Barring any trades, the Ravens are lined up for their highest draft pick (No. 6) since 2000. Assistant general manager Eric DeCosta has often said that teams picking high in the draft can't afford to "miss on the pick," so is there any added pressure on the Ravens this year, with such an uncharacteristically high pick?
"We feel the pressure, honestly, regardless if we’re picking 6 or 32," DeCosta said at the team's pre-draft news conference on Tuesday. "We’ve picked both. I think the players are better, but we still feel the same pressure. We felt pressure last year when we picked 26th."
In fact, DeCosta said, this year, "I'm actually feeling probably more pressure at pick 36 than I am at 6. I feel like if you’re picking sixth, you really only have to look at four or five players," and it's almost certain that they will land one of those elite players. (Not since drafting Jamal Lewis No. 5 overall in 2000 have the Ravens picked higher than they are slated to this year.)
But by early in the second round, at No. 36 overall, "there’s a lot more volatility," DeCosta said. "There’s a lot more different players you’re going to be looking at, a lot more combinations. So, I’ve been spending a lot more time thinking about 36 actually in the last couple of weeks, because there could be a lot of different players.
"We have to look at these guys and study these guys and scrutinize these guys on the field, off the field, the intangible work ethic, durability, football intelligence, ability, all of these different things to make sure we nail that pick.”
Incidentally, in two of the past five years the No. 36 overall pick has been a quarterback -- Derek Carr to the Raiders in 2014 and Colin Kaepernick to the 49ers in 2011. Other recent No. 36 overall picks include running back T.J. Yeldon to Jacksonville last year, cornerback Darrius Slay to the Lions in 2013 and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe to Denver in 2012.
If the Ravens don't land a cornerback such as Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves in the first round, picking one at No. 36 sounds like a possibility.
"I think you're going to see a run on corners probably between (picks) 20 and 45, right in there, where you might see five guys get picked," DeCosta said.