Draft weekend has almost arrived.
After months of dissecting what the Ravens will do this year, staff writers Garrett Downing and Ryan Mink put together their best predictions of how the Ravens will spend their nine picks.
NOTE: These mock drafts were made without any insider knowledge of who the Ravens are going to pick. These predictions* *are based on the writers' opinions, not those in the front office.
Round 1 (No. 6): DE/OLB Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Bosa is viewed by plenty of analysts as the top defensive player in the class, and he is exactly the kind of player the Ravens need. Bosa is a standout pass rusher who could help take some wear and tear off veterans Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. Bosa may certainly attract some interest from the Cowboys and Jaguars before the Ravens get on the clock, but they have other needs to fill and that could push Bosa down to Baltimore at No. 6.
Round 2 (No. 36): CB Artie Burns, Miami
The Ravens are in the market for another cornerback, and Burns fits the mold of what the Ravens want at the position. The 6-foot, 195-pound cornerback is a natural athlete who also ran track during his college career. Burns was an All-American hurdler at Miami, and he also showed off tremendous ball skills on the football field by intercepting six passes last year. Burns is considered a fast riser during the pre-draft process based on his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day, and there is likely to be a run on cornerbacks around the Ravens' second-round pick.
Round 3 (No. 70): WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said the Ravens are on the lookout for a mid-round receiver to develop into a premier starter, and Shepard fits the bill. He put up big numbers in college, catching 223 passes for 3,482 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also has top-end speed and excels out of the slot. Shepard, 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds, shined at the Senior Bowl and said that he looks up to Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr. for his longevity in the NFL despite being undersized for the position.
Round 4 (No. 104): OLB Matt Judon, Grand Valley State
The Ravens have a history of dipping into the small-school well to find talent, and Judon is an intriguing prospect in this year's class. He absolutely dominated at the Division II level, racking up an NCAA-leading 20 sacks last season. He has the tools to develop into a quality NFL pass rusher, and as a fourth-round pick, he would have time to develop behind the veterans already on the roster.
Round 4 (No. 130): ILB Scooby Wright, Arizona
Wright was the best defensive player in the country in 2014, winning the Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski Awards. He put up 163 tackles and 14.5 sacks that season en route to winning the triple crown of defensive trophies. Injuries prevented Wright from building off his impressive campaign in 2015, as knee and foot injuries limited Wright to just three games last year. Despite last year's injuries, Wright is a tough player who has shown plenty of ability in his college career.
Round 4 (No. 132): OT Willie Beavers, Western Michigan
If the Ravens pass on the left tackle position in the early rounds, they could still get a quality developmental player like Beavers in the middle of the draft. Beavers started 40 games at left tackle over the last three years at Western Michigan, and he could develop under Offensive Line Coach Juan Castillo. The Ravens could also have Beavers compete for a starting job at left guard after the departure of Kelechi Osemele this offseason.
Round 4 (No. 134): DT Willie Henry, Michigan
General Manager Ozzie Newsome is always looking for ways to strengthen his defensive front, and Henry is a big-bodied defender who can affect the game as a run stuffer and interior pass rusher. Henry put up 10 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last year before deciding to forgo his senior season in favor of the draft. The Ravens will also be able to get an honest scouting report on the former Wolverine by John Harbaugh making a quick call to his brother.
Round 6 (No. 182): QB Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech
The Ravens could use a late-round selection on a developmental quarterback, and Driskel is a former highly touted recruit. He started his career at Florida before ending up at Louisiana Tech as a graduate school transfer. The 6-foot-4, 234-pound quarterback has an ideal build for an NFL signal caller, and the Ravens could give him a chance to learn behind Joe Flacco and Ryan Mallett.
Round 6 (No. 209): S Andrew Adams, Connecticut
Finding special-teams contributors in the late rounds is important for the Ravens, and safeties can often make a smooth transition to that role at the NFL level. Adams led Connecticut last year with 103 tackles and also showed good ball skills by coming up with three interceptions.
Round 1 (No. 6): LB Myles Jack, UCLAThe Ravens need a star on defense and Jack may be the biggest one in this year's draft. He has exceptional athleticism, evidenced by the fact that he was the Pac-10 Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year as a running back and linebacker, respectively. He's the perfect complement to C.J. Mosley as he'll be able to cover short and intermediate routes over the middle and let Mosley play downhill. If it weren't for a season-ending knee injury – and recent reports about it affecting his longevity – Jack would be gone. But as long as the Ravens' doctors sign off, all that's done is push Jack down the board. He's a difference-maker from Day 1, and that's what the Ravens are looking for drafting this high.
Round 2 (No. 36): CB Mackensie Alexander, ClemsonThis one doesn't make a ton of sense on paper. The Ravens like bigger corners and Alexander measures in at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. Baltimore is also looking for defensive backs who will turn the ball over. Alexander had zero college interceptions. Still, Alexander was perhaps the best cover corner in football last year, allowing just 33 percent of passes to be completed into his coverage, per Pro Football Focus. That's the best mark in the draft class. His strength is in man coverage, which the Ravens rely on.
Round 3 (No. 70): OLB Jordan Jenkins, GeorgiaThe Ravens are putting an emphasis on getting starters out of the middle of this year's class. Jenkins is pro-ready from Day 1. He'll set the edge very well and get after the passer on third downs. Jenkins doesn't jump off the radar with his athleticism, but he does a lot well. Hailing from a military background and as a senior captain, he has the Ravens' kind of pedigree.
Round 4 (No. 104): DE Adam Gotsis, Georgia TechThis year's defensive line class is exceptional. The Ravens don't have a big need there, but don't be surprised if Baltimore jumps in to pounce on talent that would have gone higher in any other year. Gotsis has one of the best motors of any player and is one really tough dude. He played Australian rules football growing up and didn't move to the United States until he enrolled at Georgia Tech, where he rapidly improved. A season-ending knee injury in 2015 limited him in this year's pre-draft workouts and could make him a bargain.
Round 4 (No. 130): WR Rashard Higgins, Colorado StateThe Ravens are looking for the mid-to-late round gem of this year's wide receiver class and Higgins has that potential. Hailing from the same school as tight end Crockett Gillmore, Higgins led the nation in receiving yards (1,750) and touchdowns (17) as a sophomore. His production dropped a bit as a junior, but he still posted 1,061 yards and eight scores. He's one of the best route runners in this year's receiver class, but didn't test well at the combine.
Round 4 (No. 132): OG Vadal Alexander, LSU
With the departure of Kelechi Osemele in free agency, the Ravens can snag another massive interior blocker with tackle experience. Alexander is enormous at 6-foot-5, 326 pounds with a long wingspan. He's not very easy to move and can be a mauler in the trenches. Alexander also shows a little bit of a nasty streak reminiscent of Osemele.
Round 4 (No. 134): DB Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee
You want interceptions? Byard was a playmaker throughout his career, coming up with a whopping 19 interceptions during his four years. He also took two of those picks back for touchdowns. The Ravens have taken chances on small-school prospects in nearly every recent draft, especially defensive backs. Byard could also be an early contributor on special teams.
Round 6 (No. 182): QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford
The Ravens don't have an immediate need for a quarterback with Ryan Mallett already on the roster as Joe Flacco's backup. But the Ravens have shown that they like to have a developmental third quarterback on board and have reportedly been doing their homework on quarterbacks during the pre-draft process. Hogan comes from a pro-style offense.
Round 6 (No. 209): OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCUThis behemoth is a swing offensive tackle who is a developmental prospect for Castillo to work with. He's 6-foot-6, 320 pounds and is a three-year starter with experience at left and right tackle. There are some durability concerns as he had shoulder surgery last spring and missed time with a knee injury last year.