How the Ravens ‘get big’ in the draft
Do the Ravens need to ‘think big’ early in the draft?
There are needs in the Ravens’ roster, but The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec thinks it makes sense for the team to strengthen the offensive and defensive lines early in the next draft.
“The most successful Ravens teams all had the ability to control the line of scrimmage,” Zrebiec wrote. “Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta will surely have that on his mind this offseason as he works to improve a team that finished 8-9 this season and whose roster has been drained by injuries. The Ravens have a myriad of needs, but it’s hard to stray too far from their offensive and defensive fronts.”
Zrebiec noted that Athletic’s Dane Brugler made the Ravens “fat” in his two-round mock draft.
Brugler mocked Georgia defensive tackle Travon Walker (6-foot-5, 275 pounds) to the Ravens with the 14th overall pick, and Ohio State offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) in the second round at No. 45 overall.
Zrebiec explained the pros and cons of these selections.
“The Ravens are looking for versatile defensive linemen and Walker can line up pretty much anywhere with his size and skill set,” Zrebiec wrote. “Some scouts even think he has the athleticism to play at the forefront of the NFL, although he probably looks best in a 3-4 defense at the defensive end. That would make him the likely successor to [Calais] Campbell if he moves on.
“As for Petit-Frère in the second round, the Ravens’ need for offensive tackle depth is well documented. … He’s tall with an ability and desire to finish in the running game. He’s also extremely athletic for a player to line his waist and has proven to be a tight blocker in Ohio State’s running scheme.There are concerns about how he will fare as a pass blocker at the next level, but he has a lot to work on in terms of strength and speed.
Regarding the arguments against the selection of Walker and Little Brother, Zrebiec wrote: “The Ravens will have to be really convinced that Walker will develop as a pass thrower to the next level. There is a lot to like about Walker and Brugler isn’t alone in his view that the former Bulldog could very well become one of the best defensive players in this draft class. But to justify being picked in the first half of the first round, Walker will have to be more than a dominant defender to race to the next level.
“Any questions about Little Brother would center on the fit. The Ravens allowed the most sacks in franchise history in 2021. Only the Chicago Bears gave up more sacks than the Ravens last season. And many questions about Petit-Frère revolve around his technique and ability to block passes.The best tackles, however, fly off the board, so there will be red flags on just about every offensive tackle made. after the first day.
For a first look at what the pundits expect from the Ravens with the 14th overall pick, click here.