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Mel Kiper: Ravens Will Have '3 Really Good Options' At No. 6


There won't be a lack of talented prospects ready to join the Ravens at pick No. 6, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper.

And for that reason, Kiper doesn't envision the Ravens trading back in the first round.

"There's going to be a minimum of three really good options for the Ravens at pick six," the draftnik said during a conference call with reporters Monday.

There's such a bounty that even if prized Ohio State pass rusher Joey Bosa – who has long been Kiper's No. 1 draft prospect on his big board – is available, Kiper doesn't think the Ravens would sprint to the podium.

Kiper was asked if picking Bosa at No. 6, as Kiper currently projects in his latest mock draft, would be a "no-brainer."

"He's a pass rusher and that's what they need," Kiper said. "I don't think it would be certainly a guarantee. … That would not be easy."

Kiper said picking Bosa wouldn't be the obvious move because, according to his mock draft, there would be other good options also on the board.

He named four prospects: UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley, Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner.

Jack was the first name off Kiper's tongue. Jack is a 6-foot-1, 245-pound linebacker who is one of the most athletic players in the draft, despite the fact that he missed all but three games last year due to an early knee injury.

Jack's athleticism is displayed by his versatility. He played all over the Bruins defense (even sometimes as a slot cornerback) and finished with 68 career carries as a running back.

"Myles Jack is a great linebacker who can play a variety of roles," Kiper said. "He can cover. If you can run and cover and you're athletic and you can mirror in coverage, as Myles Jack can, you've got great value."

Stanley is one of the top two left tackles in the draft, along with Ole Miss' Laremy Tunsil. He's also the player most often projected to the Ravens in the latest mock drafts.

Hargreaves is a 5-foot-11, 199-pound playmaking cornerback out of Florida who had 10 interceptions during his three college seasons. He's widely projected as the second defensive back to be taken.

Buckner is a 6-foot-7, 300-pound run stopper and pass rusher who is fourth on Kiper's big board.

"Bucker is a rare talent for his size," Kiper said. "He fits the 3-4 scheme ideally. That's why I have him going to San Diego as a five-technique there. I think you look at Bucker as a guaranteed top-five, top-six pick. At worst, sixth. … He's way up there in the stratosphere."

The only sure thing, Kiper said, would be that the Ravens would take cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey if he's still on the board at No. 6. However, Kiper doesn't see that happening.

"Jalen Ramsey could possibly be there, maybe 10 to 15 percent chance," he said. "If he's there, I think that's an easy call, you go Ramsey. I don't think he will be."

Still, Kiper sees the Ravens taking somebody at No. 6 instead of trading back. His argument is that the Ravens will want to capitalize on having such a rare, high draft pick to get elite talent because they have a history of seeing how big an impact those players can make.

The last time they had this high a pick was in 2000 when they were at No. 5. Baltimore selected running back Jamal Lewis and won a Super Bowl that following season.

"Think about this organization," Kiper said. "Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Peter Boulware – all the great players – Chris McAlister, Duane Starks, Terrell Suggs. All top-10 picks. They built these Super Bowl teams in 2000 and a [few] years ago based on what happened in the top 10."

The Ravens have only once traded out of the top 10. That was in 2008 when they had their eye on quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore moved back from No. 8 to No. 26, then moved back up to No. 18 to get their man.

It worked out then, but the body of historical evidence suggests that staying in the top 10 is a good decision for the Ravens.

"Look at the benefit they got from those players," Kiper said. "They were the cornerstones for Super Bowl teams, the key entities on Super Bowl teams.

"Trading out of there? There's going to be far too good a player there for the Ravens to trade out."

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