It’s that time again; another Mock Draft Monday to get your week kick-started. With the new league year just around the corner, key players will be finding new homes, which always shakes up how the draft picks could look come April.
With the number of prospects that returned to school this year, this draft is even more crucial than previous years. Teams will have to hit on prospects early and find talent in the later rounds, where options will be even slimmer. Let's dive into the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, with trades in the first round that will affect other rounds as well.
Here's a couple of predictions for the selection by the Ravens and their AFC North rivals.
No. 27 — WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
"It's no secret the Ravens have prioritized upgrading their passing attack this offseason. Baltimore ranked last in the NFL with 171.2 yards passing per game. As a result, the Ravens will undoubtedly look to add a playmaking wide receiver in this year's Draft." Todd Karpovich - si.com/nfl/ravens
Whether you want to believe it or not, the Ravens have struggled in a big way passing the ball last year. They still don’t have a true wide receiver one on their roster. Bateman instantly adds the type of boundary weapon needed to take their offense to the next level.
“Bateman could be a good fit in Baltimore. Bateman is a big (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), physical wide receiver that would be a good fit for the AFC North. He is an exceptional route runner, can make plays after the catch and has the speed to simply stretch the field.” Todd Karpovich - si.com/nfl/ravens
No. 58 — OLB Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo
"The Ravens have three outside linebackers eligible for free agency — Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee. They will be hard-pressed to sign all three of those players. As a result, Baltimore will look to add depth through the Draft and Koonce is a good fit. Koonce has the versatility to make an immediate impact in the Ravens' aggressive defense. He does a solid job flying to the ball and can also put pressure on opposing quarterbacks." Todd Karpovich - si.com/nfl/ravens
The Ravens will receive third-round compensatory picks in the 2021 and 2022 NFL Drafts for the loss of David Culley, who was hired as the head coach of the Texans.
The other AFC North selections
No. 5 — WR Ja'Marr Chase, LSU
The Cincinnati Bengals get to pair Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase together again, after winning the National Championship in both of their final games at the collegiate level. The Bengals need to build weapons around their young gunslinger and what better way to do that than to provide him with someone he has already won with.
“With Sewell gone, this is a no-brainer. Landing Chase in this spot would be a home run. The Bengals desperately need someone that can stretch the field and he dominated the SEC with Joe Burrow at just 19-years-old. Chase projects to be a true number one wide receiver, which is exactly what Cincinnati is missing. They were smart not to reach on an offensive lineman at pick five since it's such a deep class.” James Rapien - si.com/nfl/bengals
No. 38 — OG Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
“There's a good chance that a first-round offensive line talent could fall to the Bengals in round two and that's exactly what happened with Vera-Tucker. He probably won't be a tackle in the NFL, but he should be an instant upgrade next to Jonah Williams at left guard.” James Rapien - si.com/nfl/bengals
No. 69 — OG Trey Smith, Tennessee
“The Bengals double-dip at guard, which could be wise, especially if they address tackle in free agency. Cincinnati had some of the worst guard play in the NFL in 2020. Upgrading the interior of their line is a must. This two-day draft haul would make Burrow's life much easier moving forward.” James Rapien - si.com/nfl/bengals
No. 14 via Minnesota Vikings — DE Kwity Paye, Michigan
*MIN trades pick 14 to CLE for picks 26, 59 and a 2022 2nd round pick.
Cleveland trades up here with the Vikings to select one of the better defensive ends in this class. The Browns could use some help on the edge and Paye also offers the supreme run-stopping ability.
No. 90 — WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
No. 92 via New Orleans — DE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
No. 24 — RB Najee Harris, Alabama
Easily one of the best running backs in college football last year, Harris has shown that he can be an all-around back, catching the ball, blocking, finding open space and creating yards for himself. The Steelers haven’t had that kind of consistent runner since they let go of Le’Veon Bell.
No. 55 — SS Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
No. 88 — OT James Hudson, Cincinnati