BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The 2019 NFL Draft begins in just three days in Nashville, Tennessee with the first round set for Thursday night. After an offseason full of speculation, Ravens fans will finally find out who newly appointed general manager Eric DeCosta will take with the team’s first selection. To that end, let’s take a quick look at who the draft experts think will go in that slot.
Starting first with the CBSSports.com team, all but one of their analysts believe that Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is the man for the organization. After a neck injury ended his redshirt sophomore season seven games in, Metcalf became the star of the offseason thanks to a photo that went viral of him alongside teammates and other prospects in the weight room.
At 6’3″ and 228 pounds, Metcalf wowed scouts at the Combine running a 4.33 40-yard dash and posting a 40.5 inch vertical. Straight line speed and athleticism is there in spades for Metcalf, but the biggest concern is his route-running ability. Despite that concern, he is expected to be one of the first receivers off the board based on the sheer athletic ability he has shown. The Ravens have struggled to find consistent options at the wide receiver spot in recent years and Metcalf could fill a need for a weapon on the outside to pair with young quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The only CBSSports.com analyst who doesn’t have Metcalf going to the Ravens is Pete Prisco who instead has the team taking North Carolina State offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury. Bradbury won the Rimington Trophy as college football’s top center in 2018 and was named first team All-ACC and All-American. Checking in at 6’3″ 304 pounds, Bradbury was a solid presence in the interior of the Wolfpack offensive line for the last three seasons. As a former tight end coming out of high school, Bradbury is a bit more athletic than your average interior lineman but also slightly smaller. It wouldn’t be the sexiest pick, but adding an offensive lineman to help provide a punishing run game and protection for Jackson would seem to be ideal.
As for the NFL.com crew, they have a couple of different options for Ravens fans to think over.
Chad Reuter: Erik McCoy, OL, Texas A&M- Taking McCoy would follow the same thought process as the Bradbury pick above. The Texas A&M center, checking in at 6’4″ 303 pounds, started 24 games at center for the Aggies over the past two seasons after starting at guard in 2016.
Daniel Jeremiah: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson- One of three expected first round picks from the defensive line of the reigning national champions, Ferrell absolutely terrorized opposing quarterbacks over the last two seasons. He racked up 21 sacks, 37.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles. He played in a 4-3 front in college, which would mean a bit of a transition if the Ravens take him. However, with Terrell Suggs decamping for Arizona in free agency, the team could certainly use a new edge rushing threat to strike fear into the heart of QBs.
Charley Casserley & Charles Davis: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma- Different ways of getting there, but these two experts have the same end result with the speedy Brown making his way to Baltimore. Brown didn’t participate at the Combine but his tape shows flat out breakaway speed. He tallied 2,413 yards on 132 catches over the past two seasons in Norman which averages out to over 18 yards per catch. He is more skilled as a route runner right now than Metcalf which could make him the first receiver taken. The biggest concern is his small frame (5’9″ 166 pounds). That said, he’s drawn comparisons to a similarly slight of build receiver who has done okay for himself in the league: DeSean Jackson.
Three more days until the draft, and plenty of options to think about for Ravens fans.