What It Could Take to Move Up For a First-Round Receiver
This year's wide receiver draft class could be historically deep. ESPN's Mel Kiper said he thinks at least 25 receivers could be taken in the first three rounds.
Receiver remains one of the top needs heading into the draft, and the Ravens should have their choice from a talented pool of players with five picks in the first three rounds. But the draft's top three receivers, Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb are expected to be gone early.
If the Ravens want one of them, they'll likely need to trade up. So, what would that look like?
CBS Sports’ R.J. White played out that scenario in his most recent mock draft. White had the Ravens trading with the San Francisco 49ers up to No. 13 to select Jeudy.
"The Ravens now have seven picks in the top 140, which gives them the ammo to make a bold move in the first round," White wrote. "Here, they ship No. 28, 55 and 106 to get all the way up to 13 and take arguably the top receiver in the draft, someone who fits as a perfect complement to Marquise Brown in the passing game."
Jeudy was one of the most productive receivers in college football the last two seasons and is considered the best route runner in this class. He caught 77 passes for 1,163 yards, and 10 touchdowns in his junior season with the Crimson Tide.
"Jeudy is high-cut and a little leggy in his press release and short-area movements, but fluid hips and above-average agility prevent any stagnation," NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote.
White's projection is pretty consistent with Drafttek.com’s trade value chart. They value No. 13 at 1150. The package of No. 28, 55, and 106 equals out to 1092 on the chart.
However, if we look at recent drafts as an example, the projections vary.
Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers moved up to No. 10 from No. 20 to select Devin Bush. They traded No. 20, 52, and a 2020 third-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The most comparable scenario would be when the New Orleans Saints moved up to select Marcus Davenport in 2018. They traded No. 27, a fifth-round pick, and a 2019 first-round pick to move up to 14.
That's quite the haul to move up 13 spots. Every scenario is different based on position and need, but the Ravens typically value draft picks more than most teams, which is why The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec is hesitant to commit to the idea of moving up.
"I wouldn't describe that as likely, especially with the Ravens' history of hoarding picks and trading back far more than forward," Zrebiec wrote. "Ultimately, it will depend on who is still available in the five-to-seven picks before the Ravens are on the clock, because moving up further than that would require giving up several premium picks and that's just not the organization's way.
"It seems that the belief is that the Ravens are stockpiling these Day 2 and early Day 3 draft picks, so they have the ammunition to make a huge move up the draft board from the 28th overall pick. That can't be ruled out as [Eric] DeCosta is not bashful. But with very little cap space, the Ravens will need those picks to fill holes. They could make a few other moves in the days ahead, but as things stand, they need one or two receivers, one or two offensive linemen and perhaps another tight end. Defensively, they could use another edge rusher, an inside linebacker and one or two defensive backs for depth purposes. They need an explosive return man on special teams. I see the nine picks as a necessity more than a luxury."
In his first season as General Manager, DeCosta traded back in the first round from No. 22 to 25 to select Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. He also traded up in the third round to select Miles Boykin.
With a surplus of picks, you can't count anything out heading into April.
"I love to move around the board, as you guys know, and we've done that as much as probably any team in the league over the last 24 years, and we'll continue to do that," DeCosta said on 'The Lounge Podcast'. "I'm open for business at all times."
Ravens Top Three in Post-Free Agency Power Rankings
We're just over one week into free agency, and everything seems like a blur. It's still early, but the Ravens have received plenty of positive reviews for the moves they made.
NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus released his first batch of post-free agency power rankings and had Baltimore No. 3 behind the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.
"The Ravens keep getting better," Hanzus wrote. The acquisition of Calais Campbell (at the piddly cost of a fifth-round pick!) could be a huge lift. Michael Brockers, a great interior presence, is another solid reported] addition to the defensive front. We're still waiting to see what happens with standout edge rusher [Matt Judon, who received the franchise tag but could still be traded. On the draft front, DeCosta was able to add another second-round pick to his arsenal by dealing away tight end Hayden Hurst to the Falcons. Hurst, 26, has Pro Bowl potential, but the Ravens were smart to trade from a position of depth."
"[The] retirement of future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda leaves a hole, but have no fear, Lamar Jackson is here," Serby wrote.
After re-signing Jimmy Smith, Anthony Levine, and Chris Moore, the Ravens might be done in free agency aside from some small moves. They prioritized bringing back their own, which might not make the top headlines.
But remember when pundits repeatedly claimed that the Cleveland Browns "won the offseason" last year? A quick reminder from Pro Football Focus’ Timo Riske that it doesn't mean everything.
"Since 2006, players (excluding quarterbacks) who added value to their teams in a given season (i.e., they generated positive WAR) generated a total of 99 WAR less after they changed teams in free agency," Riske wrote. "... Our findings emphasize the value of building through the draft, as this is the only chance to observe a player in the environment of his own team. Consequently, realizing a player is good with the original team is more valuable than realizing a player is good with another team. This is related to a study from our own Kevin Cole, who found that extensions of a team's own players produce more wins per salary dollars than unrestricted free agent signings."
Denzel Mims Plays Like a Raven
Speaking of receiver prospects, Baylor's Denzel Mims is a player who has shot up draft boards in recent months. The 6-foot-3 wideout posted a standout performance at the combine with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and a 6.66-second three cone drill.
Pundits like Mel Kiper have given Mims a late first-round projection, right in the range where the Ravens could be. The fit makes sense given the need, and Mims said on Glenn Clark Radio he could see himself playing in Baltimore.
"One thing I try to do is early on I try to bring him to the ground in the blocking game to show him that I'm here and I'm here to play" Mims said. "… Every game I feel like I've got to leave with at least two pancakes...[The Ravens are] somewhere I could see myself playing for one day."
If that doesn't fit the mold of the type of receiver the Ravens are looking for, then I'm not sure what does.
Blocking at the position is key for an offense that averaged over 200 rushing yards per game last season. As the sport becomes more predicated on the pass, Mims' mentality at receiver seems like a rarity.
Ebony Bird’s Richard Bradshaw said back in February that Mims is the perfect fit for the Ravens.
"Based on everything we've touched on, how can you disagree?" Bradshaw wrote. "[Mims] has everything that Baltimore covets at the position. Mims has a big frame, great speed, and he loves to run block. What more could you ask for in a Ravens wide receiver?"
Re-Signing Chris Moore Shows Ravens' Commitment to Special Teams
Moore is back with the Ravens next season after he signed a one-year deal, and it's a move that shows the team's commitment to special teams.
"Moore, who played in 54 percent of special teams snaps last season, is the second re-signing in a week where the Ravens are turning their attention to special teams," NBC Sports’ Andrew Gillis wrote.
That's where Moore's biggest contributions were last season. He'll also add experienced depth to the receiver corps.
The Ravens now have their top five special teams snap leaders from last season under contract.
Along with De'Anthony Thomas, Moore could factor into the return game as well.
"T]he former fourth-round pick is a valued contributor on special teams, where he ranked third in snaps in 2018 and fourth last year,” [The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer wrote. "He could also be in the mix at kickoff returner, a role he previously held."
- The Bengals have reportedly signed Josh Bynes to a one-year deal.