Late For Work 3/21: The Perfect Pair? Two Ideal Draft Picks For Ravens

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The Perfect Pair? Two Ideal Draft Picks For Ravens
If you could select two players in the 2017 NFL Draft that would be perfect for the Ravens, who would you choose?

Don't hold back. We're talking ideal scenario here.

NFL.com draft analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks went through this exercise on their "Move the Sticks" podcast in the video below. And the mere thought of coming out of the draft with the analysts' talented picks for the Ravens gets the blood pumping.

Round 1 (No. 16 overall): WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan6-foot-3, 209 pounds*2016 stats: 97 receptions, 1,500 yards, 16 touchdowns
*"Davis is one of the more polished route runners in this draft, even though he comes from a place where they say, 'Oh, it's a small-school standout. He did it against MAC competition. Can he sustain it?' When you look at the tape, you really like what he brings to the table. [He's] an outstanding route runner, [has] strong hands and a knack for making acrobatic catches. To me, he's a natural No. 1 receiver." -- Brooks

Round 2 (No. 48 overall): CB Fabian Moreau, UCLA6-foot-0, 206 pounds2016 stats: 31 tackles, 2 interceptions, 8 pass deflections"The height, weight, speed is there. He had some durability issues earlier on, but played great this year. Moreau is always in the right position, always in phase and can find and locate the football. He's tough and physical. I think he's a first-round pick in any other draft. This year, maybe he slides down [to Round 2] because of the depth [at the position]. Man, at No. 48, you talk about a homerun. That would be phenomenal." – Jeremiah

In this scenario, it would still leave other spots the Ravens would need to fill, including along the offensive line, pass rusher and inside linebacker. But after the first two rounds, Baltimore gets a No. 1 receiver AND follows it up with a first-round caliber corner at No. 48?!

Yes, please.

The Ravens don't have a clear-cut top receiver, but they do have Mike Wallace and 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman to lead the way. No other receiver currently on the roster had more than seven catches last season. Davis would be a huge addition.

And while General Manager Ozzie Newsome has beefed up the secondary, including with durable 10-year cornerback Brandon Carr, Head Coach John Harbaugh reiterated Tuesday that they're not done bolstering the unit. A big, physical corner like Moreau could be another piece to the puzzle.

That being said, these are "ideal" scenarios and other teams' picks will affect availability.

For example, Brooks released his mock draft 3.0 Monday, which has the Arizona Cardinals plucking Davis with the 13th-overall pick. So, he has the Ravens taking another electric receiver in Washington's John Ross, who set a record for the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, three picks later.

Ravens Investing Money To Be NFL's Best Defense

"Finish" was the word of the day for Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees during Monday's introductory press conference of Carr.

Pees' defense ranked at the top of the league for several weeks, but ended as the seventh-ranked unit by the end of the season. The Ravens are making moves to ensure that doesn't happen again.

"[T]he Ravens aren't simply saying they want to be the best. They're taking big-money steps to get there," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "Baltimore [has] spent $58.8 million in guaranteed money."

That money went toward retaining highly-coveted defensive tackle Brandon Williams, adding one of the best safeties on the market in Tony Jefferson and bringing in the dependable Carr. Only two teams have spent more guaranteed money on defense than the Ravens, per ESPN.

Here are the top five:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars (6 defensive players): $78.5MM
  1. New England Patriots (3): $63.9MM
  1. Baltimore Ravens (4): $58.8MM
  1. Tennessee Titans (6): $38.8MM
  1. Washington Redskins (5): $28.8MM

"Defense has long been the calling card for the Ravens," wrote Hensley. "Baltimore's defense has finished in the top 10 in 15 of the past 18 seasons. … The best barometer of the Ravens' success last season was their defense, which explains why 91 percent of the guaranteed money they have spent has been on that side of the ball."

Hensley pointed out that Baltimore owned a 7-5 record when the defense was holding teams to a league-best 296.1 yards per game. It went on to lose three of its last four games of the season by allowing 400.3 yards per game, which was the fifth-most yards during that span.

The Ravens' playoff hopes ended when the defense couldn't defend a lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16. Baltimore was up by three points with just over a minute remaining, only to allow a 10-play, 75-yard game-winning drive.

This year, the goal is to finish what the defense started in 2016.

"We were so doggone close on defense last year to being the top defense in the league and we just didn't finish. And we need to finish," Pees said yesterday. "And I think we're adding the parts to finish the job."

Ravens Who Rank As Highest-Paid Players At Their Positions

While Baltimore isn't done adding free agents to the roster, there likely won't be any more mega deals given out like we saw in the first couple of days in the new league year.

The same can be said for all 32 teams.

As such, ESPN's Kevin Seifert stacked up the highest-paid players at each position based on their average salary per year (APY), while also including guaranteed money. Seifert looked at the top 10 for some positions and the top 5 for others, and three Ravens cracked the lists.

Before we look who made the list, an interesting note to make is that Williams did not make the top-5 paid defensive tackles.

At the time of his contract signing, Williams was touted as the highest-paid defensive tackle. But based on Seifert's APY ($10.5 million for Williams) and guaranteed money ($27.5 million) criteria, Williams ranks below the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Gerald McCoy, who ranks No. 5 with a $13.6 million APY and $51.5M in guaranteed money.

Quarterbacks

1. Andrew Luck, Colts ($24.594M APY, $87M guaranteed)

2. Drew Brees, Saints ($24.250M APY, $44M guaranteed)

3. Kirk Cousins, Redskins ($23.944M APY/guaranteed)

4. Joe Flacco, Ravens ($22.133M APY, $62M guaranteed)

5. Aaron Rodgers, Packers ($22M APY, $54M guaranteed)

Seifert: "Someone missing? Yup. Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady's perennially team-friendly contract ranks No. 22 on this list. His current deal with the Patriots, which expires in 2019, included $30 million in guarantees and averages $15 million per year in this reckoning."

Safeties

1. Eric Berry, Chiefs ($13M APY, $40M guaranteed)

2. Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals ($12.5M APY, $35M guaranteed)

3. Reshad Jones, Dolphins ($12M APY, $33M guaranteed)

4. Harrison Smith, Vikings ($10.25M APY, $28.578M guaranteed)

5. Earl Thomas, Seahawks ($10M APY, $25.725M guaranteed)

6. Devin McCourty, Patriots ($9.5M APY, $28.5M guaranteed)

7. Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles ($8.75M APY, $21M guaranteed)

8. Tony Jefferson, Ravens ($8.5M APY, $19M guaranteed)

9. Tashaun Gipson, Jaguars ($7.2M APY, $12M guaranteed)

10. Kam Chancellor, Seahawks ($7M APY, $17M guaranteed)

Seifert: "Jefferson, the top safety to hit the market, got a deal that cracked the top 10 from the Ravens. But it didn't come close to what the Chiefs gave Berry, who spent last season under the franchise tag but vowed not to do it again." 

Specialists

1. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots ($4.187M APY, $10.1M guaranteed)

2. Justin Tucker, Ravens ($4.076M APY, $10.8M guaranteed)

3. Mason Crosby, Packers ($4.025M APY, $5M guaranteed)

4. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders ($3.775M APY, $8M guaranteed)

5. Dustin Colquitt, Chiefs ($3.75M APY, $4.95M guaranteed)

Seifert: "Kickers are paid better than punters in the NFL."

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