The first round of the NFL Draft naturally garners the most attention.
Players at the top of the draft are known names across the country, and this year the Ravens find themselves in the discussion for prospects they typically only dream of getting. With a higher pick comes greater expectations, and the Ravens recognize the importance of their No. 6 selection.
But when it comes to finding a great player, the later rounds are really where drafts are made, and the Ravens aren't putting all their stock in their first-round pick.
"I'm actually probably feeling more pressure at pick 36 than I am at six," Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "I feel like if you're picking sixth, you really only have to look at four or five players, and you're just going to have to iron those guys out and you rank those five players. At 36, there's a lot more volatility."
The top of the draft is much easier to predict than later. Mock drafts have become a cottage industry, and all the analysts generally have the same 10-15 players in the discussion at the top of the round.
If the Ravens keep the sixth-overall pick, they only need a strong sense for what the five teams ahead of them will do. Predicting the first 35 picks before picking in the second round isn't as simple.
"There's a lot more different players you're going to be looking at, a lot more combinations," DeCosta said. "I've been spending a lot more time thinking about 36 actually in the last couple of weeks, because there could be a lot of different players."
Part of the reason DeCosta feels pressure with the second-round pick is that the Ravens view it as essentially a first rounder. Baltimore has mostly picked at the end of the first round for the last eight years, and they expect to get a similar talent with that selection.
"There's no doubt picking 36th that we'll get a guy in the first 30 players in the draft," DeCosta said in an interview at the scouting combine. "That's an additional first-round pick. So, essentially, we're getting two first-round picks this year."