Our Ravens beat reporter Jeff Zrebiec will start answering your questions about the upcoming NFL draft at noon. You can start submitting questions now.
What's up everyone? Thanks for joining me for the chat. Thankfully, the draft is almost here and we can forget about all the mocks and visits and all that. Ready for all your questions.
No, I can't be sure of who they are picking first because there are 16 teams ahead of them and it's impossible to know what they are all going to do. I will say this: I think there are four players to watch to see if they fall to 17: Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama LB C.J. Mosley, Notre Dame OT Zack Martin and North Carolina TE Eric Ebron. I think all four of those guys will intrigue Ravens but they all could be gone before the Ravens are on the clock.
It's going to be interesting. I think if none of those four players are available, the Ravens very well could trade back in the first round and pick up another mid to late round pick.
Jeff, your colleague Aaron Wilson had the Ravens picking Zack Martin in his latest mock draft this morning. Tell us a little more about Martin.
Martin is regarded as one of the safest picks in the first round. He has no character concerns, no durability concerns. And he can pretty much play every position along the offensive line. He wouldn't be a sexy pick, but he's as solid as they come. So solid, that I think he'll probably gone in the top 12 or 15 picks. Lot of talk that Giants could take him at 12.
Good question. On one hand, the Ravens have been picking late in the first round for years now. There's a sense of, 'well, we finally have a mid first-round pick in a stacked draft, why would we trade back into later in the draft." However, the school of thought there is, as you mentioned, the Ravens do have several needs. And the draft has enough depth where normal first-round picks in past years are going to be taken in the second, third round this year. SO the more picks you can get, the better. However, if one of the top players on their board is available at 17, I don't think you can pass him up.
I don't think so. Or I should say this: it's not ideal but I think there's still enough time for the rookies to get caught up to speed before training camp. The Ravens' rookie minicamp is next week. So they'll get caught up quickly.
The biggest two positions of need are safety and right tackle. However, the Ravens do have some internal options at both of those spots. One thing I think the Ravens really need to address in the draft is a cornerback. They only have four on their roster: Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson. You need at least two more corners. Plus, Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown have proven yet that they are capable of playing consistently enough to fill that third corner role. I think Ravens are going to miss Corey Graham big time. They need to bring in youth at the position.
Jordan Matthews is a good name. Ellington as well. Also, Clemson's Martavis Bryant is a good name to keep an eye on. The Ravens have said that there is a WR in every round that they like. I think it's almost a guarantee that they'll come out of the draft with at least one, if not two WRs.
I really don't.. But depends. Say they trade pick with the 49ers and are drafting 30th - and there's been some speculation of that - I don't think Ward would be a reach at all there. Most GMs/draft pundits are saying there is a big dropoff between top safeties and second class of them. So if that's a guy they like, they may
have to grab him before the middle of the second round.
In saying that, I do think pick 17 would be too early for Ward.
I think both would be good fits. But I haven't heard a lot of buzz that the Ravens will go cornerback with their first pick. And there is zero chance that Fuller falls into the second round. So, I'd say Fuller is unlikely unless some of the other Ravens' top options come off board and he's still available. As for West, makes perfect sense. They like him, know a ton about him. They need a big, short-yardage back. But A lot of teams really like West and I'd sort of be surprised if the Ravens take a RB before the 4th round. West could be gone by late third.
Newsome and company have undoubtedly already heard from teams that want the 17th pick, and they know exactly what it will take to get it. But I think if the Ravens do trade back, I'd be surprised if they go much further back that the low to mid 20's. The Eagles are a logical trade partner at 22. They want a WR and the Ravens could still probably get a player they rank highly at 22.
Jeff, let's pretend you had the No. 1 pick in this draft. Who are you taking?
Clowney. As Seattle proved this year, dominant defenses still win championships. And you can never have enough pass rushers. I know there are questions about his work ethic and all that, but he's is a rare talent. Even if I needed a quarterback, I'd just have too many questions about the current QB class though Manziel would be tempting.
Hmm. Great question. I still think early third day. Maybe 5th round. Guys like Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech; Keith Wenning of Ball State. Those are probably the type of guys to watch. I'll say this though, if a guy like McCarron or Garoppolo falls perhaps to the 4th - which I don't see -
that probably would be tempting for them.
Thing about quarterback is: the Ravens will keep their eye on the Texans situation. They already have Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates on their roster. And they've promised to draft one of them. So you have to figure either Keenum or Yates will be let go at some point. And either of them could be good fit for Ravens cause they know Kubiak's offense.
Miss working with Matt Vensel? I miss insulting him and trying to toughen him up a little bit. But working with him - not so much.
Brandon Williams probably would be my pick. He could start with Arthur Jones now gone. Williams is a big and strong guy. He just needs some time to develop a little bit and learn the defense a little bit more.
I'd probably say Bortles though it sends like his stock has fallen a little bit.
It sounds like his stock has fallen a little bit. My bad.
Some of the other guys: you have to love Sammy Watkins. And people just rave about Khalil Mack. Really like Mosley. Ravens view Greg Robinson as a potentially dominating offensive tackle. There's a lot of players to like in this draft.
I would be a little surprised ...
I would be a little surprised because I haven't heard any buzz that they are planning to do that. But I still think it makes some sense if other targets are off the board. Newsome says every year at this time that you can never have enough corners. Webb and Jimmy Smith have had some injury problems over the years. I'll say this: I think by the end of day two, the Ravens are going to have drafted a cornerback. There aren't a ton of good ones in the draft and they'll be off the board quickly.
We'll take a couple more.
Getting back to that bust question: another guy that would concern me is Ebron. All indications are that the Ravens love him and they are not alone. Some people think Buffalo will grab Ebron at 9. Guy could turn out to be next Vernon Davis. The physical tools and talent are all there. But a guy like that, I'm a bit weary of.
As for the OL prospects: maybe a Ja'Wuan James from Tenn. Joel Bitonio from Nevada. Morgan Moses of UVA is another interesting name. My colleague, Aaron Wilson, reported that the Ravens have shown a lot of interest in him. Not sure he'll be available in mid second round, but he'd be hard to pass up at that point. And he also could be candidate for late first round pick if Ravens trade back.
OK, here's the last one for you, Jeff. Take us inside your "draft room." What's it like for the reporters as they cover the draft?
I know Ravens fans are going to scoff, but Juan Castillo, not too long ago, was considered one of the best coaches and developers of young O-linemen in the game. So I think the Ravens don't feel like they have to get one in the first or second round. I think they are confident that if they can find a relatively raw tackle with nice physical attributes in the middle rounds, that would make sense because they trust Castillo to develop him. Plus, they still like Rick Wagner and think he'd be serviceable as a starter.
The draft is a lot of fun, and I don't consider many things fun. Refreshing Twitter every 5 seconds to find out what people are saying/reporting about certain picks is a little tediuous. But Ravens make it very easy for us. We watch the draft at the facility. And 5 minutes after Ravens make a pick, they bring down either Newsome, DeCosta or Harbaugh to talk about it. And then 10 minutes after that, they usually get us the guy they drafted on conference call for us. As I said, it's a long three days, but it's a relatively easy three days. And it's real fun after listening for months to reports about what teams are going to do and who they like, to see the whole thing unfold.
Anyway, thanks for the questions. Hope everybody enjoys the draft.
Thanks for the time Jeff. And thanks to all of you for the questions. Check back to the website throughout the weekend for wall-to-wall coverage of the draft from Jeff and company.