Do you have a darkhorse candidate or two for rising into the Top ten picks for this draft? Looks like C. Long, J. Long, Dorsey, Ryan, McFadden, Gholston, Ellis, McKelvin, Clady and Merling?
The obvious darkhorse candidate you left out is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He's elevated his draft stock like no other prospect in the draft. He will receive consideration from the New England Patriots, the New Orleans Saints and the Ravens. Another player who will also receive top-ten consideration is USC LB Keith Rivers. Rivers is a leader and a steady defender who will bolster a team's linebacker core. He's a solid player who has great overall skill and although he will enter the NFL as a rookie, he has the experience of a veteran.
There's been lots of talk of the Ravens possibly trading down from 8. Which player, if he's left on the board, would be the most likely to generate the type of interest that could lead to a deal, and who are some potential trading partners?
I'd say Cromartie. If the Patriots pass on him at No. 7 and draft a CB like Leodis McKelvin or a LB like Rivers, look for Cromartie to generate interest from teams like New Orleans, Buffalo and Arizona.
Everyone projects the Bills to select a WR, including me, but they desperately need help in the secondary. This year's WR class is good, not great, but it's deep overall and you can get some quality players late in the first round and into the fourth round. So, I could see Buffalo being a viable trading partner with the Ravens. But, I think the Ravens will stay at No. 8.
Chris, you've done a lot of "what ifs" in preparing for your Mocks. You've also talked with lots of teams. With your feel for how this draft goes in the top 15, who will be the BPA for the Ravens left on the board at #8 in your opinion? This board seems to think it will be McKelvin absent a trade down and we really do need a CB badly.
Personally, I think McKelvin will be off the board and will be heading to New England. But, if the Ravens want him, I think they will have to make a trade with the Jets to leap frog the Patriots. The Jets are willing to listen to offers for the No. 6 pick, as they don't have any major needs outside of adding a young WR. If the Ravens stay at No. 8, Cromartie is probably the best fit, as he gives Baltimore a big, young corner with great athletic ability and ball skills.
Also, a wildcard could be Louisville QB Brian Brohm. New Head Coach John Harbaugh understands what it means to have a franchise QB in the fold. When he was with the Philadelphia Eagles, they drafted Donovan McNabb and he witnessed the maturation process he went through with Andy Reid.
Harbaugh's brother, Jim, who's now the Head Coach at Stanford and is a former NFL QB, has surely discussed the QB prospects with John and given him some information. Brohm is intriguing, and if he decided to enter the draft after his junior season, he would have been a top-ten selection. But if the Ravens pass on Brohm, look for Cromartie to be the pick.
What's your assessment of Chad Henne's football smarts as compared to Ryan's and Brohm's? Is he an instinctive player, or simply (not to belittle this) a competent executor of a game plan?
I think Henne is a student of the game, who's displayed great poise and competitiveness as a four-year starter at Michigan. He understands what it takes to win and puts his teammates in positive situations. He's always upbeat and congratulates his teammates after a big play and will also talk with them after they've made a mistake.
He's a guy players want to play with, because they know at any moment he can make a big throw and that he will put them in position to win a game. In comparison to Ryan and Brohm, Henne is right up there with them. If you want to talk about who's been more successful, in regards to wins and big game performances throughout their careers, I'd say Henne. But he also had the best supporting cast. Between the three of them, I think they all do certain things well. Ryan has the strongest arm, Brohm is the most accurate and polished and Henne knows how to get the job done.
If you had to put a percent on it what is the chance of Ryan being there at pick 8 for the Ravens. If Ryan is not there at pick 8, what is the chance that Flacco or Brohm make it to the Ravens at pick 38 in the second round?
I'd say there is a 30-percent chance that Ryan is there for the Ravens. That's a pretty good percentage, but I think if Ryan is on the board for the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 5, they will have a hard time passing him up.
I think the Ravens will look to add a QB in the second round if they don't select a QB at No. 8. In my current mock draft, I have the Ravens selecting Henne with their second round pick. I think Henne is a great selection for the Ravens and could become the starting QB at the mid-way point this coming season.
Chris, who are the offensive tackles you like in the middle rounds (3-5)?
There will be a few good tackles in the middle rounds. In round three, you can grab Carl Nicks (Nebraska), Duane Brown (Virginia Tech) or Oniel Cousins (UTEP). In the fourth round, John Greco (Toledo), Jeremy Zuttah (Rutgers) and Kirk Barton (Ohio State) will be available. And in the fifth round the Ravens could identify Tony Hills (Texas), King Dunlap (Auburn) or Breno Giacomini (Louisville) as possible selections.
Who are the wide receivers you like in the middle rounds?
In the third round, I like Donnie Avery (Houston), Earl Bennett (Vanderbilt), Harry Douglas (Louisville) and Jordy Nelson (Kansas State). In the fourth round you can haul in Will Franklin (Missouri), Dexter Jackson (Appalachian State), or Lavelle Hawkins (California). And if the fifth round players like Keenan Burton (Kentucky), D.J. Hall (Alabama) and Darius Reynaud (West Virginia) will be available.
Do you think the Ravens will need to trade up from the second round to get one of the "big 4" (Ryan, Brohm, Flacco, Henne) QB's if they don't get one in the first round?
No, I think the Ravens can stay where they are in the second round and draft Henne.
How does this draft stack up in overall talent in comparison to the last couple of years?
Without the infusion of more than 50 underclassmen, this year's draft would just be mediocre. Every draft class has it's own unique twist. This year's class has the deepest RB class I can remember, and you can get a lot of value from the first round up until the fourth round. I think this class has the opportunity to be one of the best this decade. But the best class since 2000 was the 2004 draft class, which featured two Super Bowl Championship QBs and a top-ten that has a chance to be legendary.
Thanks for taking my question, Chris. How would you rank the top five QBs available?
My top five QBs are:
1. Brian Brohm
2. Matt Ryan
3. Chad Henne
4. Joe Flacco
5. Andre Woodson
Would you consider it a waste for the Ravens to draft either Ellis or Dorsey at number 8?
Yes, because they don't have a need for a DT. If it comes down to Ellis and Dorsey being the best players available at No. 8, the Ravens should trade down with a team looking to sneak up in front of the Bengals at No. 9 to steal one of them.
Should we draft a QB every year until we get it right?
I don't suggest it.
Hey Chris, do you think the Ravens will draft an OT and a Center in this year's draft? It looks like they are very high on Clady. I do think they need to draft an OT and a Center to solidify the O Line of the future. What do you think they are going to do?
The Ravens need help on the O-Line, but how quickly we forget the Ravens selected Jared Gaither in the Supplemental Draft last year. Gaither was my No. 1 rated OT before the 2007 college season, but he was ruled academically ineligible and decided to pursue his NFL dreams. Baltimore may consider Ryan Clady at No. 8, especially with Jonathan Ogden's future uncertain, but I think CB or QB is a more pressing need. I think they will draft a center in the middle rounds, as there are some quality prospects available.
Pro Days and the Combine often lead to big-time risers and fallers. Can you identify a few of each that might be under or over valued?
Obviously Cromartie is one of them and Joe Flacco is another, but the one guy I really like is Notre Dame DT Trevor Laws. I'm not going to say he's a riser, because I watched a lot of film of him at Notre Dame, but Laws has impressed me so much this off-season that I think he's undervalued and should get consideration as a late first round pick.
We're talking about a guy who switched from DT to DE during his senior year and recorded 112 tackles. That's incredible for a D-Lineman. He plays with a high motor and leverage. He's an intelligent player who I expect to achieve a lot of success at the next level.
Ravens Insider VIP Chris Steuber Q&A column
Ravens Insider Top Stories
Fantasy Football Funeral: Au Revoir ForsettIt's time for a Fantasy Funeral...
Scout FantasyYesterday at 11:23 AM
Week 7: Snaps Impact & Target AnalysisEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Jack Delaney will closely examine the snap counts, usage numbers and target totals for players across the league to better prepare you for the…
Scout FantasyTuesday at 10:49 AM
Week 6: Wide Receiver Corps To WatchFantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith looks at a few wide receiver groups to watch heading into Week 6!
Week 5: West is Best For RavensSenior Fantasy Football Expert Shawn Childs looks at each position player on the Baltimore Ravens to determine whether they are worthy of a spot on your Week 5 DraftKings lineup!
Week 5: Four Baffling BackfieldsEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making.