2020’s NFL Draft starts tomorrow, with the excitement building amongst fans. Mock drafts are a tradition for draft season, with this my attempt at one for the Baltimore Ravens. They are a SuperBowl contender and have few needs going into draft day. Their biggest needs are at linebacker, edge rusher, interior offensive line, and wide receiver.
The Ravens have nine picks this year, with seven in the first four rounds. Baltimore has plenty of draft capital to fill their roster needs, or even to trade up to select a player they covet. This is my own opinion as a fan and I’m in no way claiming to be a draft expert. Let me know by commenting below your thoughts on my mock!
Round One, Pick 28
Kenneth Murray | Linebacker | Oklahoma
Baltimore’s biggest need is at linebacker. If the season started today they would start journeyman L.J. Fort and undrafted free agent Chris Board. GM Eric DeCosta prioritized defensive additions in free agency, with linebacker their only spot they have yet to address.
They can fix their linebacker woes by selecting Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma. Murray could go anywhere between pick 20 and 32, so Baltimore may need to trade up a few spots if they’ve fallen in love with him. Murray is a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine who can anchor this defense for ten years. He is a high-character guy that can quickly take a leadership role from early on.
Round Two, Pick 55
John Simpson | Interior Offensive Line | Clemson
Baltimore needs to replace future Hall-of-Fame guard Marshal Yanda, who retired this year. Interior offensive line is not a sexy pick, but if Baltimore wants to get to SuperBowl 55 they will need their line to play at a high level. They have good depth at the position but need a use a high pick to solidify at guard.
They can do this by selecting John Simpson from Clemson. He can anchor their line and specializes in creating running lanes. This makes him a perfect fit in the Ravens offense. He needs some refinement with his pass protection, but Simpson can be a very good right guard on Baltimore’s sneaky-good offensive line.
Round Two, Pick 60
Michael Pittman Jr. | Wide Receiver | USC
GM Eric DeCosta has prioritized improving Baltimore’s defense this off-season, but their offense also needs a little help. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is the most dynamic runner in the NFL, but he needs some wide receiver help.
After selecting burner Hollywood Brown last year, Baltimore can get a productive possession receiver with pick 60. Michael Pittman Jr. from USC is a perfect number two receiver in Baltimore’s offense, giving Jackson a new favorite target. Pittman excels at contested catches and 50/50 balls and will be the perfect complement to Brown’s speed.
Round Three, Pick 92
Jabari Zuniga | Edge | Florida
Edge rusher is another defensive positional need for Baltimore. They used the franchise-tag to keep leading sack man Matt Judon, however, this only keeps him in Baltimore for one year. Behind him are promising prospects such as Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson, but both have yet to fully develop at the NFL level.
With pick 92 late in the third round, I have them taking Jabari Zuniga from Florida. He could be an immediate sub-package rusher for Baltimore, such as on third-down. He had some injuries at Florida and wasn’t utilized best in college. As an outside rusher, he can be an immediate impact player in Baltimore.
Round Three, Pick 106
Van Jefferson | Wide Receiver | Florida
Not content with selecting just one receiver, Baltimore takes advantage of a deep receiver class to select Van Jefferson. This selection makes it back-to-back Florida Gators selection, on both sides of the ball. Jefferson is one of the premier route runners in this class and will be a mid-round steal for Baltimore.
He projects primarily as a slot receiver in the NFL, and he can compliment veteran Willie Snead. With Brown, Pittman, and Jefferson, Baltimore would have a productive young nucleus at receiver. Selecting Jefferson would help Baltimore’s offense be unstoppable.
Round Four, Pick 129
Albert Okwuegbunam | Tight End | Missouri
Baltimore traded former first-round pick, Hayden Hurst, to the Atlanta Falcons last month, and their reliance on tight end means this a position they need to address. Mark Andrews has developed into Jackson’s best target, with Nick Boyle a top blocking tight end.
This value at the position means they can afford to take a risk by selecting Albert Okwuegbunam. He has elite speed and ideal size, but has struggled with injuries in college. This is not a good omen for the NFL, but could Baltimore limit this risk by using him as a rotational piece?
Round Four, Pick 134
Davion Taylor | Linebacker | Colorado
Baltimore double-dips at another positional need, this case linebacker, to add depth to a thin position for the Ravens. After selecting Murray with their first-round pick, they come back late in the fourth round to select Davion Taylor from Colorado.
Taylor is a projection pick, a player with great athletic traits but who needs refinement. Religious beliefs stopped him playing high-school football, but he can be coached to become a starting linebacker in Baltimore. He will be a project pick, but could easily become a star in several years.
Round Five, Pick 170
Javon Leake | Running Back | Maryland
A sneaky positional need for Baltimore is at running back, with Mark Ingram turning 31 in December. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill have potential, but they may decide to take another back this draft to solidify the position.
With pick 170 they could take a developmental back in Javon Leake from Maryland. Leake was used in a rotation for Maryland, so he has a lot of tread left on his tires. He’s a good outside runner who gets to top speed quickly and can be a good chunk play, rotational runner in Baltimore. The running back position is being devalued in the NFL, so could Baltimore go with a rotational approach?
Round Seven, Pick 225
Carter Coughlin | Edge | Minnesota
With their ninth and final pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, I think Baltimore will follow their best-player available mantra whilst also filling a positional need. They can add tweener Carter Coughlin to help provide depth with their edge rushers.
Coughlin has high football IQ but lacks size and needs to add hand technique to his game. He can flourish as a situational rusher, and his high IQ means he could help at multiple positions if asked to. Special teams success will be key to him making the team.
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