On the clock with the 17th pick of the NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens have a number of options. In our mock, they get a very good prospect who has fallen a bit more than many other projections suggest.
In 2013, the Baltimore Ravens looked to repeat as Super Bowl Champions after winning the big one after the 2012 season. Instead, the Ravens fell out of the playoff hunt, finishing with an 8-8 record - a pair of games behind the 10-6 Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC North division title and a game back of the last Wild Card spot.
The Ravens had issues on their offensive line, though, and they traded a pair of 2014 draft picks to the Jaguars for left tackle Eugene Monroe. That allowed them to move Michael Oher back to right tackle and slide second-year man Kelechi Osemele inside to guard. Still, the Ravens' rushing game, long a strength of their team behind Ray Rice, struggled mightily as the team ended up 30th in the NFL in rushing yards. During this offseason, Monroe re-signed in Baltimore but Oher departed in free agency for Tennessee, leaving a hole at right tackle.
Baltimore also traded away veteran receiver Anquan Boldin to the 49ers before the 2013 season, a move which left Joe Flacco with few veteran options to catch his passes. Dennis Pitta's injury further depleted the receiving corps, and the Ravens are sure to look at wideouts in this year's draft.
On defense, Ray Lewis retired and Ed Reed left in free agency, so the Ravens replaced them with veteran Daryl Smith and rookie Matt Elam. Smith was a star at inside linebacker, while Elam went through some growing pains (and also broke Randall Cobb's fibula in week 6). Overall, though, the defense held together well, while the offensive regression was a major culprit for the Ravens' decline.
With the 17th pick, the Baltimore Ravens select:
Player: Taylor Lewan
Position: Offensive Tackle
Year: Senior (RS)
In this situation, I think the Ravens pass on the remaining receivers and instead go with the best player left on the board, who also happens to fill their need at tackle. Lewan should be able to slide in as the starter at right tackle from day one.
Lewan manned the left tackle position for the Wolverines for four years, starting 48 games at the position. Many have speculated that he would have been a top-20 pick if he had declared for the 2013 draft, but in this case we find him still in that range. Lewan is massive at 6'8" and 315 pounds, and he moves surprisingly well for a man his size - he had the best 40-yard dash time among all offensive linemen at the Scouting Combine at 4.87 seconds and he was among the position leaders in the cone and shuttle drills as well.
He is thought of as more of a power blocker than an athletic lineman, though, and that power would be put to good use in the running game which should be a bigger focus for the Ravens' offense. Gary Kubiak is the new offensive coordinator, and judging from his offenses in Denver and Houston he will make the run game a major focus in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. Lewan would be an excellent tackle to help the Ravens solidify the offensive front.
The big question marks around Lewan revolve around off-the-field incidents. He is involved in an incident which resulted in rape allegations against a teammate who was later dismissed from the team, and also could still face misdemeanor assault charges after an incident late last season. Still, the Ravens are thought of as having a positive locker room environment, and Baltimore would be a great landing spot for Lewan.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||Teddy Bridgewater||QB||Louisville|
|9||Buffalo Bills||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M|
|10||Detroit Lions||Justin Gilbert||CB||Oklahoma State|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Aaron Donald||DT||Pittsburgh|
|12||New York Giants||Eric Ebron||TE||North Carolina|
|13||St. Louis Rams||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||S||Alabama|
|14||Chicago Bears||Darqueze Dennard||CB||Michigan State|
|15||Pittsburgh Steelers||Anthony Barr||OLB||UCLA|
|16||Dallas Cowboys||Timmy Jernigan||DT||Florida State|
|17||Baltimore Ravens||Taylor Lewan||OT||Michigan|
Coming up this afternoon, Brendan breaks down the 18th pick in the draft, held by the New York Jets.