Perfect Picks: Baltimore Ravens
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
The Ravens stumbled at the playoff stage in 2020, failing to improve on their 14-2 record the year before. With one of the most electric young playmakers in Lamar Jackson, the Ravens must add talent to remain in the hunt of a competitive AFC.
Round 1 - Pick 27 - Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
There was slight cause for concern early in the off season process for the Ravens. Right tackle Orlando Brown Jr had a solid season filling in on the left side for Ronnie Stanley in 2020. That showing led him to announce via twitter that he would be expecting blindside money when his contract comes up for renewal shortly. That coupled with a need on the interior makes the offensive line a more pressing need then first considered.
That’s why Alijah Vera-Tucker out of USC makes a lot of sense with this pick. Vera-Tucker stood up well being moved from guard to tackle in the Trojans shortened 2020. That versatility and the Brown situation means the Ravens should have heavy interest if he remains on the board at this point. Vera-Tucker does struggle with speed off the edge but is excellent in close quarters and the best interior lineman in the draft. If Brown stays, the Ravens should look to move Bradley Bozeman back to his college position of center and plug AVT in at guard.
Round 2 - Pick 58 - Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
Remember when Lamar Jackson was excelling with multiple tight ends in his offense? Well at this point of the draft the initial run on wide receivers left the board lacking in top end talent. So why not take a de facto wideout in Brevin Jordan. Jordan fits the bill as a tight end who is at his best split out in the formation.
Jordan’s athleticism and receiving traits are excellent, making him a dynamic threat who can pose serious questions even of nickel cornerbacks. He would compliment the bigger more traditional tight end like Mark Andrews perfectly. While his blocking may only be serviceable for now, it feels like Jordan is going under the radar. He is in the shadow of Kyle Pitts but outside of the Florida phenom Jordan could be the next best tight end in the class.
Read my colleague Oli Hodgkinson’s interview with Brevin Jordan here:
Mid Round Gem - Pick 131 - Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest
Outside of Marquise Brown there are a lot of question marks when it comes to the weapons at Lamar Jackson’s disposal for next year. In this mock we have already given him a talented tight end in Jordan, now he gets a reliable pass catcher in Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt.
Surratt is likely to drop in what is a deep receiver draft. We have seen it with plenty of wideouts who have excellent ability but struggle with separation. Surratt is a true competitor at the catch point and a solid route runner. He will get overshadowed by the speed demons but whoever takes him should get a tidy player dedicated to honing his craft. That projects to be a rotational piece in Baltimore with the potential for more down the line.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 169 - Darius Stills, DT, West Virginia
The Ravens need to add further depth to their defensive line unit with experienced stars Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe on expiring contracts. While it might not be a priority in the early rounds, they should be looking to bolster their options when it gets to this point of the draft.
Darius Stills is a versatile defensive tackle out of West Virginia. He has played in an odd and even front across the line. While he may be more suited as a 3-tech in a 4-3 defense due to his size, 6’1, his pass rush ability will work in any system. Stills aligned over both centers and guards and has a fast get-off with powerful hands. He would be a useful addition to the pass rush rotation in Baltimore.
Draft In Full:
27. Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC (OL)
58. Brevin Jordan, Miami (TE)
104. Shaka Toney, Penn State (Edge)
131. Sage Surratt, Wake Forest (WR)
169. Darius Stills, West Virginia (DT)
184. Brady Breeze, Oregon (S)
211. Brendan Jaimes, Nebraska (OT)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com.