With the sixteenth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select…
16. Baltimore Ravens: Takkarist McKinley, DE | UCLA
Damn Ravens picking right after the team that abandoned the city of Baltimore back in ’84. I’m going to go out on a limb and drop a random (completely non-researched) stat that this would be the first time in NFL draft history that a team is picking right after another team that used to play in the same city and zzzzzz. Alright, moving on. I actually had to do a double take when I saw the Ravens finished 7th in total defense last year and 1st in interceptions. I was ready to give them a corner in this draft thinking they had no secondary but they went out and signed corner Brandon Carr and safety Tony Jefferson to go along with Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith. Then they also brought back safety Ladarius Webb for depth after a brief release. Despite the Ravens successful defensive campaign in 2016, they finished 24th in sacks and just let go of veteran outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Meanwhile pass rushing specialist Terrell Suggs isn’t getting any younger, turning 35 this coming October. UCLA OLB/DE Tak McKinley looks like a Raven and is a blend between Dumervil and Suggs at 6’2”, 250 lbs. The Ravens need a stud pass rusher to team with Suggs and eventually take over for the long time Raven. Outside of CJ Mosley, the Ravens have pretty much swung and missed on a number of linebackers in the draft over the last decade really. Guys like Sergio Kindle, Courtney Upshaw, Arthur Brown and even Kamalei Correa have failed to make an impact on this Ravens D. McKinley has had quite the journey to get to where he is and would be another nice story for the Baltimore Ravens.
Of course the Ravens offense has some issues, specifically on the offensive line and at receiver. The retirement of veteran Steve Smith leaves a hole at the number 1 receiver spot. Despite drafting Breshad Perriman in the first round two years ago and bringing in Mike Wallace last offseason, the Ravens could still use a downfield threat for quarterback Joe Flacco. Perriman hasn’t been able to stay healthy and Wallace turns 31 this summer. A lot of mocks have Baltimore grabbing a receiver like Corey Davis and let’s not forget about tight end OJ Howard here if he’s still on the board. Odds are though general manager Ozzie Newsome doesn’t look to spend another first round pick on a receiver and opts to bring in a veteran from another team that gets cut into training camp. Offensive line could be a possibility after trading away center Jeremy Zuttah to San Fran and allowing right tackle Ricky Wagner to leave for Detroit. A tackle like Cam Robinson could be plugged in on the right side and give Baltimore bookend tackles for the next decade in Robinson and last years first round pick Ronnie Stanley. Halfway into the first round of this mock draft and can’t wait to see how off I am come April 27th. Ha, cheers!