Ravens Grab Physical Receiver in First Round of The Athletic's Mock Draft
With such a deep wide receiver class in this year's draft and the Ravens having two picks each in the second, third and fourth rounds, selecting a wide receiver with the 28th-overall pick may not seem like the most obvious course of action.
Of course, it all depends on how the board falls. In Jeff Zrebiec's Ravens mock draft for The Athletic, he selected Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims in the first round, and it's hard to argue with the pick based on how the draft unfolded.
Linebackers Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen – both of whom have often been linked to the Ravens in mock drafts – were gone before Baltimore was on the clock in Zrebiec's mock, which was conducted with The Draft Network simulator. Mims, who caught 28 touchdown passes and averaged nearly 16 yards per reception the past three seasons, fell into the Ravens' lap and Zrebiec scooped him up.
"At 6-foot-3 and 206 pounds and with long arms and a wide catch radius, he's the big, physical and explosive receiver the Ravens need to complement speedster Marquise Brown on the outside," Zrebiec wrote. "Mims will need to improve his route running, but he makes contested catches in traffic, and he routinely muscles cornerbacks on 50/50 balls. He also has the physical and aggressive mentality to become a solid blocker, and we know that matters in the Ravens' run-oriented offense."
"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."
FantasyPros.com’s Bobby Sylvester also mocked Mims to the Ravens.
"Baltimore does not have many needs and truly has the luxury of taking the best player available," Sylvester wrote. "A linebacker like Patrick Queen would make sense or an edge rusher like (A.J.) Epenesa, but Lamar Jackson could sure use an X-receiver like Mims to line up opposite Hollywood Brown."
With the Ravens' first of their two second-round picks, Zrebiec selected Alabama edge rusher Terrell Lewis at No. 55 overall. Some mock drafts have Lewis, who had six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 10 games last season, going to the Ravens in the first round.
"The Ravens love Alabama players, and they also like explosive and athletic pass rushers off the edge," Zrebiec wrote. "Lewis is still raw, and injuries cost him the better part of two years at Alabama. However … he has the size (6-5, 262) and all the tools to become a quality edge rusher at the next level. Plus, he played the strong-side linebacker spot in Alabama's 3-4 defense, so it shouldn't be a huge adjustment for him."
Zrebiec mocked Louisiana-Lafayette guard Robert Hunt to the Ravens at No. 60.
"Hunt fits the Ravens perfectly. He's big (6-5, 323 pounds), athletic and nasty," Zrebiec wrote. "He loves to run block and he plays through the whistle. He played both tackle and guard as a four-year starter in college, but he figures to settle at guard in the NFL, and the Ravens have a clear need there following the retirement of Marshal Yanda and the release of James Hurst."
Michael Brockers Was Excited About Playing for the Ravens
In speaking about his agreement with the Ravens falling through, defensive tackle Michael Brockers said he had been excited about the opportunity to play alongside Calais Campbell and help the Ravens win a Super Bowl.
Brockers, who ended up re-signing with the Rams, saw firsthand just how good the Ravens were last season when they routed the Rams, 45-6, in Los Angeles.
"Knowing Baltimore from last year and just seeing everything they had and then they added Calais Campbell and I was like, 'Oh my god, there's no way. This is going to be crazy,'" Brockers told Chris Long on the Green Light podcast. "At that point, it was a done deal. But going through physicals, you know how that works. Being a little bit older in the league, they see a couple things."
Brockers, who has played all eight of his NFL seasons with the Rams, suffered a high-ankle sprain and was carted off the field during last year's season finale.
Because of travel restrictions, Brockers said he had an MRI and X-rays taken at home in Houston, which were sent to the Ravens. Brockers said a doctor the Ravens consulted suggested he might need surgery.
"For me personally, I was just ready for whatever journey was coming my way," Brockers said. "I definitely wanted to be at home, but if I had the chance to make some more money and possibly get back to a Super Bowl, at the same time, I was going to run with that. At that time, Baltimore seemed to be the best option."
Derek Wolfe: 'Everything Ravens Stand for Is What I'm About'
Once the agreement with Brockers was nixed, the Ravens wasted no time signing defensive end Derek Wolfe. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens, and the former Denver Bronco had long thought about walking through the doors of the Ravens' facility.
"All the way back to 2012, I thought the Ravens were going to draft me," Wolfe said on “The Lounge” podcast. "They were making a big push it seems. Everything the Ravens stand for is what I'm about. They play hard, tough defense. Especially now with the offense that they have, obviously that's a huge selling point for any free agent to want to come there. Everybody I've ever talked to that's played for that organization has told me how great it is and how much of a family environment it is. I'm really looking forward to it."
Wolfe, 30, said he considered requesting a trade to the Ravens last year, and once he became a free agent this offseason, he had his eye on Baltimore.
"If there was any team I wanted to be with, it was the Ravens," Wolfe said. "To me, it wasn't about the money. It was about the team. They gave me their best offer and I said, 'Yeah, let's do it. I'll come in there on a one-year deal, and I'll show you guys that I'm worth extending for a couple of more years.' I got a lot of football left in me."
Wolfe will conduct a video conference call with Baltimore reporters today at 3 p.m.
Can Tom Flacco Follow in His Brother's Footsteps?
Twelve years after the Ravens selected Joe Flacco in the first round, another Flacco – Joe's brother, Tom – is hoping to get drafted. Tom Flacco, who threw 50 touchdown passes at FCS-level Towson University over the past two seasons, is considered a borderline late-round pick, but he has no doubt he has what it takes to play in the NFL.
"People ask, 'Do you have a chip on your shoulder?' and I'm like, 'I don't know because it's just been there my whole life,'" Tom Flacco told ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. "It's not a chip on my shoulder, it's just how my shoulder is now."
Tom's shoulders aren't as broad as his brother's, and at 6-foot-1, he's five inches shorter. However, what he does have in abundance that Joe doesn't is mobility.
"Tom just knows he can't be the next Joe Flacco, a statuesque pocket-passer who can drive a ball downfield while a linebacker is drilling him," Hensley wrote. "Tom Flacco has directed a spread offense, he can run, too, rushing for 1,406 yards in his college career. Some compare him to Taysom Hill, the athletic backup quarterback/utility player for the New Orleans Saints."
If Tom joins Joe, who is currently a free agent, in the NFL, the Flaccos would be the 12th pair of quarterback brothers in league history.
"I know he can do it," Joe Flacco said. "I'm excited for him to get the chance and be able to prove to somebody, and then I've gotta stick around for a little longer so I can get the chance to play against him or maybe he can try to steal my job."