Roadblocked by Ian Kinsler at second base and Elvis Andrus at shortstop, Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar will likely begin the season with Triple-A Round Rock, according to T.R. Sullivan: The Rangers are leaning heavily on keeping Leury Garcia as their utility infielder so that Profar can play every day at Triple-A Round Rock. The…
You would expect the Ravens to draft a cornerback at some point Saturday, but even if they do, it might be too late.
The Ravens didn’t draft a cornerback in the first three rounds, the fifth straight year that has happened. Fifteen cornerbacks went off the board in Rounds 1 through 3, but none of them went to the Ravens.
Their last high draft pick at corner was Jimmy Smith, a first-round pick in 2011. Since 2013, the Ravens have only drafted three corners – the late Tray Walker (2015), Marc Anthony (2013), and Asa Jackson (2012).
At a position that is vitally important, the Ravens have not been very active in the draft. Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta defended that fact Friday night, and still believed the Ravens could find a quality cornerback Saturday.
“I think we will,” DeCosta said Friday night. “You need a little luck sometimes, and it depends on the board, but there’s still a lot of good players at that position and other positions. The challenge for us will be to find those guys.”
Cornerbacks the Ravens could target include Juston Burris of N. C. State, Rashard Robinson of LSU, Zack Sanchez of Oklahoma, D. J. White of Georgia Tech, and Tavon Young of Temple. But if cornerback play becomes an issue for the Ravens next season, they may look at this draft as another missed opportunity to improve at that position.
There is serious disagreement about how the Ravens have fared in the draft so far. However, here is something that cannot be argued. With eight picks still remaining, it is vitally important that the Ravens hit on the majority of their Day 3 picks.
“The pressure is on,” said Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta late Friday night. “We still have a lot of needs and a lot of really good players out there. We have a lot of guys that we’re going to target.”
The Ravens have already drafted left tackle Ronnie Stanley (first round), outside linebacker Kamalei Correa (second round), and defensive end Bronson Kaufusi (third round). However, many fans are dismayed that the Ravens traded back twice in the second round, and passed up the opportunity to draft either UCLA inside linebacker Myles Jack, or Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence.
The Jaguars took a risk on the talented Jack and his knee issues by drafting him with the second-round pick they obtained from the Ravens. Clearly, Jack’s medical issues scared the Ravens away. Meanwhile Spence went at No. 39 to the Buccaneers before the Ravens took Correa at No. 42.
Four years from now, we will see if Correa is having a better NFL career than either Jack or Spence. But general manager Ozzie Newsome believes he made the right move.
“K. C. (Correa) was higher on our board than he (Spence) was,” Newsome said.
By taking Correa and Kaufusi, the Ravens believe they have acquired two versatile defenders who can improve their pass rush. Those two players had 46 ½ sacks between them in college. The Ravens needed to help Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil create pressure on quarterbacks, and believe they have done so.
However, here are three questions to ask heading into Round 3:
1. Can the Ravens still find a quality cornerback, with 15 corners already off the board?
2. Will it really pay off to have five fourth-round picks?
The Ravens’ fourth-round picks on the current roster are running backs Buck Allen (2015) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (2014), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (2013), tight end Dennis Pitta (2010), outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (2015), and defensive end Brent Urban (2014).
However, the Ravens have missed on some other recent fourth-round picks like linebacker John Simon (2013), center Gino Gradkowski (2012), defensive back Christian Thompson (2012), and wide receiver Tandon Doss (2011).
3. Will the Ravens really use all eight picks they have left, or will they use some as trade bait?
If the Ravens draft eight more players, all of them are unlikely to make the roster, especially since they will also sign undrafted free agents.
Any way you slice it, the decisions the Ravens make Saturday will be crucial.
The Redskins are going into the third and final day of the NFL draft looking for some more talent, more Scot McCloughan-type “football players” who will fit in with the culture that the GM is trying to build.
And while they should be able to find some players who will help them, both immediately and in the long term, they are unlikely to find many who will be able to start for them in 2016.
Let’s look at last year. There were 156 players selected on the final day of the 2015 draft. Of those, only nine started in at least half of their teams’ games. Far more third-day draft picks, 101 to be exact, didn’t start a single game.
The Redskins had two late-round players who started games last year. Safety and nickel back Kyshoen Jarrett started five games and slot receiver Jamison Crowder started six.
It’s not impossible to find a full-time starter on draft Saturday. In 2012 the Redskins drafted Alfred Morris in the sixth round. He started 16 games as a rookie and went on to start 72 straight games in four seasons.
And there is Kirk Cousins, a fourth-round pick the same year Morris came out, who started as a backup for two years and took advantage when he got his chance as the full-time starter last year.
But Morris and Cousins are very much exceptions. The Redskins are not banking on finding any starters, just players who will be good role players, reserves, and special teams contributors. If they find a Morris or a Cousins today it is a bonus.