Would it make sense for the Ravens to draft Ohio St. running back Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 6 pick?
Only if the Ravens are convinced Elliott would be a 1,200-yard back for the next four or five years. Otherwise, the Ravens would be making a mistake, because:
1. They have multiple needs on defense, and can address one of them at No. 6.
2. They are already deep at running back with Justin Forsett and Buck Allen, along with Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West, Terrence Magee, and the expected arrival of the Trent Richardson experiment.
3. Elliott had 596 carries in college. Running backs, even young ones, can decline quickly once they reach a certain number of carries.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. created some buzz recently when he tabbed the Ravens picking Elliott with the No. 6 pick in his most recent mock draft.
It’s an out-of-the-box call, and it can’t be totally dismissed. Elliott ran for over 1,800 yards the past two seasons, and he can run inside, outside, and catch the football. If Elliott became the kind of player in the NFL that he was at Ohio St., he would give the Ravens a younger, faster back than they already have. He would make their offense more explosive,. Not only as a runner, but forcing safeties to creep into the box, making it easier for quarterback Joe Flacco and his wide receivers to attack defenses in the passing game.
However, Forsett gained 1,266 yards in 2014, and was on pace for another 1,000-yard season last year until he broke his arm in November. And while Forsett will turn 31 years old in October, the Ravens have multiple options behind Forsett if he is injured again, or shows sign of decline.
I think the Ravens would be best served taking Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, or Ohio St. defensive end Joey Bosa, or UCLA linebacker Myles Jack. One of those three should be available at No. 6. However, if the Ravens pull the riskier move and draft Elliott, it means they think he’ll be special. It also means they’ll be taking a huge gamble.
MORE RAVENS: Would City College's Tapper be good fit for Ravens?