Ravens Narrowed List To Two Players For No. 6 Pick
Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta has always been proud of his ability to predict which players will fall to the Ravens in the first round – even when the team picks toward the end of it.
With the sixth-overall pick, this year should be a piece of cake.
As such, DeCosta and the Ravens arrived to the NFL Scouting Combine with an already very short list of players they'll likely be considering when they're on the clock.
"We feel like we know who the top six guys will be in the draft, at least we feel like we have it narrowed to the two guys that we would probably pick," DeCosta told ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Let the guessing game begin as to who the two players are, because you know DeCosta wasn't crazy enough to reveal them. Here we go …
There will be a pool of only five players the Ravens can't choose from. Nobody knows with complete certainty who that will be, but many project offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and a quarterback or two (Jared Goff and Carson Wentz) to be taken in the top 5.
Then, either DeForest Buckner or Joey Bosa could make it to the Ravens – not both. The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec thinks Buckner will be selected before Baltimore is on the clock.
With those five players removed from the list of possibilities, Zrebiec offers his big board in order of preference:
1. OLB Joey Bosa, Ohio State"Couldn't pass up the best pass rusher in the draft, but his adaptability to 3-4 defense, explosiveness have to be concerns."
2. LB Myles Jack, UCLA
"The Ravens badly need to upgrade speed and athleticism on defense, and he has star potential."
3. CB Vernon Hargreaves III
"Evaluators seem sold that he'll start and hold his own immediately."
4. OLB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
"Very tempting, but the Ravens can't miss on this pick, and there's just a little too much risk with his past drug issues."
5. LT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame
"Sounds like everyone agrees that he'll be a good player, but Ravens need more than that."
6. WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi"Again very tempting, but the Ravens' history of drafting receivers and the questions about his speed are just too hard to overlook this early in the draft."
What does your Ravens big board look like? Who do you think are the two players the Ravens are targeting?
"It's not really hard figuring out the top 10 players in any draft," DeCosta told Hensley. "You do the tape work, you see the guys and follow them around. You can pretty much predict who those guys are going to be. There might be a little bit of volatility, maybe one guy gets picked higher than you think he is or one guy gets picked lower than you think he is. But, in general, it's much easier than when you're picking at No. 30."
Osemele Wants To Be Highest-Paid Guard
Not surprisingly, Ravens guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele is expected to hit the free-agent market on March 9 despite a "really aggressive" offer from the Ravens, according to Houston Chronicle and former Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson.
What kind of deal is Osemele seeking?
He wants to be the highest-paid guard in football.
According to Spotrac, the top 3 contracts among NFL guards in terms of average salaries are:
Logan Mankins, Bucs: $8.5 million annually
Mike Iupati, Cardinals: $8 million annually
Marshal Yanda, Ravens: $7.98 million annually
Most teams don't allocate two top-4 deals to one position, but if the Ravens play Osemele at left tackle and subsequently part ways with Eugene Monroe, then a deal like that is more justifiable.
If Osemele were to break Mankins' contract and, for example, get $9 million a year, that would rank among the top 11 of NFL tackles, per Spotrac.
Flacco Deal To Come Wednesday At Earliest
After meeting again Sunday, it appears the Ravens and agent Joe Linta continue to get closer to an agreement on a restructured deal for quarterback Joe Flacco. Another meeting was reportedly held Monday night.
Both sides have confidence a deal will be made this week, according to Zrebiec. At the earliest, it could come Wednesday, per CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora.
Steve Smith Returns To Castle For Rehab
Ravens veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. is back in Baltimore (he made an appearance for Under Armour at the Champs Sports store at the mall in Columbia Monday night) and he used the day to get some work in on his torn Achilles at the Ravens practice facility.
While at the event at the mall, Smith moved around seamlessly, according to Zrebiec. The 36-year-old receiver didn’t give a timetable for a return, but seemed very interested in missing training camp.
"As a veteran, I want to do as [little] as possible," Smith said with a wide smile. "I've never met a veteran that says, 'Hmm, training camp, let me do all the work I possibly can.' In my little world, I would love to be 100 percent and absolutely do nothing in training camp. That would be perfect. I'm not sure how that will flow with [Head Coach John Harbaugh]."
Credit Smith for being honest, as always.
He did confirm that he thinks he'll be "fine" for the season opener in September. But his main goal is to simply avoid any setbacks.
"For me really right now, I'm just taking it slow," Smith told Zrebiec. "I'm not going to try to do too much. [I'll] attempt to have some patience. But other than that, just trying to get my body to get back. I've been walking and trying to walk without a gimp. I'm not running or any of that stuff yet."
Prayers Up For Torrey Smith And Baby No. 2
Why are Ravens praying for former teammate Torrey Smith?
The supportive tweets came after Smith wrote a tear-inducing blog about the health of his unborn second son. Smith and his wife, Chanel, received news from doctors that their baby had a 1-10 chance of having Trisomy 18.
"Suddenly we were able to talk about what we would do with this situation knowing that her life, as well as the baby's, could be at risk," Smith wrote. "It was easily the hardest conversation I've ever been a part of. What do you do? Do you go forward knowing the outcome will be a miscarriage or death shortly after birth all while putting your life in danger? Or do you terminate the pregnancy? Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about abortions. I think that it should only happen in extreme situations...not because a couple was negligent in practicing safe sex."
Thankfully, the Smiths did not have to make that agonizing decision. A subsequent test revealed their baby does not have Trisomy 18, which they are most grateful for. There is still a chance that he could have disabilities, which the Smiths are completely ready for.
"Truth be told, we have no clue what's going on with our child. It could be absolutely nothing," Smith explained. "I do know that we are ready for whatever may come and my wife is leading the way. The prayer warriors have been working for us and we appreciate it. God wouldn't put us in a situation that we couldn't handle. We have been drawing strength from him and those around us. Now we are praying that our little fighter continues to grow and we can meet him. I'm praying for life, not for his health. A disability doesn't make you unhealthy; it just means you may have different challenges. We all have challenges, and we are ready for ours that will soon come. Prayers Up for Kameron!"
PFF: William Jackson III May Be Best CB In Draft
The defensive backs finished up their workouts at the combine yesterday.
As expected, Florida State's Ramsey performed very well. Perhaps too well if the Ravens were hoping he'd drop to No. 6.
"Jalen Ramsey's impressive performance Monday at the combine may leave the Ravens wanting him even more," wrote CSNMidatlantic.com's Clifton Brown. "Unfortunately for the Ravens, Ramsey may be gone before the No. 6 pick.
Brown thinks a good defensive back option for the Ravens in the second round is Williams Jackson III, if he lasts that long. At Houston, Jackson was a playmaker with 28 passes defensed and five pick-sixes.
"If Jackson did not have the Ravens' attention before the combine, he should have it now," wrote Brown.
Jackson ran a 4.37 in the 40 Monday, and has a build similar to that of Jimmy Smith. Having the two as bookend corners in the Ravens defense would be a boon in a division that boasts the likes of A. J. Green and Antonio Brown.
The folks at Pro Football Focus think Jackson could be considered the best at the position in this year's class.
"William Jackson may be the best cornerback available in the 2016 NFL draft. With FSU star Jalen Ramsey more of a moveable chess piece on defense than he is a true cornerback," wrote PFF's Sam Monson.
"At 6-1 and around 190 pounds, Jackson fits the size and shape profile that NFL teams covet, in a draft where more than one of the other top prospects — Mackenzie Alexander (Clemson) and Vernon Hargreaves (Florida) — do not. Jackson was PFF's second-highest graded cornerback in coverage this season, and second only to Ramsey in overall grade when play against the run is thrown into the equation."
Below are Jackson and Ramsey's combine workouts.