Should Ravens Trade Up for Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner?
Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner was the No. 2-overall selection in ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s recent mock draft, but other mock drafts have the University of Cincinnati cornerback going at or near the bottom of the top 10.
If Gardner begins to slip, PressBox’s Glenn Clark said the Ravens, who have the 14th-overall selection, should not hesitate to trade up to get him.
"Such a trade could cost the Ravens two of their seven combined third- and fourth-round picks, which feels like a reasonable price to pay for a 6-foot-3 corner who DIDN'T ALLOW A SINGLE FRIGGIN' TOUCHDOWN in his college career," Clark wrote.
As our Ryan Mink recently wrote, the Ravens don't typically give up draft picks, but this may be the year to do it if they can get a game-changing talent at a position of need. The Ravens have 10 picks overall, including nine in the first five rounds.
Gardner definitely qualifies as a prospect with game-changing talent. ESPN’s Todd McShay called Gardner "the definition of a shutdown corner." And cornerback is a position of need for the Ravens, who have little depth after starters Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, both of whom are coming off season-ending injuries.
Sports Illustrated’s Todd Karpovich said Gardner, who tweeted earlier this month that he's "the best player in the draft," has the swagger to boost the Ravens' secondary.
"His ability to excel in man-to-man coverage would make him a perfect fit for Baltimore," Karpovich wrote.
Lamar Jackson agrees. Gardner's bold tweet caught the eye of the Ravens quarterback.
One team the Ravens might have to jump in front of to land Gardner is the New York Giants, who have the seventh-overall pick. NFL Network’s Peter Schrager has the Giants taking Gardner in his latest mock draft.
"New defensive coordinator Wink Martindale would be the happiest man on the planet if Sauce fell to No. 7," Schrager wrote. "The former Bearcat is one of the few DBs in college football history who could be left on an island and come out on top. Considering Wink's blitz-everyone-and-their-brother-and-mother approach, Gardner would be a perfect fit in the Giants' defensive backfield."
Ravens Fill Needs on Offense and Defense in Kiper and McShay's Three-Round Mock Draft
Kiper and McShay conducted a three-round mock draft in which they alternated each selection. Their draft was based on a combination of what they think each team will do and what the analysts would do.
Here's a look at their picks for the Ravens:
Round 1 (14th overall)
Kiper's pick: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
"The Ravens have options here. They could also go with an offensive tackle or defensive lineman. McDuffie gives them versatility and depth at a position that was injury-hit last season."
Round 2 (45)
McShay's pick: Cameron Jurgens, C, Nebraska
"This is perhaps a slight reach, but Baltimore needs a center after Bradley Bozeman departed in free agency. And I like Jurgens' quickness as a zone blocker, which fits nicely with the Ravens' run-heavy scheme."
Round 3 (76)
Kiper's pick: Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma
"Since you filled Baltimore's hole at center, Todd, the next position on my list is defensive tackle. Winfrey could be a steal here. He was one of the best prospects at the Senior Bowl, though he was inconsistent at Oklahoma. He could play end in a 3-4 scheme."
Round 3 (100)
Kiper's pick: Myjai Sanders, OLB, Cincinnati
"Here's another pick to increase the depth in Baltimore's front seven. Sanders is still growing into his 6-foot-5 frame (he weighed just 228 pounds at the combine after a stomach bug), but he could be a situational pass-rusher as a rookie. He can pressure quarterbacks."
Lamar Jackson's Main Goal for 2022 Season: 'Get That Bowl'
Jackson spoke to a reporter in West Palm Beach, Fla. over the weekend about his goals for the 2022 season.
"Goal next year is to get that Bowl," said Jackson, who came to watch former teammate Willie Snead IV help coach Palm Beach Christian Academy to a playoff win in eight-man football. "Take it one game at a time. Get better as an individual and as a team."
Jackson said he's been working again with throwing mechanics expert Adam Dedeaux and throwing to wide receivers Rashod Bateman and James Proche II.
"We've been looking good, so hopefully it leads over to the season," Jackson said.
While at the game in West Palm Beach as a spectator, Jackson took pictures with fans and players and signed autographs for everyone who approached him.
Could Miles Boykin End Up With Steelers?
"Why would the Steelers have any interest in Boykin? Because they showed interest in him ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft," Bryan wrote. "In fact, the Steelers had Boykin in for a pre-draft visit that year. … Don't be shocked if the Steelers attempt to sign him as they could use another wide receiver on their roster that has some pedigree."
The release of the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Boykin, a 2018 third-round pick, was not a surprise given his struggles to find a major role as a pass-catcher in the Ravens' offense, but it does create a void.
"One overlooked aspect of Miles Boykin's release: The Ravens now have just one rotational WR taller than 6 feet (Rashod Bateman)," The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer tweeted. "They weren't a great run-blocking team out wide last year, and now they have even more incentive to draft a bigger guy."
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote: "Boykin's departure also reaffirms the team's youth at receiver. Six of the seven receivers on their roster have two seasons of NFL experience or less. They could look to address that with the addition of a veteran free agent."
In Draft Do-Overs, Lamar Jackson Goes to Arizona Cardinals
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport named one draft do-over for each team over the past decade. For the Arizona Cardinals, it was taking Jackson at No. 10 overall instead of quarterback Josh Rosen.
Rosen has been with five teams in his four seasons and is currently a free agent. The Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray with the No. 1-overall selection in 2019 after trading Rosen to the Miami Dolphins, where he started three games, all losses.
"This do-over really is fascinating. If the Cardinals have Jackson, there's no need to draft Murray the following year. And what do the Ravens do under center?" Davenport wrote.
Of course, the Cardinals aren't the only team that would likely take Jackson if they had a do-over of the 2018 draft. The Browns drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield first overall, and the New York Jets took quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 3.
For the Ravens, Davenport said their do-over would be drafting safety Tyrann Mathieu with the 32nd-overall pick in 2013 instead of safety Matt Elam.