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.