Mel Kiper Has Ravens Drafting Joey Bosa At No. 6
Here is a perfect example of how fluid pre-draft projections are and how quickly opinions can change.
Eight days after saying there's no chance the top-ranked overall player in this year's draft, Joey Bosa, would fall to the sixth spot, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. now projects the Ravens selecting the dynamic pass rusher at the exact spot he said it wouldn't happen.
"So you're telling me there's a chance?!"
Kiper now sees two quarterbacks going in the top five and projects the San Diego Chargers passing on Bosa to select Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner. In his first mock draft, Kiper had the Tennessee Titans taking Bosa as the first-overall pick, but changed it to Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil to protect quarterback Marcus Mariota.
"DeForest Bucker right now is more the consensus No. 1 defensive end, plus he fits San Diego at three better than Joey Bosa does," Kiper said. "If you don't give Bosa to Dallas at four, then you drop him down to Baltimore at six."
Here's how Kiper's board stacks up:
- Tennessee Titans: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
2. Cleveland Browns: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
4. Dallas Cowboys: Jared Goff, QB, California
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
6. Baltimore Ravens: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Frankly, the Ravens would be thrilled to get Bosa, including Owner Steve Bisciotti, who emphasized in January the importance of a strong pass rush as the backbone to a strong defense.
If the Ravens plug Bosa in with veterans Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, along with second-year player Za'Darius Smith, it wouldn't be a stretch to say Baltimore could have one of the best pass-rushing units in the league.
Bosa is a strong overall edge defender who does more than just get after the quarterback, an ability that is attractive in and of itself. He earned Pro Football Focus' No. 1 pass-rush grade and the No. 1 run-defense grade in 2015.
He notched 70 pressures (third-most among edge defenders), according to PFF. He earned nearly every one of those pressures with only six coming unblocked.
"Wins with his hands as a pass rusher, enabling him to win inside or out," PFF's Steve Palazzolo wrote in a scouting report. "Has the power to bull rush, but hasn't shown it often. Defeats blocks with strength and hands. Dominates tight ends in the running game and handles most offensive tackles. Sets a hard edge in the running game. Rarely sealed or taken out of a play. Knows how to take on blockers to set up his teammates."
Bosa needs to clean up some penalties (15 over the last two years) and has missed some tackles along the way. Some have knocked his explosiveness compared to other prototypical pass rushers. But his overall production doesn't lie, amassing 26 sacks and 50.5 tackles for loss in 41 games at Ohio State.
"Bosa's production was as good as it gets in the country the last two years and he's the best player in the draft," wrote Palazzolo.
Jimmy Smith Named To AFC North Iron Man Team
Despite coming off a serious Lisfranc foot injury, Jimmy Smith played in 939 snaps last season, which was the second-most of any cornerback in the division.
Given his impressive perseverance, ESPN writers named Smith to the AFC North Ironman team.
Before the season began, Smith said one of his goals was to play the entire season without sustaining another injury. He accomplished that goal, marking just the second time in his five-year career that he played in all 16 games.
"My foot was huge for me," Smith said soon after the season ended. "I didn't really realize how slow I was, or how much I couldn't cut or burst until I really got into live action."
Smith started off shaky, but got better and returned to the dominant corner he's capable of being as his foot improved.
"It was rough for about eight, nine games until I could really get my movement back," Smith said. "Each week I tried new things just to feel like my old self. Towards the end of the season, I feel like I was starting to get back better."
Eight other Ravens made the AFC North Ironman team: guard Marshal Yanda (1,078 snaps), tackle Rick Wagner (1,074), linebacker C.J. Mosley (990), wide receiver Kamar Aiken (891), outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (750), outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (747), defensive tackle Brandon Williams (684) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (369).
Which NFL Teams Could Target Osemele?
With guard Kelechi Osemele scheduled to hit free agency, who are the teams that could lure him away from Baltimore?
CSNMidatlantic.com's Clifton Brown sees three teams that could make a bid:
- Saints: "New Orleans is looking to strengthen its offensive line after letting veteran guard Jahri Evans go. Osemele is an excellent run blocker, and the Saints would like to run more to relieve pressure on their defense, and on quarterback Drew Brees."
- 2. Seahawks: "Coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the season that improving Seattle's offensive line would be a priority. … Joining a contender like the Seahawks would likely appeal to Osemele, especially if they show him enough money."**
- Vikings: "They want to do a better job of protecting young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and Osemele's run blocking would also be an asset for running back Adrian Peterson."
Mulitalo Joining Southern Virginia Coaching Staff
A key member of the Ravens' 2000 Super Bowl championship team landed a college coaching position.
Former Ravens guard Edwin Mulitalo accepted a job as defensive line coach at Southern Virginia. Mulitalo will have his work cut out for him as SVU was 0-10 last year.
The Baltimore Sun caught up with Mulitalo a couple weeks ago. Mulitalo, now 41, has been living in Cedar City, Utah, with his wife and four children after returning from 3 1/2 years in Samoa, where his parents were born. While in Western Somoa, he started the first American football program there.
He's finishing up his college degree at Brigham Young University and is on track to graduate in June. Last fall, Mulitalo was a volunteer coach at Southern Utah, which won the Big Sky Conference.
"I like helping these kids," Mulitalo told The Sun. "You feel like you're actually contributing to someone becoming better, and that feels good. Also, you get the chills [of competition] without getting beat up. Afterward, you're still mentally drained but without the crick in your neck."