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Five Second-Round NFL Draft Targets For Ravens

April 28, 2017
The Ravens continued to upgrade their secondary with the selection of Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the first round of the NFL Draft April 27, and they are expected to address critical areas of need when the draft resumes at 7 p.m. April 28.

The selection of Humphrey was a surprise to many, given other defensive options available, and the fact the Ravens had already signed safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr during free agency. But general manager Ozzie Newsome made clear that Humphrey was "by far" the best available player when the Ravens were on the clock at No. 16.

Still, the Ravens enter the second round of the draft still needing an edge rusher, wide receiver and offensive linemen, and linebacker and defensive line are also areas of concern after key offseason losses.

In the first round, Newsome again stuck to his central tenet of "best available player regardless of need," and expect the Ravens to do the same again.

The Ravens are scheduled to pick 15th in the second round (No. 47 overall) and also have two picks in the third round, at No. 74 and No. 78. As always, trading back to acquire more picks is an option, but the Ravens like their options still on the board.

"We think we will get a good player, very sure of that [at No. 47]," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "The same holds true with 74 and 78 as well. I think [Friday] is a critical day for the Ravens and for our coaches and scouts."

Here, in alphabetical order, are five potential targets for the Ravens in the second round. Of course, with 14 picks before them, a lot can happen by the time the Ravens are on the clock:

1. OLB Tyus Bowser, Houston

Considered slightly undersized at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds, Bowser had 8.5 sacks in eight games in 2016 and has a quick first step. Bowser also played college basketball for a couple of years. In addition to being able to rush the quarterback, Bowser has the ability to drop into coverage, something the Ravens value and has been a weakness of some linebackers. 

2. WR Zay Jones, East Carolina

Jones set the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision records for catches in a season (158) and career (399). While he lacks elite speed, Jones (6-foor-2, 201 pounds) is known for having good hands and ball security and piling up yards after the catch. He is viewed as a chain-mover in the mold of former Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin. Like Ravens first-round pick Marlon Humphrey, Jones comes from NFL pedigree; his father, Robert, played in the NFL for 10 seasons and won three Super Bowl titles with the Cowboys. 

3. G Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky

Only two offensive linemen went in the first round, and Lamp (6-foot-4, 309 pounds) was a projected first-round pick. Could the Ravens grab him in Round 2? He is considered, by some, to be the best pure lineman in the draft, so the Ravens might have to trade up if they really want him. A tackle at Western Kentucky, he is expected to play guard in the NFL. The Ravens could move Alex Lewis to tackle, or try to keep Lamp there. Either way, the Ravens have a hole up front after losing tackle Rick Wagner as a free agent.

4. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC

One of the players specifically mentioned by Eric DeCosta at the team's pre-draft news conference, Smith-Schuster (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) had 70 catches for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns this past year, down from 2015 (89-1,454-10). He has good size and strong hands, though there are concerns as to whether he can consistently gain separation against NFL cornerbacks.  

5. OLB/DE Jordan Willis, Kansas State

At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, Willis, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year had 11.5 sacks as a defensive end but figures to play outside linebacker in the NFL, where he would need to consistently show he can set the edge against the run. If they select him, the Ravens have to hope he produces more than the last second-rounder they selected from Kansas State -- Arthur Brown.

Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka