Nick Mangold Leaves Without Contract, But Interest Remains On Both Sides
What was all that "high probability" talk?
Well, there's still a chance the Ravens could sign seven-time Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold after he left the team facility without signing a deal Wednesday, according to The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
"[T]here is mutual interest, and both sides will remain in contact to see if they can work out some details and find common ground," Zrebiec wrote.
If the Ravens really do remain interested, that may indicate team doctors examined the ankle injury that caused Mangold, 33, to miss last season's final eight games, and believe he is healthy again. Prior to the injury, the former New York Jet had been very durable throughout his career, missing just four contests in his first 10 seasons.
When asked Wednesday if the Ravens would make any free-agent signings before the draft on April 27, General Manager Ozzie Newsome said there was a high probability. Speculation immediately followed that it was only a matter of time before Mangold inked a deal as a Raven, given he was reportedly in the building at the time of Newsome's comment.
However, Newsome didn't name Mangold specifically, and Zrebiec noted the team is also monitoring the market at other positions.
"The Ravens are also still exploring their options at right tackle with Ryan Clady and King Dunlap being the best remaining players available," Zrebiec wrote. "They also are still monitoring the wide receiver market and they'd like to add more depth to their secondary."
In the meantime, the veteran options at center are getting thin as the widely considered second-best center on the market, John Sullivan, signed with the Los Angeles Rams Wednesday. The Ravens are looking for a proven veteran after trading three-year starter Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers.
"It would make sense for the Ravens to sign Mangold, the best center available in free agency," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The Ravens' in-house options – John Urschel and Ryan Jensen – are considered fall-back ones.
"Baltimore freed up an additional $1 million in cap space on Tuesday, when the team traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles. That cap room could be used to sign Mangold."
Ravens Putting Up Receiver Smokescreen? No Revelations In Pre-Draft Presser
It's that time of the year again, when GMs and front-office executives around the league put up smokescreens to conceal who they really like in the upcoming draft.* *
There was bound to be one, two or more during the Ravens' 45-minute pre-draft press conference with reporters Wednesday. The tricky part is deciphering truth from fluff.
PressBox beat writer, Bo Smolka, thinks he may have found one when Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta was talking about the top receivers in this year's class.
DeCosta was asked which wide receivers he envisions the Ravens having a chance to get at No. 16. He named just Clemson's Mike Williams and Washington's John Ross, only later briefly adding in Western Michigan's Corey Davis.
"Obviously, Mike Williams is a great player. We saw him this year what he did at Clemson. He's a guy that is probably going to go in that range somewhere," DeCosta said.
"I think John Ross from Washington is an explosive playmaker. He'll be probably a consideration in that range too. Those would be two guys that I think are very good players that probably warrant that sort of a draft grade."
If you're looking for breaking news, or even a slight indication, about what the Ravens will do with their 16th-overall pick, the press conference wasn't the place to get it.
"The team guards its draft plans tightly, and three weeks before the three-day draft begins is certainly not a time when they become especially chatty or illuminating," Zrebiec wrote. "It took less than 30 seconds Wednesday for Newsome to establish that the Ravens are 'going to take the best player,' a common refrain this time of year."
Mel Kiper And Todd McShay's Two-Round Mock Draft
Don't expect to get any more clarity about what the Ravens could do in the first round from draft experts. Mock drafts have been all over the place.
Forget about narrowing in on a specific prospect, because there hasn't even been consistency about a specific position the Ravens could draft. The trend continued Wednesday when ESPN's draft gurus, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, released their "dueling two-round" mock drafts.
Round 1 (No. 16 overall)
Kiper: UCLA OLB Takkarist McKinley
"Baltimore needs pass rushers. Terrell Suggs, 34, was the only Raven to have more than five sacks last season (he had eight). McKinley is a speed rusher who could play outside linebacker in the Ravens' 3-4. He broke out in 2016 with 10 sacks and three forced fumbles for the Bruins."
McShay: Alabama OT Cam Robinson
"The Ravens spent the sixth-overall pick last year on LT Ronnie Stanley, and Robinson is a natural fit on the right side. He still needs to improve his technique, but Robinson possesses excellent length (35½-inch arms) and is an elite mauler in the running game."
Round 2 (No. 47 overall)
Kiper: UCLA CB Fabian Moreau
"Moreau could drop a little farther after tearing a pectoral muscle at his pro day. He's expected to be ready for training camp, however, so I don't see him dropping much. Baltimore signed veteran corner Brandon Carr but needs youth and depth."
McShay: Kansas State DE Jordan Willis
"It's hard for a 255-pounder to have a better combine performance than Willis: 4.53 40, 39-inch vertical, 4.28-second short shuttle. I didn't quite see that level of explosiveness when initially watching Willis' tape, but he certainly caught the eye of folks in the league."
Lessons Learned From LSU's Pro Day
LSU held its pro day Wednesday, offering NFL scouts one of their last opportunities to get up-close with multiple first- and second-day prospects from one team, including running back Leonard Fournette, safety Jamal Adams, center Ethan Pocic and cornerback Tre'Davious White.
Fournette, who dropped 12 pounds since the NFL Scouting Combine, and Adams, who ran an improved 4.38 40-yard dash, are both expected to be long off the board by the time the Ravens are on the clock.
However, Baltimore could have a shot at either Pocic or White later on. The Ravens are looking for more young, impact cornerbacks, and DeCosta said yesterday they feel they could find one in any of the first three rounds. White could be a first- or second-round pick.
The Ravens are also likely looking for their center of the future, even if they do wind up singing Mangold, and Pocic is projected as a third-round selection.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock provided his biggest takeaways from LSU's pro day in the video below.