Over the past week, mock drafts have taken a turn for the unpredictable.
Some friends over at CBS Sports believe that the Ravens will select Jared Odrick, DE/DT from Penn State. Others are starting to believe that WR Dez Bryant could fall all the way to 25 and right into the Ravens’ lap.
In this year’s beepwire.com Mock Draft, each NFL Examiner had the role of surrogate general manager. As the mock draft unfolded, I began to wonder who might fall to Baltimore. Which player, if any, would be a bargain or a proverbial draft-day steal with the 25th overall pick.
Much like the historical nature of the Ravens front office, I went into the draft opting for the best player available regardless of position or need.
By the time the Ravens were on the clock, I already had my selection dialed in. To be quite honest, it was a no-brainer.
By selecting Rolando McClain, the Ravens would immediately put to rest any notion that their franchise staple and cornerstone (the linebacking corps) would eventually diminish and become mediocre after Ray Lewis moves on.
First of all, lets be honest, the Ravens aren’t in need of any additional linebackers at this point; moreover, it’s quite unlikely that they would pull the trigger on a first-rounder at that position. But a talent like McClain doesn’t come along every year; more importantly, selecting him at 25th overall is a shrewd move that simply oozes value, value, and more value. And keep in mind that utilizing value picks is something that general manager Ozzie Newsome has made a career on.
At first glance, it may be more feasible to imagine the club selecting CB Kyle Wilson of Boise State with this pick. But, don’t make the mistake in thinking that Wilson is the caliber of player and the level of talent like McClain.
At 6-4, 250, McClain is a force in the middle of the field. He is a heavy-hitter at the inside linebacker position. While he struggles a bit in pass-coverage, his 40-yard dash times register in the 4.5 to 4.6 range. He is an instinctual player, who rarely gets caught out of position and almost never falls for misdirection plays. He has a Karlos Dansby-like build and Ray Lewis-like instincts and skills.
Sure, the Ravens have needs at the cornerback, tight end, and defensive end positions. But McClain is the kind of guy that can only fall so far down the board. He has solid character and huge upside.
Most importantly–as Newsome or head coach John Harbaugh would allude to–he plays like a Raven.