OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are widely expected to select a wide receiver or edge rusher with the 27th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
However, if General Manager Eric DeCosta sticks to his "best player available" philosophy, the team could move in a completely different direction.
Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer has the Ravens making a surprise move and taking Christian Barmore, a defensive tackle from Alabama, with the 27th overall pick.
"Barmore has the ability of a top 10 pick. But maturity and off-field issues had a lot of people thinking it might’ve been best that he stay another year in college," Breer wrote. "He didn’t. And the Ravens get good info on Bama players (see: Newsome, Ozzie). So that could go either way here."
Barmore was the Defensive MVP of the 2021 National Championship in Alabama's 52-14 victory over Ohio State. Barmore had five tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack. He earned a spot on the First Team All-SEC team after recording 37 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, and eight sacks last season.
As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Barmore had 26 tackles, 6 for a loss, and two sacks. He was named to the SEC All-Freshman team after 2019. Barmore only has one real year of production but leveraged a great national championship game to jump into the draft conversation as one of the top interior defensive linemen.
However, the selection of Barmore would be a surprising move because the Ravens drafted two defensive tackles — Justin Madubuike (Texas A&M) and Broderick Washington Jr. (Texas Tech) — last season. Both of those players are expected to play a bigger role next season.
A New Free Safety in the Ravens Future?
Ric Serritella, of the Draft Bible, also has the Ravens making an unexpected move, He predicts the Ravens will take Richie Grant, a free safety from UCF, with the 27th overall pick.
This move could make more sense because the Ravens do need more depth at safety and would love to add another ball hawk like Grant.
Last season, he finished with 72 tackles, a sack, and three interceptions in only nine games, and was rated as the 19th best safety by PFF.
Grant also was a unanimous first-team All-AAC selection and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award, along with Moehrig and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
"An upgrade plug-and-play starter on the back end of the defense," Serritella wrote.