The Ravens may need to rethink their draft strategy regarding cornerbacks. They haven’t drafted a cornerback in the first three rounds since 2011, when they took Jimmy Smith with the 27th overall pick.
Smith is still the Ravens’ best corner. However, he has been plagued by injuries in recent years, and lack of cornerback depth has become a glaring weakness for the Ravens, in a league that features many explosive wide receivers.
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According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., this year’s draft is loaded with talented corners. With the 16th overall pick, the Ravens can address their need at cornerback with someone who might be talented enough to start as a rookie.
“There’s a lot of corners in this draft that are going to go in the first round,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.
Many believe Marshon Lattimore of Ohio St. will be the first cornerback off the board, and will likely be gone before the Ravens can grab him. In his first mock draft, Kiper had Lattimore going No. 6 to the Jets.
However, the list of top-rated corners that could be available for the Ravens at No. 16 includes Marlon Humphrey of Alabama, Sidney Jones of Washington, Jourdan Lewis of Michigan, Teez Tabor of Florida, Cordrea Tankersley of Clemson, and Quincy Wilson of Florida.
The Ravens grabbed a promising corner in the fourth round last year in Tavon Young, who had a strong rookie season. But the Ravens may not have the luxury of waiting to take a cornerback this spring. Instead of taking the best player available at No. 16, the Ravens will have to consider taking the best corner available.