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Ranking the Ravens' Biggest Needs Ahead of Draft Night

April 25, 2019 - 7:09 pm
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By Joe Schiller

The NFL Draft officially kicks off from Nashville, Tennessee tonight and the Baltimore Ravens currently hold the No. 22 pick. The Ravens have eight total picks throughout the draft and General Manager Eric DeCosta will hope to fill as many offseason needs as possible over the course of three days. 

The direction DeCosta and co. will head tonight is a major question mark. Will they stay at 22? Will they be able to trade back and how far? If they stay in the first round, who are the best players available?

Here are, in my opinion, the Ravens' biggest needs heading into tonight and first-round options to fill them. 

1. Wide Receiver

The Ravens haven't drafted a wide receiver in the first round since Breshad Perriman in 2015 and the pick never yielded the expected results. Signing Seth Roberts to a one-year contract brings a veteran presence to the receiving core, but the Ravens have to take their chances on young wideouts in the draft. Sitting at 22, the Ravens are in the sweet spot to select a receiver at their current draft position, or later in the first round. 

DeCosta said it best, for the Ravens to be successful, they have to take chances on receivers early. Lamar Jackson enters a pivotal second season after helping lead the Ravens to an AFC North Division title and a Wild-Card berth. As Jackson continues to develop as a passer, he needs adequate targets to do so. Right now, the current roster doesn't offer enough help.

I'd look for a big-bodied receiver like D.K. Metcalf or a small game-breaker like Marquise "Hollywood" Brown to land in Baltimore. 

Options: D.K. Metcalf, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, N'Keal Harry, A.J. Brown

2. Edge Rusher 

No Terrell Suggs or Za'Darius Smith leaves the Ravens to replace 15.5 sacks from last season. Matt Judon is an emerging star, but Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser have yet to fully prove they can be capable starters. Ziggy Ansah visited the Ravens on Wednesday, but even the potential signing shouldn't take away the need. This is one of the most talented positions in the draft. 

The Ravens still possess one of the league's best defenses. With that being said, they have to get to the quarterback and this is undoubtedly one of the biggest needs to fill over the next three days. 

Options: Montez Sweat, Clelin Ferrell, Rashan Gary, Brian Burns, Jaylon Ferguson

3. Interior Offensive Line

The Ravens are slowly building a young core on the offensive line. Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. are bookends on the edge. Marshal Yanda has consistently performed as one of the league's best guards, but his years are limited at 34-years-old. It's never the "sexy" pick but improving the interior offensive line with the talent available is the best direction to go in the first round. 

The offensive line class is loaded with first-round talent and the Ravens will have their pick at intriguing options at 22. NC State center Garrett Bradbury is the number one option in my mind. He'd solidify the position as a Day 1 starter and allow Matt Skura to bump to left guard. But if Williams, Taylor or Dillard fall, they'd provide fantastic value late in the first round. 

Options: Garrett Bradbury, Erik McCoy, Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, Andre Dillard, Dalton Risner

 

4. Inside Linebacker 

The loss of four-time Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley is significant, no matter the price tag. Patrick Onwuasor signed his second-round restricted free-agent tender and will be one of the key pieces at inside linebacker. Kenny Young, a fifth-round pick, will be asked to step up after flashing in limited playing time last season. There's plenty of exciting potential with this group, but the Ravens must solidify one of the defense's most important positions.

Two linebackers, LSU's Devin White and Michigan's Devin Bush, are considered to be the only true first-round prospects in the draft. Both are expected to be off the board once the Ravens pick. I'd expect the Ravens to heavily consider Bush if he begins to fall in the middle of the first round. But with the Steelers picking at 20, with an obvious need for an inside linebacker to replace Ryan Shazier, Bush likely won't make it to 22. 

Options: Devin White, Devin Bush