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On the clock: Five questions Ravens fans should ask before the NFL Draft

On the clock: Five questions Ravens fans should ask before the NFL Draft

With the sixth pick in the NFL draft, the Ravens select?

The day has finally come to answer that question. As you get ready for tonight’s draft, here are five things Ravens fans should be asking:

1: What will the Chargers do at No. 3?

That’s when the suspense begins, because we know quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be the first two players selected. The Chargers could go at least four different ways - Mississippi left tackle Laremy Tunsil, Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley, Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, or Florida defensive back Jalen Ramsey. All of those players are on the Ravens’ radar, and the Chargers’ decision starts the domino effect that will trickle down to No. 6.

2. Will the Ravens trade down, and if so, how far?

The odds are against the Ravens trading down, but it could happen. The No. 6 pick has plenty of value, and the Ravens could get phone calls from teams looking to trade up for Stanley, Tunsil, Ohio St. running back Ezekiel Elliott, Michigan St. left tackle Jack Conklin, or Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.  If the Ravens do trade down, don’t expect them to fall back farther than No. 15. The Titans hold that pick, and could offer a bundle to get Stanley or Tunsil.

3. If the Cowboys don’t take Elliott at No. 4, will the Ravens?

It would be a daring move for the Ravens to take a running back at No. 6, when they are deep at that position, and have so many other needs. But for weeks, we’ve heard some scouts and draft experts say Elliott will be an elite NFL back who runs effectively inside and outside, and catches passes. What if the Ravens believe Elliott will be as good, or better, than Ray Rice was in his prime? If they believe that, the Ravens taking Elliott could really shake up this draft.

4. Would taking a chance on UCLA inside linebacker Myles Jack be worth it for the Ravens?

Speculation is heavy that Jack will fall out of the top 10 due to concern about his surgically-repaired knee. But for argument’s sake, what if Jack is one of the league’s best inside linebackers for at least five seasons before needing more major knee surgery? Having Jack and C. J. Mosley would give the Ravens perhaps the league’s premier inside linebacker combo. If doctors have not advised the Ravens to take Jack off their board, they have to consider Jack if he is there at No. 6.

5. Will either Ramsey or Ohio St. defensive end Joey Bosa fall to No. 6?

I think both will be gone, especially Ramsey. But I’m pretty sure the Ravens would gladly take either. Getting a versatile defensive back like Ramsey, or possibly the best pass rusher in the draft in Bosa, is a likely best-case scenario for Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. Until somebody drafts Ramsey or Bosa, that dream could become reality.

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How will Jaguars' choice at No. 5 impact Ravens at No. 6?

How will Jaguars' choice at No. 5 impact Ravens at No. 6?

Picking one spot ahead of the Ravens, could the Jaguars snag a player the Ravens covet badly?

That is one scenario to watch once the draft begins Thursday night. The Jaguars own the No. 5 pick, and will directly impact what the Ravens do at No. 6. Here’s my take on what the Jaguars could do, and how that would impact the Ravens:

What the Jaguars won’t do:

I can’t see the Jaguars drafting Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner, Ohio St. running back Ezekiel Elliott, Mississippi left tackle Laremy Tunsil, or Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley. The Jaguars already have a strong defensive line featuring Malik Jackson and Jared Odrick. Buckner doesn’t fill one of their bigger needs. The same is true for Tunsil and Stanley, because the Jaguars have Luke Joeckel at left tackle, the second pick overall in 2013. The Jaguars don’t need Elliott at running back, because they signed Chris Ivory in free agency and drafted T. J. Yeldon last year.

What the Jaguars might do:

Here are the three players I think Jacksonville is most likely to draft, in no particular order – Ohio St. defensive end Joey Bosa, UCLA inside linebacker Myles Jack, and Florida defensive back Jalen Ramsey.

How that impacts the Ravens:

If Tunsil and Stanley both get to No. 5, I don’t think the Jaguars will take either. That means the Ravens would have a chance to draft their top-rated left tackle. If that scenario happens, I think the Ravens will draft Tunsil. But if Tunsil goes to the Chargers at No. 3, and if Ramsey is gone by No. 6 as well, the Ravens will have a tougher decision.

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Five questions Ravens must ponder with No. 6 pick

Five questions Ravens must ponder with No. 6 pick

The Ravens can’t afford to miss with the sixth pick in the draft, especially coming off a 5-11 season.

Here are five questions to ponder as the Ravens consider options for Thursday night’s first round:

1. Would Ohio St. defensive end Joey Bosa be a good fit in the Ravens’ 3-4 scheme?

Pass-rushing as a defensive end in a 4-3 was Bosa’s forte in college. He doesn’t have much experience rushing from a standup position, or dropping back in pass coverage. If Bosa is a one-dimensional player in the NFL, he needs to be a premier pass rusher to justify being the No. 6 pick.

2. Is taking UCLA inside linebacker Myles Jack too risky?

Concern about Jack’s knee makes him a wild card heading into this draft. The Ravens’ first-round pick in 2015, wide receiver Breshad Perriman, missed his entire rookie year with a knee injury. If the Ravens take Jack and he has knee issues next season, the Ravens will take plenty of heat.

3. Is Mississippi left tackle Laremy Tunsil elite?

If quarterback Joe Flacco can be asked that question, so can Tunsil. Picking Tunsil could pay huge dividends if he becomes a top-10 tackle and secures Flacco’s blindside. But if Tunsil is just “a guy”, the Ravens will be better off addressing one of their needs on defense.

4. What kind if NFL pass rusher will Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner be?

Can Bucker play the run in a 3-4? Check. Would he give the Ravens a young, talented defensive line group joining Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, and Carl Davis? Check. But would Buckner significantly boost the Ravens’ pass rush? If not, then Tunsil or Bosa would be a better pick if available.

5. Does Florida St. defensive back Jalen Ramsey have a Pro Bowl-caliber position?

Ramsey can play both safety and corner, he is a physical player, and the Ravens need secondary help. However, Ramsey only had three interceptions in college. If Ramsey is a better safety than corner, Jack could be a better fit for the Ravens if he stays healthy and becomes a dominant linebacker.