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Charley Casserly: Ravens Will Trade Back, Take Receiver In First Round

April 23, 2019
After months of deliberation and anticipation, the moment has almost arrived. The 2019 NFL Draft kicks off April 25 in Nashville, Tenn., and football analysts across the country are making final changes to their annual mock drafts in preparation for the real thing.

NFL Network's Charley Casserly released his latest mock draft earlier this month, and he has the Ravens taking Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown with the 25th overall pick.

Brown posted big numbers for the Sooners as a junior in 2018, racking up 1,318 receiving yards and catching 10 touchdowns from Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.

The Ravens will enter the draft with the 22nd overall pick, but Casserly predicts the Ravens to trade down a few spots to grab a wide receiver. The move could turn out to be a win-win for Baltimore; the team needs an influx of talent at the position, and this year's group of wide receivers is as bunched up as Casserly can remember.

"I put a lot of guys late one to early two," Casserly said on Glenn Clark Radio April 22. "That doesn't normally happen in a position group, but it does this year with the receivers. ... I think the big picture is trading back probably won't hurt you if you're taking a receiver out of this group."

The only receiver Casserly has off the board by the 25th pick is Ole Miss' DK Metcalf. Casserly then has the Ravens taking the 5-foot-9, 166-pound Brown as the second receiver in the draft.

"I think this guy is a dynamic receiver," Casserly said of Brown. "I don't know if he's going to be [Indianapolis Colts receiver] T.Y. Hilton, but that's kind of the guy I see when I compare to a college player. That's a heck of a comparison."

Casserly believes heavily in the importance of separation in a receiver's skill set, something that Brown could excel at in the slot. Brown's combination of speed and lateral quickness could make him a better option for the Ravens than a bigger receiver like Metcalf. Metcalf, at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds, dwarfs Brown.

"Big guys don't separate as well as they run straight ahead sometimes," Casserly said. "To be able to run in a straight line and do a 40 is one thing, but to be able to change direction on a route, sometimes guys aren't as efficient at that as they are running a 40 straight ahead."

Casserly, however, does not think surrounding quarterback Lamar Jackson with a lot of speed is necessarily the best thing for the Ravens' offense. While it's hard to get a clear picture at what the offense will look like come Week 1, Casserly believes that the Ravens can't continue to feature the same style they did last year if they want to return to the playoffs.

Surrounding Jackson with a more dynamic assortment of weapons could help, but trading down to choose a wide receiver isn't the only route Casserly could see the team going in this year's draft. He sees NC State center Garrett Bradbury as a "10-year player" and one certainly worthy of a pick in the latter half of the first round. 

Casserly also mentioned Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell as a possible target to help shore up a defensive edge decimated by the losses of Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith.

One position that Casserly does not think the team should worry about in this year's draft is quarterback, despite concerns about Jackson's long-term health and talent.

"I'm not excited enough about the quarterbacks [after the top four] that I have looked at to say, 'Hey, this is a guy we should take in the middle rounds and develop,'" Casserly said.

For more from Casserly, listen to the full interview here:


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Oklahoma Athletics