One Question For Five Potential Defensive Draft Picks
Not even elite draft prospects worthy of a top-six pick come to the NFL with a pristine reputation that leaves you perfectly content.
So while the Ravens are likely to come away with an absolute stud this Thursday night, no matter who they select, there are going to be questions about their 2016 first-round pick.
The Ravens could draft an offensive player, like tackle Laremy Tunsil, but the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec specifically offered at least one question for five Ravens defensive draft candidates.
DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State*: Does he have the ability to play in the Ravens' 3-4 scheme?
Over three college seasons, Bosa consistently beat double teams and hunted in the backfield, notching 26 sacks and 51 tackles for loss. He is praised for his work ethic and toughness, but would have to make a transition in Baltimore.
*"They would have to modify the 3-4 to make him a fit," former Ravens front office executive Phil Savage said, per Zrebiec. "It would be a little bit of a square peg in a round hole, but it could be done."
ILB Myles Jack, UCLA:Will his injured knee hold up*long term?
Athleticism. Speed. Coverage skills. A perfect fit next to C.J. Mosley. Jack is a star that could bring excitement to the Ravens defense, but he had surgery in September and a report called his knee a "time bomb." *
"There's some concern long term about his knee and it could require another surgery if something happens with the cartilage, but it's probable he's going to be fine for a while," said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. "If you're looking for a reason not to draft him, that becomes one."
DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon: Can he consistently dominate up front?
Bucker always had all the traits that scouts covet, including quickness, power, size and athleticism. But it took until last year for him to put all those traits together for an impressive season with 83 tackles, 17 for loss and 10.5 sacks. Was he a one-hit wonder?
"He's not a consistently dominant player — doesn't always play to the level of his talent, I didn't think," ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said. "But when you have the length, you have the huge hands, and you flash like he does, you're going to go in the top 10. I just didn't see him finish some plays. I thought he got away with some sacks in college that he won't get in the NFL. Buckner is a hard one for me to really go definitive and say he's going to be a really great player. I don't see that right now."
DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State:Which position will he play at the NFL level, and does he have the ball skills to succeed?
The freakishly athletic Ramsey has been so versatile that it created questions about whether he can excel as a pure cover corner at the professional level or simply become a really good safety. At either position, he'll have to prove he can create turnovers after notching just three interceptions in three college seasons.
"Jalen basically played three positions during his time at Florida State. He's played the slot. He's played the safety type of position, and then he played outside the numbers as a base corner. He has shown the ability to play good football at all three, but he hasn't been able to master any of them," said ESPN's Louis Riddick. "He's also showed deficiencies in them. I think there's a lot of uncertainty with what you're going to get from this player at the NFL level."
CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida: Can he be a No. 1 corner?
The Ravens aren't concerned about Hargreaves'* *undersized frame (5-foot-10, 204 pounds), but if you use a No. 6 pick on a corner, you better be sure he can become the leader of the unit. Will his explosiveness, technique, ball skills and instincts be enough to overcome his size?
"I don't think he's an elite corner," Kiper said. "I think he's a No.2 corner."
Why So Little Contact With DeForest Buckner?
Buckner recently listed for 247Sports a number of teams he's heard from "pretty regularly."
The Ravens were not one of them, but three of the teams picking in the top five were (Chargers, Cowboys and Jaguars).
For someone that has been projected to the Ravens as much as Buckner, is it weird that we haven't heard about more contact? What does that mean?
"It might mean nothing," wrote Zrebiec. "It's possible the Ravens asked Buckner and his agent to keep the team's interest to themselves. In the past, the Ravens have taken players they barely spoke to in the pre-draft process. It's their way of disguising their interest. Or it could mean the Ravens don't have a whole lot of interest in Buckner. I believe they do, but we'll know more Thursday night."
What Would It Cost For Ravens To Trade Back?
Many fans would like to see General Manager Ozzie Newsome hold onto his No. 6 pick and take an elite player that he usually doesn't have chance of drafting, but we should at least explore what it would take to convince him to move back.
One fan wondered, for example, what it would take for the Buffalo Bills (No. 19) to move up 13 spots. Well, we could go back to 2008 when the Ravens traded back 18 spots (from No. 8 to 26).
In addition to the first-round pick (No. 26), Newsome got three extra picks out of the deal: two second-rounders and a fourth-rounder.
"That has to be starting point in any talks for Baltimore to fall that far back again," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "A trade with the Bills would only mean sliding back 13 spots, which is less of a drop than in 2008. But, given the premium placed on moving up to get quarterbacks in this draft (see what the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns received), the Ravens will want a similar bounty of picks that they got eight years ago."
Quarterback Drama Makes One Appreciate Joe Flacco More
It's amazing what teams will do to get a winning quarterback.
The L.A. Rams and Philadelphia Eagles sold nearly the whole farm to simply get a chance at somebody who they could only dream will win as many playoff games as the Ravens' Joe Flacco.
While those teams had to make huge sacrifices, former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick applauded the moves as a person who knows what it's like to lead a team without a franchise quarterback.
The move seems like the correct one in Philly, but there has been fallout with the Eagles' current starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, who now wants to get out of town.
Meanwhile, the New England Patriots may be without starting quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the season after the U.S. Appeals court reinstated Brady's suspension from Commissioner Rodger Goodell stemming from "Deflategate."
- John Eisenberg, Garrett Downing, Ryan Mink and I have all predicted who we think the Ravens will draft Thursday night with their sixth pick. Who do you think it will be? You can enter our "Predict the Pick" contest and five grand prize winners will win a meet and greet with the Ravens' top pick and passes to a rookie camp practice at the Under Armour Performance Center. You have until Thursday at 8 p.m. to submit your prediction.