Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Wide receiver
Although the Ravens intend to maintain the basics of outgoing OC Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme, new OC Marc Trestman's philosophy differs from Kubiak's. They both teach West Coast principles, but the foundation of Trestman's offense is the passing game, whereas Kubiak was passionately committed to the run. In 13 seasons as an NFL head coach, assistant head coach, or offensive coordinator, Trestman's offenses have never ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass attempts. Eight times they've finished in the top ten. The Ravens need an Alshon Jeffery-style receiver to book end Steve Smith Sr. and eventually emerge as a true "No. 1." Sitting on ten draft picks -- including a whopping nine in the first five rounds -- expect GM Ozzie Newsome to draft multiple wideouts this year.
No. 2 Team Need: Running back
Justin Forsett had a career year in Kubiak's zone-run scheme in 2014, but Kubiak is gone and well-traveled Forsett is entering his age-30 season. Forsett is a short-term stopgap whose likeliest 2015 role is a committee back. Lorenzo Taliaferro is a questionable fit in Trestman's offense. Look for the Ravens to invest early-round draft capital at running back, where Trestman prioritizes pass-catching ability.
No. 3 Team Need: Tight end
The Ravens could also use a talent injection at pass rusher, where Pernell McPhee bolted in free agency, and both Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are getting long in the tooth. Cornerback is another position at which I could envision Newsome investing a high draft pick. We only list three needs in these pieces, however, and tight end stands above due to Dennis Pitta's (hip) wholly uncertain 2015 availability and Trestman's reliance on a tight end in the passing game. (Martellus Bennett had back-to-back career years under Trestman in Chicago.) I like Crockett Gillmore's potential, but don't know how the Ravens view him long term. They may look to complement Gillmore with a more fluid, catch-first "move" tight end. They flirted with "move" guy Rob Housler in free agency.
Norris’ Mock Draft:
Round 1 (26): DL Henry Anderson, Stanford - I know DL was not a top-three need as listed by Evan, but over the years it has become apparent Ozzie Newsome builds his team from the inside out. Henry Anderson reminds me so much of Chris Canty, a player the team just re-signed. The question is, how long will 32-year-old Canty and other veterans stay on the roster? The Ravens have seen young DL make an impact early on. Anderson can be the next. He wins with length, leverage, hand use and athleticism.
Round 2 (58): WR Devin Smith, Ohio State - This is an ideal landing spot for Devin Smith. The poster boy of “where he wins” in this draft class, Smith can dominate the downfield portions of the field. Not only does he have vertical speed but also a keen ability to win in contested situations. The rest of his game is a projection.
Round 3 (90): RB Duke Johnson, Miami - Some might wonder if Duke Johnson makes it to the third round. It sounds about right to me, since it seems many feel he is a complementary piece rather than a bellcow back. If that is the case, Johnson should be the first non-foundation back off the board. He is explosive and has displayed comfort as a receiver. Jay Ajayi might be the perfect RB for Trestman, but should be off the board at No. 90.
Round 4 (122): CB Bryce Callahan, Rice - A shorter corner with plenty of athleticism. Callahan has reportedly visited the Bucs, Browns, Titans and Chargers. A number of recent Shrine Game cornerbacks have surprised early in their careers. Callahan can be the next.
Round 4 (125): WR Antwan Goodley, Baylor - I’d still call Goodley an athlete playing receiver, but the more I watch, the more I like. Especially at the third day price tag. Goodley has a RB body and creates after the catch. He surprised me with his hands at the Senior Bowl, making grabs away from his frame.
Round 4 (136): EDGE Marcus Rush, Michigan State - A very good athlete who was overlooked in Michigan State’s aggressive and physical defense. Rush is still learning how to separate at the point of attack, but he focuses on a shoulder and will chase ball carriers or quarterbacks down the line. He is worth a fourth-round investment.
Round 5 (158): RB Josh Robinson, Miss State - Another pass catching back. Robinson is a bowling ball who might lack a jump cut or lateral quickness, but he does make some unique lateral moves with footwork. In fact, unique sums up Robinson’s evaluation.
Round 5 (171): TE E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State - The receiving tight end Evan asked for. Other options for that role include Wes Saxton and MyCole Pruitt. If the team is hoping for more than a role player, an earlier selection will be made.
Round 6 (204): WR Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon - A late round small school prospect, Williams has drawn plenty of attention from the NFL despite being rarely mentioned by the media. Specifically from the Patriots and Lions.
Ravens Current Offensive Depth Chart
QB: Joe Flacco
RB: Justin Forsett
WR: Kamar Aiken
WR: Marlon Brown
LT: Eugene Monroe
LG: Kelechi Osemele
RG: Marshal Yanda
RT: Rick Wagner
Ravens Current Defensive Depth Chart
LE: Timmy Jernigan
RE: Chris Canty
NT: Brandon Williams
OLB: Terrell Suggs
OLB: Courtney Upshaw
ILB: C.J. Mosley
ILB: Daryl Smith
CB: Jimmy Smith
CB: Lardarius Webb
FS: Will Hill
SS: Kendrick Lewis