Thursday, February 6, 2014
Kiper/McShay mock draft reax: Ravens
By Jamison Hensley
As you know, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay don't often agree. But the ESPN draft experts are of the same mind when it comes to the Baltimore Ravens' first-round draft pick.
Both are projecting North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron to go to the Ravens at the No. 16 overall pick (the Ravens will have a coin flip with the Dallas Cowboys to determine whether they're choosing 16th or 17th).
The selection of Ebron makes more sense if the Ravens add a wide receiver such as Denver's Eric Decker in free agency. This would give quarterback Joe Flacco a significant upgrade in targets. The Ravens would have Decker, Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown at wide receiver to go along with Ebron and Dennis Pitta (if he's re-signed or given the franchise tag) at tight end.
Tight end is the thinnest position for the Ravens right now. Pitta, Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark are all unrestricted free agents. So, the Ravens will likely take a tight end at some point.
Ebron has good value in the middle of the first round. He led all ACC tight ends in receptions and built a reputation for making impressive catches on the outside and down the seam.
Kiper likened Ebron to wide receiver Anquan Boldin in terms of being a trusted target.
"Ebron is the kind of new-breed tight end who can be split out, line up in the slot or take a hit from a strong side linebacker and get into a route where he becomes a constant matchup threat and a likely winner for contested passes," Kiper wrote.
The other position to watch for the Ravens is wide receiver. In McShay's mock, the top three receivers (Clemson's Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M's Mike Evans and USC's Marqise Lee) are taken in the first 13 picks. In Kiper's mock, Watkins and Evans are gone but Lee is still on the board when the Ravens are drafting.