have similar needs to the Ravens' and sit three spots ahead at No. 24. The Steelers need an offensive tackle and center, as well as help at pass rusher. So Pittsburgh's pick could leave Baltimore fans throwing things at their TV.

However, the Steelers' other big need is at running back after ranking last in the league in rushing, and they've been a popular landing spot for Alabama's Najee Harris. Though Harris would give Pittsburgh a dangerous weapon, seeing the Steelers take a running back would help push an offensive lineman or edge rusher to Baltimore.

The Browns, who sit one spot ahead of Baltimore at No. 23, could also be a roadblock for a pass rusher the Ravens covet. Cleveland is looking for a prospect to develop with Myles Garrett after inking Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year deal.

How do injuries affect some top prospects?

It's always interesting to see the reports of injury concerns pop up in the final days before the draft. Miami's Phillips has had those red flags for a while after concussions forced him into a year of medical retirement. Alabama center Landon Dickerson has a long list of injuries that could drop a top talent into the second round. Recently, there have been reports of medical questions about LSU's Marshall, Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw and Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley.

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