Are the Ravens Stuck at No. 22?
Heading into draft week, the consensus remains that the Ravens will target a trade back in the first round.
That might be easier said than done.
"Count me among those believing Eric DeCosta would prefer trading back from 22nd overall to accumulate more picks, but you ultimately need to have a willing partner," WNST's Luke Jones wrote. "If the draft's value is truly on the second day and early in the third, other teams are aware of that as well."
RavensWire's Matthew Stevens believes the Ravens may not have a choice and could be stuck at pick No. 22 on Thursday night.
"Usually, each position has at least one major player of note in a given draft," Stevens wrote. "In this draft, however, a number of positions not only lack a must-have player, but a lot of the second-tier talent is also bunched up and expected to go on Day 2.
"Though first-round picks have a fifth-year option, the real possibility of only one or two quarterbacks having first-round grades could cause a mad dash to trade back. That could present a big problem for Baltimore in their quest to move out of the No. 22 selection."
Last year, the Ravens traded back twice in the first round to select Hayden Hurst. General Manager Eric DeCosta said the phone rang too much during that time, but every draft is different.
"Many of the other teams selecting in the second half of the first round will likely be looking to trade back too," Stevens wrote. "The rules of supply and demand dictate that an increased number of teams trying to trade back will ultimately lower the value of first-round selections and make it harder to pull off a trade."
Stevens noted that the ideal situation for the Ravens would be to trade entirely out of the first round and acquire two second-round picks.
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec believes there's a scenario where the Ravens could recoup a second-round pick while staying in the first round, but DeCosta and Co. would have to "sweeten the pot."
"According to the trade chart, this would be a potential way for the Ravens to stay in the first round while also getting a second rounder in return: Trade their first-round pick (22nd overall) and their second third-round pick (102) for the Patriots' first-round pick (32nd overall) and their second second-round selection (64th)," Zrebiec wrote. "That comes out close to even in value, at least if you trust the trade chart, which not everybody does."
History tells us teams trading back in the first round from 21-23 typically end up with mid-round picks as additional compensation.
Speaking of trades, ESPN's NFL Nation reporters listed the most meaningful draft day trades for every team.
The Ravens ended up with running back Jamal Lewis after trading their second-round pick in 1999 for the Falcons' first-round pick in 2000. Lewis was a major part in Baltimore's Super Bowl XXXV offense as a rookie and ultimately became the franchise's all-time leading rusher.
Analyst Criticized for Picking D.K. Metcalf Over Garrett Bradbury
NFL Network's "Mock Draft Live" crew held a live mock draft this weekend and Matt "Money" Smith took Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf for the Ravens at 22. It didn't go over well.
Smith prefaced it by saying it's a "prime spot" to trade back and they'll probably try to do so. But if they stay …
"This is where I disagree with [Giants General Manager] Dave Gettleman that need does not come into play, it does," said Smith. "... So even though, I look at my board and I see Garrett Bradbury sitting there way ahead of anybody else, it makes too much sense. But, I can't win games by running 40 times."
NFL Network's Bucky Brooks questioned Smith about why the Ravens can't run, run, run and win. But Smith stuck with his pick.
"I've got a guy who threw 57 touchdowns passes in his last two college seasons," Smith added. "I need a big target, I need a blazer, I need to open it up. Let's get D.K. Metcalf running down the field."
Charles Davis clearly didn't like the pick, saying, "You're getting Breshad Perriman – again."
"I'm tired of people telling me what D.K. Metcalf can't do!' Smith fired back.
Metcalf has been a popular pick mocked to the Ravens given the need for a big, physical wide receiver, but his stock has fluctuated throughout the pre-draft process.
In March, it seemed as if Metcalf had outrun the Ravens' range with an eye-popping performance at the NFL Combine, but over one month later, analysts have Metcalf falling late in the first round or out of the first 32 picks entirely.
Replacing C.J. Mosley Could Come in a Group Effort
How will the Ravens replace the void at inside linebacker following C.J. Mosley's departure?
It remains one of the burning offseason questions.
PennLive's Aaron Kasinitz doesn't believe there will be a one-for-one replacement, but rather a group effort.
"[I]f [Patrick] Onwuasor — or anyone else — plays on special teams, it's unlikely they'll play 100 percent of the defense's snaps in most games the way Mosley did," Kasinitz wrote. "And there's evidence that the Ravens would be comfortable rotating [Kenny] Young, [Chris] Board and others to have a by-committee style inside linebacking corps for the 2019 season."
When C.J. Mosley was injured with a knee bone bruise last season, Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale used a rotation of Onwuasor, Young, Albert McClellan, and defensive back Anthony Levine in the Ravens' Week 3 win over the Broncos.
Onwuasor stepped up to become the go-to option alongside Mosley for the better part of the season. Young, a fifth-round pick, flashed early during his rookie campaign. Board was a significant contributor on special teams, an area where players like McClellan and Levine earned their keep.
Onwuasor signed his second-round free-agent tender to remain a pivotal contributor to the linebacker core, but the unknown of the group could force the Ravens to rely more on the committee-style approach than individual players alone.
"Even if he develops as a leader and player, Onwuasor might not be suited to stay on the field for an entire game," Kasinitz wrote. "He played more than 50 percent of the defense's snaps just twice last season and his speed allowed him to make plays in a more limited role. He's not a typically every-down linebacker."
Onwuasor follows in the footsteps of Zach Orr and the undrafted gems the Ravens have found and developed at linebacker. "Peanut" has stayed healthy throughout his early career and left little doubt he could start a full 16-game season.
Kasinitz noted that the rotation might not be limited to the current roster either. A player like Michigan's Devin Bush could come in and contribute immediately.
- The Ravens have never had the No. 1-overall pick, but if they did, NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlien thinks Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen would end up in Baltimore.