Todd McShay Releases Exciting Three-Round Mock Draft For Ravens
Instead of releasing his usual draft predictions, ESPN's Todd McShay took a different route with his latest three-round mock draft by putting on his GM hat and saying who he would pick for each team.
It's hard to hate what McShay would do if he took control of the Ravens' draft board because he addressed four significant holes on the roster.
He selected arguably the best wide receiver of the class, an underrated cornerback and then used Baltimore's two third-rounders to address pass rusher and tackle.
"These picks would generate plenty of excitement if they played out this way," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "All four would have a chance to make an immediate impact and compete for starting jobs right away."
Round 1 (16): Mike Williams, WR, ClemsonIf this pick became a reality, there would be smiles across Baltimore because many analysts don't think there's even a chance Williams will fall to the Ravens. He's a big (6-foot-4, 218 pounds), physical receiver with a huge catch radius and superb ball skills – the type of target quarterback Joe Flacco has never had and that would complement the speed Baltimore already has in Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.
So how did Williams fall to the 16th-overall pick? Well, another top receiver prospect, Western Michigan's Corey Davis, was taken off the board at No. 7 by the L.A. Chargers. And other wide receiver-needy teams addressed different positions instead. For example, the Arizona Cardinals selected tight end David Njoku, the Buffalo Bills drafted linebacker Reuben Foster and the Cincinnati Bengals chose outside linebacker Derek Barnett.
Round 2 (47): Chidobe Awuzie, CB, ColoradoAssistant GM Eric DeCosta agrees with what analysts have been saying all along about the 2016 draft class: it's extremely deep at cornerback. As such, Awuzie (6-foot-0, 202 pounds) has gotten lost in the mix of so many bigger names. He can play both inside and outside (although he's projected to play nickel) and would be the second Colorado cornerback in Baltimore to pair with Jimmy Smith.
Many of the other top corners were already off the board by the time McShay was on the clock for the Ravens in the second round, but he did pass on Florida's Teez Tabor (No. 56), UCLA's Fabian Moreau (No. 62), who tore his pectoral at his pro day, Iowa's Desmond King (No. 66) and Washington's Sidney Jones (No. 84), who tore his Achilles at his pro day.
Round 3 (74): Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama
McShay gives a hat tip to General Manager Ozzie Newsome, an Alabama alum, by drafting the Crimson Tide pass rusher. The Ravens are looking for pass-rush help after releasing Elvis Dumervil and with Terrell Suggs turning 35 this year.
"Anderson's teammates and coaches rave about his leadership and he plays with excellent discipline," wrote McShay. "Anderson is a limited athlete, though, and at 6-2 and 253 pounds with shorter arms, he's a bit of a tweeter."
Round 3 (78): Will Holden, OT, VanderbiltMcShay said he thought about having the Ravens select this year's top offensive tackle, Alabama's Cam Robinson, in the first round, but opted for Williams instead. So, he got a* *three-year starter in Holden (6-foot-7, 311 pounds) to help address the right tackle position left vacant by Rick Wagner after he signed with the Detroit Lions. Holden played at both left and right tackle in college and held up well against opponents from the nation's top conference, the SEC.
"He performed well against Tennessee and Florida, two teams with the most talented fronts Holden went up against in 2016," wrote Scouts Inc.'s Kevin Weidl. "Holden can continue to develop his core strength. He has good feet and plays with quality balance and is worth taking a shot on in the mid-rounds."
Mike Mayock's Latest Position Rankings
We're exactly two weeks away from the draft, and NFL Network's Mike Mayock has fine-tuned his position rankings list after watching game tape, talking to team executives around the league and attending the NFL Scouting Combine and numerous pro days.
Let's take a look at the rankings for some of the Ravens' biggest remaining needs:
Wide receiver1. Mike Williams, Clemson
2. John Ross, Washington
3. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
4. Zay Jones, East Carolina
T-5. JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
T-5. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
Rise: Williams (2), Ross (3); Fall: Davis (1)
Offensive tackle1. Cam Robinson, Alabama
2. Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
3. Garett Bolles, Utah
4. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
5. Antonio Garcia, Troy
Rise: Robinson (previously No. 2 interior OL), Moton (T-5); Fall: Ramczyk (1), Bolles (2), Garcia (3), Roderick Johnson, Florida State (4), Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M (T-5)
Edge rusher1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
2. Solomon Thomas, Stanford
3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee
4. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
5. Charles Harris, Missouri
Rise: Harris (NR); Fall: Tim Williams, Alabama (5)
Cornerback1. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
2. Gareon Conley, Ohio State
3. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
4. Tre'Davious White, LSU
T-5. Adoree' Jackson, USC
T-5. Kevin King, Washington
Rise: Conley (4), White (NR), Jackson (previously No. 1 in special exceptions); Fall: Humphrey (2), King (3), Fabian Moreau, UCLA (5, added to special exceptions)
Nickel1. Budda Baker, Washington
2. Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
3. Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
4. Desmond King, Iowa
5. Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
Shareece Wright Visits Buffalo Bills
Former Ravens cornerback Shareece Wright went on his first announced free-agent visit after being released by Baltimore last month.
Wright is looking for a fresh start after a rough 2016 outing with the Ravens, in which he struggled with injuries and lost his starting outside role to rookie Tavon Young. Wright started 16-of-23 games for the Ravens over the last two years after the team signed him mid-season in 2015 and then agreed to a three-year deal with him last offseason.
Wright allowed six touchdowns in 12 games last season. Pro Football Focus ranked him 76 out of 112 graded cornerbacks.
Let's Get Creative With Lardarius Webb
Given defensive back Lardarius Webb's experience as a nine-year veteran, WNST's Luke Jones would like to see Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees get creative in using Webb in more than just a backup role.
Providing depth was one of the major reasons he was re-signed as Tony Jefferson will take over his starting safety role, but Jones still envisions a chance for more playing time for Webb.
"Baltimore is in need of a three-down linebacker to fill the void left by the retired Zach Orr. Perhaps 2016 second-round pick Kamalei Correa will be ready to assume that job, but it's easier to find a capable two-down inside linebacker than it is to find the kind of talent who can consistently hold up in pass coverage," Jones wrote. "That's where the arrival of Jefferson and the return of Webb could come into play.
"Jefferson would appear to be a good fit to serve in a hybrid linebacker-safety role next to C.J. Mosley in many passing situations. It's obvious that the Ravens have made it a priority to improve their pass defense this offseason, but Jefferson also tackles like a linebacker, which would diminish the chances of the run defense being too vulnerable in a dime look. … Such an alignment would not only better showcase the 25-year-old safety's skills, but it would put less pressure on Orr's replacement in 2017. The dime would make Webb's re-signing more impactful than simply improving conventional depth in the secondary."