Ravens Believe This Year's Draft Is More Volatile Than Usual

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Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta typically makes his pre-draft prediction for who the Ravens' first-round pick will be – and usually he's right.

This year, DeCosta's having a lot more trouble nailing it down.

"I think there's a lot of volatility right now," DeCosta said last week on "The Lounge"podcast.

"I think this is a draft that's fairly unpredictable – more so than other years. It's not like some drafts where I would say to you right now that I know who we're going to draft. I just don't know that yet."

Mock drafts have been all over the place over the past several months. In terms of the Ravens at No. 16, SB Nation combined the scads of online mock drafts and found that there are eight players projected to Baltimore in more than five percent of the mocks. That's a wide range.

Last year, DeCosta said the whole league knew who the top seven players were going to be: quarterback Jared Goff, quarterback Carson Wentz, defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, tackle Ronnie Stanley and defensive end DeForest Buckner. It was just a matter of what order they went in.

DeCosta said it's "much, much more difficult" to rattle off the top tier this year.

There is a wide belief that Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett will go No. 1 to the Cleveland Browns, but there have also recent rumblings that North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky could surprise. The top five or 10 picks aren't widely known, and there are even more question marks behind them.

"I don't know who the first quarterback to be drafted will be," DeCosta said. "I don't know who the first running back to be drafted will be. I don't know when the first wideout's going to be drafted. I don't know when the first offensive lineman is going to be drafted."

The quarterback class is specifically making predictions difficult. Trubisky could go No. 1. He could go No. 12. Some mocks don't have him until the late first round. There's also a wide range of opinions on Clemson quarterback DeShaun Watson and Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

The Ravens want as many quarterbacks to go before pick No. 16 as possible, which would push talent at other positions down the board.

"People are going to have different orders [on the quarterbacks] depending on what organization you're at, so that makes it harder to predict which people are going to go where," Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz said.

Baltimore does monitor certain draft analysts' mock drafts to try to gauge other teams' interest. Some of the "experts" have legitimate contacts and insider knowledge. And over the course of the pre-draft process, mock drafts typically start to look similar.

Not this year.

"I think the mocks this year, people are having a hard time," Hortiz said. "You see people taking quarterbacks and specific players up there, but you see other mocks in the 20s and 30s. People don't know where they're going to go and we don't know where they're going to go."

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