Introducing Ravens' 2017 First-Round Draft Pick
It's been just more than a week since the Ravens made left tackle Ronnie Stanley their first-round pick of 2016. We haven't even seen him on the field yet (that happens today).
But who says it's too early to look ahead to 2017?
With lots of caveats and a tone that implies that his boss forced this upon him, ESPN's Todd McShay released his way-too-early 2017 mock draft yesterday.
Cue NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell …
"With the 24th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select … Christian McCaffrey, running back, Stanford."
"McCaffrey ranked second among running backs last season in rushing yards (2,019) and receiving yards (645), while also finishing third overall in kickoff-return yardage (1,070)," McShay wrote. "That's a long way of saying McCaffrey literally did a little bit of everything for Stanford in 2015. His all-around game gives him a lot of value as an NFL prospect."
McCaffrey was last season's Associated Press college football player of the year, becoming the first non-Heisman Trophy winner to earn the honor in six years. He was the runner-up to Alabama running back Derrick Henry in the Heisman voting.
First of all, how many running backs do the Ravens need?!?!? The Ravens have selected a running back in the fourth round each of the past three years. Now one in the first round?
Second, how much can we trust this pick? I'll give it to McShay because 15 players featured in last year's way-too-early mock draft were actually picked in the first round. He didn't get a single player-team match correct, but that's still pretty impressive.
On the other hand, McShay predicted a year ago that the Ravens would select Auburn outside linebacker Carl Lawson with the 23rd-overall pick in the 2016 draft. Who?
Lawson didn't end up declaring for the draft because he suffered a hip injury in the first half of the season opener and missed the next six games. He returned to still be Auburn's best pass rusher, but opted to stay another year to prove himself.
The good news is that McShay has the Ravens back picking in their usual spot near the end of the first round next year. That means he and Football Outsiders (who he used to project teams' records) think Baltimore will be a lot better this season.
Ravens Super Bowl Odds Improve After Draft
For all you gamblers out there, I hope you got your bets in on the Ravens winning the Super Bowl before the draft. Because if you're laying down money now, you're not getting as good of odds.
(Of course I don't promote gambling. Just sayin'.)
After the draft, the Ravens' odds of winning Super Bowl 51 went from 40-1 to 33-1, according to Bovada (per CSN Mid-Atlantic's Clifton Brown).
Here are the six teams whose Super Bowl odds improved the most after the draft:
Browns – 150-1 to 100-1
Redskins – 50-1 to 40-1
Jets – 50-1 to 40-1
Giants - 33-1 to 25-1
Raiders – 33-1 to 25-1
Ravens – 40-1 to 33-1
You know what's a shame? The Ravens have to play all of those teams above in 2016.
As Brown points out, the Patriots still have the best odds in the league (7-1), despite Tom Brady's four-game suspension to start the season. The Steelers and Bengals (both 18-1) still have better odds than the Ravens.
"So if you believe the Ravens are a better team after the draft, Vegas would agree," Brown wrote. "However, it remains to be seen if the Ravens will be improved enough to get back into the playoffs."
Ravens Rookies Start Signing Contracts
With the current collective bargaining agreement rookie pay scale, it doesn't take very long at all for draft picks to sign their contracts these days.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec reports that fifth-round outside linebacker Matthew Judon has signed his rookie contract worth $2.595 million. That would make Judon the first pick to sign.
Ravens rookies reported for camp Thursday night, so Judon must have basically gone straight up to Newsome's office.