Baltimore Ravens: Taylor Lewan

On our weekly Baltimore Ravens chat, I was asked to address the team's different scenarios in the first round: dream, great, most realistic and awful. I thought I would share my thoughts in more detail on each throughout today.

Here is the Ravens' dream scenario ... The Ravens draft Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan with the No. 17 overall pick.

Let's be up front about this. The odds of this happening are 100 to 1. This is like the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl. That's what makes it a "dream" scenario.

Lewan is the third-best offensive tackle in this draft behind Auburn's Greg Robinson and Texas A&M's Jake Matthews. He represents the biggest upgrade the Ravens could make at right tackle, the biggest hole on the team. Lewan also has the ability to eventually play left tackle.

So, why would the Ravens have any shot at Lewan? He is dealing with a couple off-the-field issues. His arraignment on one charge of aggravated assault and two charges of assault and battery is currently set for nine days after the draft. Lewan has also denied allegations that he intimidated a woman in 2009 who said she was sexually assaulted by one of his former teammates. These red flags could scare some teams.

Still, it's difficult to put together a mock where Lewan falls out of the first round. Mel Kiper Jr. believes there's a chance he could go as high as No. 2 to the St. Louis Rams. Even if Lewan doesn't go there, he would still need to make it past the Oakland Raiders (No. 5), Atlanta Falcons (No. 6), Buffalo Bills (No. 9), New York Giants (No. 12) and Rams again at No. 13.

The Ravens aren't banking on this happening. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta believes the top four tackles (Robinson, Matthews, Lewan and Notre Dame's Zack Martin) will all be gone before the Ravens are on the clock. If somehow Lewan does slide, it would certainly be a dream come true for the Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens' draft success has been built on talented players falling to them, from Ed Reed (2002) to Terrell Suggs (2003) to Haloti Ngata (2006).

So, who is going to slide down to the Ravens at No. 17 on Thursday? The Ravens would be extremely happy if a top-rated player like Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron or Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix slipped out of the top half of the first round.

But ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay feels the Ravens should temper their expectations.

"To be totally blunt with you, I don't think any of those three wind up getting to 17," McShay said. "I would be shocked if any of those three did."

Some believe Lewan, the draft's third-best tackle, could fall because of off-the-field issues. McShay projects Lewan to go to the Oakland Raiders at No. 5 or the Atlanta Falcons at No. 6.

"There is a 2 percent chance that Lewan gets out of the top six," McShay said.

McShay doesn't like the odds of Ebron or Clinton-Dix falling because there are too many teams needing a tight end or safety. He sees Ebron going to the Buffalo Bills (No. 9), Tennessee Titans (No. 11), New York Giants (No. 12) or possibly the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 15). McShay thinks Clinton-Dix will get selected by either the Minnesota Vikings (No. 8), Detroit Lions (No. 10), Titans (No. 11) or Dallas Cowboys (No. 16).

"It's much more likely they're looking at [Virginia offensive tackle] Morgan Moses," McShay said. "I know they like [Notre Dame offensive lineman] Zack Martin, but I don't know if they're going to take him at No. 17. He's a player that a lot of teams in that range are really interested in and hopeful that he can play right tackle."

Martin has been a popular pick for the Ravens in mock drafts. McShay had the Ravens taking Martin in his latest mock draft.

But Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said last week that the top four offensive tackles in this draft -- Auburn's Greg Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Lewan and Martin -- will "most likely" be gone before the Ravens pick at No. 17.

With all of these players not expected to slide, do the Ravens even know who is going to be sitting there at No. 17?

"I think I can predict it. I think I know who we're going to get," DeCosta said. "I could give you three names and it'll be one of those three guys."
With 10 days until the NFL draft begins, here is another potential draft prospect for the Baltimore Ravens:

TAYLOR LEWAN

Lewan
Position: Offensive tackle

School: Michigan

Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 309

Round projection: First

File this away: Lewan added 50 pounds since his senior year of high school, when he made the switch from defensive end.

Good: Lewan has the size, speed and athleticism to become a starting left tackle in the NFL. He's rated as the third-best offensive tackle prospect by Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. Lewan combines a great motor with a nasty streak. No team is going to find an offensive tackle with more game experience (four-year starter in Big Ten) and more quickness (posted best 40 time of any offensive lineman at the NFL combine). There is a high ceiling for Lewan, who has only played this position for five years.

Bad: Lewan is dealing with a couple off-the-field issues. His arraignment on one charge of aggravated assault and two charges of assault and battery is currently set for nine days after the draft. Lewan has also denied allegations that he intimidated a woman in 2009 who said she was sexually assaulted by one of his former teammates. On the field, Lewan is considered more of a finesse blocker than a mauler. He won't drive defenders in short-yardage situations. Lewan is still raw as a technician and will commit penalties because of that.

Bottom line: It's highly unlikely that Lewan falls to the Ravens at No. 17. But you can't rule it out completely because teams could be scared off by his off-the-field incidents. Most believe Lewan will go No. 6 to the Atlanta Falcons, and Kiper wouldn't be surprised if the St. Louis Rams selected him at No. 2. If Lewan somehow slid to the Ravens, they would jump at the chance to take him. He's got the awareness and agility to be a perfect fit in the Ravens' zone-blocking scheme.

What Lewan said: “I don't know if I have swagger. My main focus in my game is to give my running back an opportunity to gain yards and give my quarterback the opportunity to be successful in the pocket. My job doesn’t get me highlights or stuff like that. I love doing what I do, whether it's right tackle, left tackle, center or guard. It doesn't matter as long as I have the opportunity.”
This week’s Baltimore Ravens mailbag touches on mock drafts, last year's NFL draft and this year's draft. As you can see, there's a lot of interest in the draft. On a side note, you can follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. Here are your questions and my answers:

 
The most-asked question I have received since the Baltimore Ravens' season ended is: Who are the Ravens drafting in May?

Kevin Weidl, one of the draft experts at ESPN.com, has a few names for you. His breakdown of all of the draft needs for AFC North teams is an Insider post, Insider which means you'll need a subscription to read the entire piece.

But here are some potential draft targets mentioned by Weidl (along with comment from me):

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan: He isn't at the same level of former Michigan tackle Jake Long, but his size, athleticism and mentality makes him a first-round pick.

OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame: He possesses great strength but his lack of ideal length could make him better suited for guard.

OT Morgan Moses, Virginia: He's a superb pass-protector who allowed two sacks in 506 pass attempts.

G David Yankey, Stanford: His athleticism and footwork allows him to pull and open up holes in the running game.

TIGHT ENDS

Eric Ebron, North Carolina: He led all ACC tight ends in catches and built a reputation for making impressive catches on the outside and down the seam.

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech: The 6-foot-5, 260-pound target set the FBS record with 1,352 receiving yards, the most ever for a tight end.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington: A former college basketball player, he won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end this season.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa: A solid three-year starter who has reliable hands and is a fine route-runner.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Evans, Texas A&M: A mismatch nightmare at 6-5, 225 pounds, he posted personal highs in receiving yards (1,394) and receiving touchdowns (12).

Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State: Raw and athletic, he caught everyone's attention by heading into the BCS National Championship Game with nine touchdowns in his past five games.

Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt: Other than his strength and ability, what stands out is he became the SEC all-time leading receiver without consistent quarterbacking in his career.

Brandin Cooks, Oregon State: A smaller playmaker (5-10), he broke Pac-12 records with 128 receptions for 1,730 yards this season.

Jarvis Landry, LSU: He recorded 15 touchdown catches and had six games with at least 100 yards receiving over the last two seasons.

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