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2017 NFL Draft, Baltimore Ravens: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

2017 NFL Draft Reset: Ravens bolster D, seek help for Flacco

By Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com
2017 NFL Draft, Baltimore Ravens: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws downfield against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of their NFL game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, November 27, 2016. File photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

The Baltimore Ravens made a quick splash in free agency to bolster a defense and then sort of cruised toward the NFL draft that starts April 27.

The Ravens signed Tony Jefferson, probably the best free-agent safety available, and cornerback Brandon Carr. They also re-signed nose tackle Brandon Williams before he hit the market.

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Then, on Tuesday, the Ravens traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and their 99th overall pick in the 2017 draft to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Ravens received the No. 74 pick that gives them four selections in the top 78 -- 16, 47, 74 and 78.

While the Ravens signed versatile running back Danny Woodhead to a three-year deal, the team did not land a playmaking wide receiver, right tackle or a dependable center, which are pressing needs. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is confident he can fill those needs through the draft or signing a veteran cut by another club.

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Several observers predict the Ravens will set their sights on Washington wide receiver John Ross with the 16th overall pick in the draft. Ross would give quarterback Joe Flacco a speedy playmaker that can stretch a secondary. Clemson's Mike Williams is another potential target that would provide a sure-handed, physical receiver.

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Baltimore, however, suggested it would also consider drafting a defensive player in the first round. The Ravens have been linked to Missouri linebacker Charles Harris, Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and UCLA linebacker Takkarist McKinley.

Here is a closer look at where the Ravens are, how they got here and a shot at what they should do with their first pick in the draft at No. 16 overall.

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THE BREAKDOWN

2016 finish: 2nd AFC North (8-8)

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STATISTICS

TOTAL OFFENSE: 347.7 (17th)

RUSHING: 91.4 (28th)

PASSING: 256.3 (12th)

TOTAL DEFENSE: 322.1 (7th)

RUSHING: 89.4 (5th)

PASSING: 232.8 (9th)

TEAM NEEDS

1. Wide receiver: The Ravens lost a pair of sure-handed receivers when Steve Smith Sr. retired and Kamar Aiken signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Baltimore was not able to fill that void in free agency, so the team needs to find a playmaker in this year's draft. The 2017 class has several talented receivers that could wind up on the Ravens' roster.

2. Outside linebacker: The Ravens cut ties with Elvis Dumervil following the season and they need to find a replacement in the draft. Several linebackers drafted over the past few years have not shown they can be an effective pass rusher and the heir to Terrell Suggs, who is age 34. It would not be a stretch for Baltimore to take a linebacker with the 16th overall pick.

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3. Right tackle: The loss of Rick Wagner to the Detroit Lions created a hole in the offensive line. Wagner was durable and effective during his three seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens could move second-year player Alex Lewis to that spot, but it appears more likely he will remain at guard. This means the Ravens will look to fill that spot in the draft, possibly as high as the first or second round.

KEY PERSONNEL TRACKER (As of April 5)

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

DB/LB Anthony Levine: UFA; $4.2M/3 yrs, $400SB/$1.3M guaranteed.

QB Ryan Mallett: UFA; $2M/1 yr, $1M SB.

NT Brandon Williams: UFA; $52.5M/5 yrs, $12.5M SB/$27.5M guaranteed, $3M injury only at time of signing.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

CB Brandon Carr: UFA Cowboys; $24M/4 yrs.

S Tony Jefferson: UFA Cardinals; $34M/4 yrs, $10M SB/$19M guaranteed.

RB Danny Woodhead: UFA Chargers; $8.8M/3 yrs, $2.25M SB/$4.25M guaranteed, $1M injury only at time of signing.

PLAYERS LOST

WR Kamar Aiken: UFA Colts; $2.6M/1 yr, $1M SB/$1.5M guaranteed.

G Vlad Ducasse: UFA Bills; $3.5M/3 yrs, $250K SB.

LB Elvis Dumervil (released).

DE Lawrence Guy: UFA Patriots; $13.4M/4 yrs, $4M SB/$4.9M guaranteed, $1.4M injury only at time of signing.

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S Marqueston Huff: RFA tender of $1.797M rescinded/Chiefs; terms unknown.

NT Timmy Jernigan (traded Eagles).

FB Kyle Juszczyk: UFA 49ers; $21M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$9.85M guaranteed; $2.75M injury only at time of signing.

S Kendrick Lewis (released).

LB Zachary Orr (retired).

WR Steve Smith Sr. (retired).

T Rick Wagner: UFA Lions; $47.5M/5 yrs, $14.5M SB/$29.5M guaranteed, $3M injury only at time of signing.

S Lardarius Webb (released).

CB Shareece Wright (released).

C/G Jeremy Zuttah (traded 49ers).

DT Timmy Jernigan (traded Eagles).

MOCK DRAFT

NFLDraftScout.com analysts suggest (No. 16 overall)

Rob Rang:

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee. Barnett lacks the length and pure explosiveness scouts would prefer, which could lead to his slipping a bit on draft day. Barnett's instincts, use of hands and production (33 sacks over the past three years), however, could have him ultimately outplaying his draft slot.

Dane Brugler:

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson. The Ravens have plenty of speed at receiver, but only average size. Williams has only average speed, but his body control, catch radius and overall size are where he shines.

Agree? Disagree? Still shopping?

Based on the team's current status, those are our suggestions for that first pick. To double check or find another candidate see NFLDraftScout.com's full mocks and ratings.

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--Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his sixth decade covering football and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. TSX team insiders contributed to this article.

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