We are about a little less than a month away from the NFL Draft and the excitement and speculation surrounding this year’s class is building. It’s time for the staff at this fine blog to weigh in on this all important question.
What should the Ravens do in the First Round with the 25th pick?
I’ll start with fantasy guru, Jonathan Scruggs. He would like to see the Ravens shore up the Defensive Line.
Brian Price, DT -UCLA
The Ravens spent an incredible amount of resources this off-season in an attempt to improve their struggling offensive unit. Getting weapons for Joe Flacco was an absolute priority. Now that the quarterback has his targets to throw to, I feel the Ravens will address one of their other seldom discussed weaknesses, namely their aging defensive line. Trevor Pryce is a stud, Kelly Greg is an animal, and Haloti Ngata is, well, God. But unfortunately for the Ravens two of those three pieces are aging rapidly and quickly becoming more susceptible to injury. The the third is a free agent after this season and there’s no guarantee the Ravens will be able to sign him due to his likely large asking price.
Brian Price was an absolute monster for the Bruins. He might be lacking in height, but his size, his quickness and his athleticism make him the quintessential Raven football player. Price is built in the mold of Kelly Gregg and would be an invaluable addition to the Ravens Defensive Front. His stock has been rising in leaps and bounds since coaches have had a chance to study how disruptive he was playing at UCLA. Although the Ravens always take the best available. Price is as sure a bet as any.
Next up is Gene Winner. He wants to stay on the defensive side of the ball but instead wants to add depth to a shaky cornerback situation with both Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington coming off of ACL tears.
Kyle Wilson, CB- Bosie State
Wilson is aggressive and great in coverage along with special teams. What impressed me is that he was the strongest CB’s at the Combine and there were only positive analysis of him. The last 2 years the Ravens Secondary has limped into the Playoffs, we can’t afford that anymore, especially with a pass happy NFL.
Here’s the logic: What was more frustrating last year, lack of depth at Tight End? The pass rush? Or secondary? I would say secondary. Webb and Washington are coming of injuries as well.
The team does need depth at the Tight End and D-line. We can get that from signing a free agent or drafting one of those positions in the second round.
That leaves me. My first inclination was that the Ravens should try and trade down from this spot. Many experts are proclaiming this to be a deep draft with many potential players available. The Ravens will not have a third or fourth round pick available due to the Anquan Boldin trade and there have been several ideas floating about such as trying to move Jared Gaither.
However, in order to trade down you need a willing partner to trade up. I’m just not sure what teams would really want to move up in order to secure a player of need when it appears you can get value in the later rounds. So I’ll also say that Baltimore’s pick should be a defensive player.
Brandon Graham, DE – Michigan
The Ravens pass rush has been sorely lacking for the past three seasons. Sure, Rex used to try also sorts of exotic blitzes to disguise the issue and get pressure back in 2008 but if Baltimore wants to be a more convential defense then they must get production from the front four. That will help the corners do their job better.
I had thought about Price or monster tackle Terrence Cody but let’s not forget they still have Ngata and Kelly Gregg and the Cory Redding signing provides some depth.
Graham is a physical pass rusher who is relentless in pursuit. He also has been projected as someone who could fit into the mold of an Outside backer such as Lamaar Woodley. I still think his best spot may be as a rushing end. He is very quick to the edge and has good instincts.
So have at it. This is THE question to be considered by all fans of the purple. What would you do with that the first round pick?