The Baltimore Ravens might not have a great track record in recent years in terms of drafting offensive players, but that’s the way we see their focus leaning as we sit a little less than three months from the 2018 NFL draft.
According to a team source — depending on how free agency shakes out — it would not be surprising to see the Ravens spend more draft capital on that side of the ball than on defense. Some of the team’s biggest needs appear to be on the offensive side of the ball, and the Ravens might not be big players in the open market.
“[Ravens GM] Ozzie [Newsome] has been dialed in on the one side of the ball,” the source tells us. "He's been looking at offense pretty much."
That includes at the Senior Bowl, where he was seen paying attention to what looked like a good group of tight ends, a decent WR crop and some intriguing quarterbacks. The Ravens also could use some offensive line help, and there were a few higher-round interior blockers who might make sense.
The big question would be at quarterback — will the Ravens consider using a Day 1 or 2 pick on one? It’s certainly possible. Joe Flacco’s contract likely keeps him tethered to the team for the next few years, but he’s now dealt with knee and back injuries the past few seasons and might be past his prime, even with a late-season improvement, at age 33.
One of the more intriguing prospects at the Senior Bowl was Wyoming QB Josh Allen. Head coach John Harbaugh — who said after the season the Ravens will discuss drafting a QB — was seen on the sidelines watching Allen and the North Team practices on each of the first two days of the event.
“We’ll know more [about the possibility of drafting a QB high] once we compare notes,” the source said, talking about when scouts and coaches each submit their final grades on players.
Of course, Newsome’s track record on drafting quarterbacks and receivers has been spotty over the years. But a few players we hear they might have spent a little more time looking at in Mobile, Ala. include Allen, Oklahoma State WR James Washington, South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert and San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny (among others, of course).
Allen is likely a first-round pick, despite an up-and-down Senior Bowl week that started slowly but finished strong; he might not even be there when the Ravens select with the 16th overall selection. Washington and Goedert figure to be possibilities as early as the middle of Round 1 but could trickle into Round 2. Penny figures to be a Day 2 pick (Rounds 2 or 3) after some Senior Bowl practice struggles but a fine performance in the game itself.
The Ravens’ first four selections last year were on defense. Three of their first four in 2016 were on that side of the ball. Dating back to the 2013 draft, 13 of the Ravens’ 17 Day 1 and 2 picks were on defense. We think that will change in 2018.