Watch Tennessee As Potential Trade Partner For Ravens
It's finally here: the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Ravens will have a shot at one of the top four players on their draft board, which is a huge motivation to stand pat and pick a potential blue-chip player. But never underestimate Baltimore's love of extra picks, and the Tennessee Titans have the ammo that could be enticing enough to move back.
More than one top analyst has mentioned this as a possibility.
"It's no secret the Titans would love to come up for a top tackle," wrote TheMMQB.com's Peter King. "The Ravens could be a pivot point for this draft."
"There's a chance [the Titans] could trade up to Nos. 6 or 7 [Ravens or San Francisco 49ers], and potentially still get the player they were targeting with the No. 1 overall pick before they traded that selection to the Rams," wrote NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah.
And in his final mock draft before tonight's first round begins at 8 p.m., draft guru Mike Mayock has actually projected a Ravens-Titans trade.
"I think what Baltimore does a great job with is they've always been flexible and versatile in the draft," Mayock told my colleague Garrett Downing last night. "And that starts with preparation. Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta are fantastic."
Two questions naturally ensue: What would the Ravens get from the Titans in a trade? And who would the Ravens target if they moved back?
Based on the draft trade chart, the Titans would at least have to part ways with their top second-round pick (No. 33) to move up nine spots. They currently have three second-rounders, thanks to their trade out of the No. 1 spot.
If the Ravens took that deal, they would have pick Nos. 15, 33 and 36. They already view their 36th pick as a first-rounder since they frequently pick toward the high-20/low-30 range anyway. In their eyes, this would be like having three first-round picks.
"So, would Baltimore be willing to go from 6 to 15 and pick up an extra second, which Ozzie and Eric love? I think that's a possibility," Mayock said.
At 15, the Ravens would likely no longer have a shot at one of the elite players in the draft, including Tunsil, Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Jalen Ramsey (a low chance anyway at No. 6), Ezekiel Elliott, Ronnie Stanley or Vernon Hargreaves.
Mayock has Baltimore taking TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson with the 15th-overall pick. It's not necessarily as big a need as cornerback, pass rusher or inside linebacker, but Doctson is a stud. He notched 79 catches for 1,327 yards last season and a whopping 14 touchdowns. He's enticing enough that the Bengals are reportedly trying to trade up to get him.
"Pair Doctson with [2015 first-round pick Breshad] Perriman and [Joe] Flacco, and suddenly the Ravens have a different dimension on offense," Mayock wrote.
Other potential options at No. 15 include pass rushers Shaq Lawson and Leonard Floyd if they make it that far. They were both reported yesterday as first-round targets for the Ravens. With persisting reports on Myles Jack's knee (see below), he could still be available too.
For the record, not everyone likes the idea of trading back. Jeremiah is against it, saying sometimes teams get "lucky" and have the best player in the draft fall to them. That's exactly what could happen if Tunsil – Jeremiah's top-rated player – falls to No. 6. King agrees.
"I think if Tunsil or even Bosa is here, the Ravens will not trade but rather stay and pick one of the two," wrote King. "Bosa would give Baltimore a day-one starter at a major need position."
Whatever happens, expect the unexpected in tonight's draft. Anything could happen.
Ravens Have Best Chance In 10 Years To Draft Pro Bowler
Here's another reason not to trade out of the top 10 …
If the Ravens stick with the sixth-overall pick, they have a 71.4 percent chance of drafting a future Pro Bowler, based on ESPN's number crunching.
Baltimore has had a top-10 selection just seven times since the franchise's inception in 1996, and five of those players went on to become Pro Bowlers. That's not too shabby, Ozzie.
Actually, it's the best success rate during that span of any team selecting in the top 10 this year, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Jacksonville Jaguars, for example, who pick at No. 5, have only drafted one Pro Bowler with their 13 top-10 selections.
1996: OT Jonathan Ogden, No. 4 (11-time Pro Bowler, HOF)
1997: OLB Peter Boulware, No. 4 (4-time Pro Bowler)
1998: CB Duane Starks, No. 10
1999: CB Chris McAlister, No. 10 (3-time Pro Bowler)
2000: RB Jamal Lewis, No. 5 (1 Pro Bowl)
2000: WR Travis Taylor, No. 10
2003: OLB Terrell Suggs, No. 10 (6-time Pro Bowler)
Players Most-Often Mocked To Ravens
Jamison Hensley did a study on 30 of the latest mock drafts to discover the number of times a player has been projected to the Ravens.
The results essentially conclude that there is no consensus on what the heck the Ravens will do.
- OT Laremy Tunsil: 12 (40 percent)
- OT Ronnie Stanley : 6 (20 percent)
- LB Myles Jack: 4 (13.3 percent)
- DE DeForest Buckner: 3 (10 percent)
- LB Joey Bosa: 3 (10 percent)
- DB Jalen Ramsey: 2 (6.7 percent)
Myles Jack Off Giants Board, Doesn't Exude Confidence In Own Knee
Even Myles Jack isn't sure how long his knee will hold up in the NFL. He admitted on the eve of the draft that he may need microfracture surgery down the line and insinuated that a three-year career wouldn't be all that bad.
Concerns about his knee from NFL teams continue to persist. The New York Giants have taken Jack off their board at No. 10 because they don't feel they can take a risk that high in the draft, according to NJ.com.
"If everything I've heard about his knee is true, I don't think there's a team in the top 10 who can take Jack," said Mayock.
Noah Spence Sends Last 20 Drug Tests To NFL Teams
While Jack didn't help his cause with his comments, another draft prospect who has given teams pause – although for a very different reason – is doing all he can to convince teams that they can trust and invest in him.
Outside linebacker Noah Spence was banned from the Big 10 after multiple failed drug tests, but to prove to NFL teams that those days are behind him, he sent all NFL teams the last 20 drug tests that he's taken since May.
Don't Forget Importance Of Ravens' Fourth-Round Picks
Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said earlier this month that when we look back on the 2016 draft, it will be the fourth round that will make or break the class. The Ravens have four picks in the round.
"We've got to nail them," he said. "We've got to get some starters with those fourth-round picks."
It won't be easy.
Former NFL executive Charley Casserly did a 10-year study on round-by-round results, and he put a percentage on how often teams can find a starter in each.
First round: 75 percent started within four years of being drafted
Second round: 50 percent
Third round: 30 percent
Fourth round: 25 percent
Seventh round: 9 percent
"To find four starters with four fourth-round picks will indeed be a challenge, even for the Ravens," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "With Casserly's math, their odds are about 0.4 percent."