Steve Bisciotti Wouldn't Approve of Todd McShay's Latest Mock Draft
What are the playmaker-needy Ravens to do if they find themselves on the clock in April's NFL Draft only to find there are no offensive skill players worthy of the No. 16 pick?
Draft a defensive tackle, says ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.
In his second mock draft, McShay predicts offensive skill players such as Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (No. 4, Cleveland Browns) and Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley (No. 8, Chicago Bears) will be off the board.
McShay also foresees some of the top offensive linemen going too, including Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Texas tackle Connor Williams and Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown. Four quarterbacks went in the top 15.
"The Ravens are in dire need of offensive playmakers, but there just isn't the value at this point in the draft," wrote McShay. "What direction will GM Ozzie Newsome go for his final NFL draft? He has usually gone best player available, and that's what I see Baltimore doing here. [Washington defensive tackle Vita] Vea is a versatile defensive lineman who has drawn comparisons to Haloti Ngata and should put up some big numbers at the combine."
If Vea really is the next Ngata, he wouldn't be a bad pick. But, defensive tackle is not an immediate need and it's precisely the position Owner Steve Bisciotti said the Ravens most likely wouldn't take at No. 16.
"I think that there is a really good chance that we won't be drafting a defensive tackle in the first round," Bisciotti said Friday.
Last year, the Ravens used their first four draft picks on defensive players and they spent considerable free agency money on the unit too. Per ESPN, the Ravens have selected a defensive tackle or end in one of the first three rounds of the draft every year since 2013.
Bisciotti said the defense is mostly set personnel-wise, which is why you can be "assured" that the majority of Baltimore's attention this offseason will be on offense.
"This Baltimore offense endured one of its statistically worst seasons in franchise history," ESPN wrote. "The Ravens finished No. 27 in total offense (305.4), No. 29 in passing (189.4), No. 31 in yards per play (4.6) and No. 27 in third-down conversion (34.1 percent).
"The rankings might be a reflection of the offense getting neglected in the draft. Over the past eight drafts, Baltimore has taken two offensive players with its first pick: wide receiver Breshad Perriman and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley. That trend could be coming to an end -- if Bisciotti has anything to say about it."
Ravens Not in Violation of Rooney Rule by Promoting Eric DeCosta
The NFL's Rooney rule is in place to ensure teams interview minority candidates for vacancies at senior football operations openings and head coaching positions, but the Ravens did not violate the rule by announcing that Eric DeCosta will succeed Ozzie Newsome next year.
This is according to a statement from the Fritz Pollard Alliance Tuesday.
The reason why the Ravens are in the clear is because there's an exception to the rule for teams that have had a long-term succession plan already in place.
"Several years ago, Eric DeCosta and the Baltimore Ravens reached agreement that DeCosta would succeed Hall of Famer and legendary General Manager Ozzie Newsome when Newsome steps down," the Fritz Pollard Alliance wrote.
"Under Rooney Rule protocol, when a Club has established a firm succession plan that involves an internal coach or executive replacing a departing Head coach or general manager, no external search is required. Examples of such circumstances include Jim Caldwell's succession of Tony Dungy as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Jim Mora's succession of Mike Holmgren as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks."
No Need to Get Worked up Over Latest WR Signing; Torrey Smith Could Be a Cap Casualty
The Ravens announced Tuesday that they signed wide receiver DeVier Posey, last year's CFL Grey Cup Most Valuable Player.
But don't worry, he's not the Ravens' "splash" signing, and they don't view him as such.
"Why people get so worked up about back-end roster moves in February — for example, the signing of Posey — is beyond me," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
"It's like trashing a minor league signing in baseball. There's no risk whatsoever. The Ravens have 90 spots on the roster. Posey is hardly a lock to make the regular-season roster or even to be on the team when training camp begins. He'll be one of several receivers added to the roster between now and the start of training camp."
In other wide receiver news, former Ravens second-round wide receiver Torrey Smith could be on the market again soon. With the Eagles tight against the cap, just like the Ravens, reporters have speculated that Smith could be a cap casualty.
Smith had a decent year of production as a second/third option in Philadelphia, tallying 36 catches for 430 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers are nearly identical to the Ravens' Jeremy Maclin.
If Smith does get released, it wouldn't be surprising if Ravens fans would like team officials to reach out to him again. Last year, quarterback Joe Flacco admitted he texted Smith when he was a free agent.
"Cutting Smith would save the Eagles $5 million of space and result in no dead money on their salary cap," wrote Zrebiec. "Regardless of what happens going forward, you have to feel good that Smith, one of the NFL's good guys, gets another Super Bowl ring."
I shouldn't share this but I have to because the love for this team and @cj_wentz is real! I stopped by a school today this boy was the biggest fan. So I called him on FaceTime and the kids reaction was priceless. My guy is the best leader...strong man of faith and authentic! pic.twitter.com/0Pgw9K8uQP — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) February 6, 2018
Kudos to Steve Bisciotti for Even Holding a Year-End Presser
The annual event has almost become an expectation in Baltimore, but it's hardly a regular practice elsewhere in the NFL.
I'm talking about the "State of the Ravens" press conference that is held at the end of each season, in which Bisciotti meets with the Baltimore media. Traditionally, it has also featured Newsome, Head Coach John Harbaugh and President Dick Cass, but Bisciotti wanted to do it alone this year, and he wanted to give it a little time after the Ravens' season ended.
"Kudos to team owner Steve Bisciotti for continuing to have a postseason question-and-answer session with reporters," wrote Zrebiec. "You can count on one hand the number of NFL owners who speak to reporters after the season. Some do it only if they have a head coach or general manager hiring or firing to announce. Many don't do it at all."
Meet Chad Steele, #TheGuyBehindPeyton, and His Family
He's frequently mistaken for former Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, but no, Gonzalez is not the person escorting Super Bowl quarterbacks around the field to their various media obligations.
That person is Chad Steele, the Ravens' vice president of public relations, otherwise known as #TheGuyBehindPeyton. Steele also just so happens to be the very first guy I interviewed with when I was trying to land a job with the Ravens back in 2005 (as you can tell by me getting the job, he has excellent judgement).
NFL Films did a two-part series on Steele, and how he has somehow almost always ended up in front of the camera with the Super Bowl MVP. The second video features his father, "The Colonel" Gary Steele, who was Army's first black football player, a fact that he never talked about with his kids when they were young.
Alex Collins Makes PFF's Top 101 Players
Statistical website Pro Football Focus released 50 of their top 101 highest-graded players of the 2017 season, and running back Alex Collins was the only Raven to make the list so far. He is ranked No. 101.
"Despite languishing on the practice squad as late as mid-September this past season, Alex Collins had a breakout year for the Baltimore Ravens and had the highest pure rushing score of any back at 89.7," wrote PFF's Sam Monson. "Collins averaged 3.0 yards per carry after contact, breaking 34 tackles on 212 carries. He was a weaker player in the pass game, but those carries were spectacular. Among the 53 running backs with at least 81 attempts in 2017, Collins ranked 10th in PFF's elusive rating at 55.7."
PFF will reveal the rest of the list throughout the week, and we'll see if any Ravens make the top 50.