What a crazy Round 1, right? Ravens opted to trade back TWICE, converting late round picks into a 3rd and a 4th round pick, and then they take a 25 year old, Thor look-a-like Tight End with their 1st round pick. Also, not a single pass catcher goes until pick 24, but two OTs go BEFORE 16. And Lamar Jackson fell, and fell, and fell. AND THEN THE RAVENS WENT AHEAD AND TOOK HIM BY TRADING BACK INTO ROUND 1!!!! As said by the draft pundits, including Steve Smith Sr., we are truly entering a New Era in Ravens football.
So, what could the Ravens look for in Day 2? Well for starters, they’ll have to wait a bit. By trading their 2nd round pick to get Jackson, the Ravens now only have 2 3rd round picks in Day 2. What things do we need to hope for to have the best Day 2 for the Ravens?
1 – WR Run Holds Off into Round 3
Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta clearly said, in their Liars’ Luncheon, that the MEAT of this WR class was in the middle rounds. That was proven a bit with the delay in pass catchers in Round 1. Without a doubt, in Round 2 and 3, many more wide receivers will begin flying off the board. The Ravens have to hope that there is some holdout on the run of WRs until they get to their 3rd round picks. WRs like Courtland Sutton, Michael Gallup, Christian Kirk, DJ Chark, Anthony Miller, or Equanimeous St. Brown are likely to go in Round 2, but if any one of them can last to Round 2, it would be a huge new weapon to help build around for this new football era. The more WRs can slide to Round 3, the better.
2 – Ravens Find a Strong Offensive Lineman in Day 2
Whether or not the Ravens find a strong WR in Round 3, the Ravens still have some serious needs along the offensive line. I was REALLY hoping Mike McGlinchey would fall to the Ravens, but he went to San Francisco at 9. There was rumors that Ravens may take UCLA OT Kolton Miller, but he went to the Raiders at 15. There was also a few Centers taken ahead of the Ravens pick, in Frank Ragnow and Billy Price. The Ravens could REALLY use a pure Center or pure Tackle to compete with guys like James Hurst and Nico Siragusa. One name to watch would be Orlando Brown Jr. Brown was an early favorite to be Ravens pick at 16, but had possible the MOST disastrous Combine for an OL in history. He recovered a bit from his Pro Day, and the questions are still there, but he could be a HUGE (no pun intended) option on Day 2, so long as he can slide to Round 3. Some other options at Tackle would be Bryan O’Neill, Martinas Rankin, Geron Christian, and Jamarco Jones. There are also a few intriguing Centers that could be strong picks, including James Daniels, who was mocked as early as pick 20, but it’s hard to believe he lasts until the 3rd round. The best situation for the Ravens would be more of a run on Guards like Will Hernandez and Braden Smith, which could push the pure Centers and Tackles to Ravens. If the Ravens see a run on WRs in Round 2, their next best hope is to see some good Tackles or Daniels slide into the 3rd round.
3 – A Strong Defensive Backfield Player slides to Round 3
Barring a WR or OL being there in Round 3, another big option for the Ravens would be an ILB to fill in next to Mosely or a Safety to groom behind Weddle would be big options for the Ravens to pick up. Ronnie Harrison and Justin Reid are safeties still available that are Round 2 talents, but the Ravens can hope that one falls to the 3rd round to allow them to snag their future Weddle replacement. Darius Leonard or Malik Jefferson would also be potential pickups to fill the LB role that can move inside to play next to Mosely. While I think the offensive talent is a more pressing option here, the Ravens could look to take a defensive talent to continue to help rebuild the defense, while keeping an eye to Day 3 to round out their offensive depth.
Now that we’ve lined up the best scenarios for the Ravens in Day 2, here are the situations that would really spell some danger for the Ravens draft…
1 – Wide Receivers Go Early and Often
Similarly to my Scenario 1 above, the opposite would be a very rough scenario for the Ravens, especially now that they drafted Lamar Jackson. For better or worse, the Ravens are committing to take the team in a new philosophical direction with Jackson. For him to succeed, they need to make sure they surround him with promising skill players to complement him. Hayden Hurst will help for sure, but his age will continue to be his biggest concern. The Ravens current crop of WRs have a few upgraded options in Crabtree, Brown, and Snead, but it’s hard to expect any of them to be around when the team expects Lamar to be hitting his prime. It’s still imperative for the Ravens to come away from the draft with a strong WR or two, and an early run on WRs in Round 2 would be very tough to bounce back from. The Ravens typically watch WRs fly off the board before they can pick, and this would be a very tough year to see that happen again, especially after the moves they have already made.
2 – Defensive Line Talent Slides
One of the things I celebrated early in Round 1 was Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne going before Ravens pick at 16. While both would make GREAT Ravens…neither were needed, as our interior DL is already stocked. I thought the early picks on DTs would allow defensive talent to fall into Ozzie’s lap. It did, but he had his eyes set on something else, so it came to nothing. If teams ignore Defensive Linemen in Day 2 and focus on taking skill positions or Defensive Backs, Ozzie may stick to his “Best Player Available” mantra and take a strong defensive lineman, with an eye on filling depth on future years. While that wouldn’t be a terrible thing, it also leaves bigger holes at LB and Safety that will be more detrimental to success. I wouldn’t say the Ravens can’t take a DL in Round 3, but they have much bigger holes they need to fill, especially given the direction with their 1st two picks.
3 – More Trading Down
I can’t fault Ozzie for trading down like he did. I wasn’t a big fan of picking Hayden Hurst at 25, but it’s WAY better to have Hurst plus our 5th and 6th picks turned into 3rd and 4th picks, then taking Hurst at 16. Those were especially important to the Ravens trading their 2nd round pick to the Eagles to take Lamar Jackson. Ozzie might be inclined, if he sees a run on the players he likes most, to trade down again and pick up some late draft capital to continue filling roster spots. While I wouldn’t disagree with this, I feel like the bigger issue now is getting QUALITY players with the 3rd and 4th round picks. We’re already going to have to bite your fingernails at watching WRs and RTs come off the board in Round 2 without really having a lot of draft picks to move up with. When the Ravens picks come up, unless they can slide back just a few spots, I think moving back for more picks would lead to lesser quality players and less impact on the team.
The Ravens moves tonight really changed the face of this franchise for the foreseeable future, and with that changed vision, the Ravens find themselves hoping for a new set of circumstances to break in Round 2 to set them up for success in Round 3. I can only hope that Ozzie can find strong talent to pair with his pair of 1st round picks.