If the Baltimore Ravens draft a wide receiver the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, how would that selection shape the look of the team's picks in the third and fourth rounds?
This exercise assumes the Ravens make no trades in the first round and use the No. 22 overall pick. The Ravens' top needs are wide receiver, edge rusher, linebacker and offensive line. [See also:
offensive lineman scenario
If the Ravens select a wide receiver with the 22nd pick, who could it be?
DK Metcalf, Mississippi: Athletically gifted prospect who has battled some injuries
Marquise Brown, Oklahoma: Undersized but ultra-productive speedster
AJ Brown, Mississippi: Perhaps the most well-rounded prospect of this year's class
Hakeem Butler, Iowa State: Local ties, plus huge target for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson
N'Keal Harry, Arizona State: Tough receiver with strong hands who fights for the ball in coverage
So, who would the third-round target be? (Remember, the Ravens currently do not have a second-round pick.)
The Ravens could target an edge rusher, linebacker or offensive lineman in Round 3. Here are some options for each position of need in the third round. The Ravens have two third-round picks (picks 85 and 102).
Dru Samia, Oklahoma
David Edwards, Wisconsin
Nate Davis, Charlotte
Ben Powers, Oklahoma
Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan
D'Andre Walker, Georgia
Anthony Nelson, Iowa
Bobby Okereke, Stanford
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
Joe Giles-Harris, Duke
Blake Cashman, Minnesota
Offensive line gets thin fast in this draft. Yes, there are players who could develop, but the middle of Round 2 is where sure-fire starters stop in 2019.
The wide receiver depth is strong in this year's draft, so if the Ravens decide to go that route, they could double up at the receiver position. (You can see the third- and fourth-round receivers available in my first scenario.)
Edge rusher and linebacker are not as deep this year, and if the Ravens are going to address the edge rusher or linebacker positions in this draft, the third round is about the end of getting a potential starter for 2019.
The Ravens have two picks in the fourth round as well. Here are some options for each position of need in the fourth round.
David Long Jr., West Virginia
Sione Takitaki, BYU
Gary Johnson, Texas
Connor McGovern, Penn State
Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama
Phil Haynes, Wake Forest
Bobby Evans, Oklahoma
Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
Jalen Jelks, Oregon
Malik Carney, North Carolina
If the Ravens wait for offensive line help, I think Haynes is a sleeper who would be a solid addition in the fourth round. McGovern and Evans could contribute if need be, but they would be backups to start.
Again, as far as the depth goes, I still love the wide receiver class in the fourth round over the linebackers and edge rushers. Takitaki out of BYU is a solid prospect at the linebacker position, as is Smith, the edge defender from Northern Illinois. Other than that, the perceived group available in the fourth round at the linebacker and edge spots is underwhelming.
Now, the Ravens could certainly draft other positions with their top five picks, and running back may be a best-player-available type selection, but they could attack their biggest needs early in the draft. The Ravens have a poor track record (to be nice) of drafting wide receivers, especially in Round 1, but the team must improve the position. Sometimes you just have to shoot your shot.
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