Mel Kiper Jr. bets majority of Ravens 2018 draft will be offensive players

Luke Falk of Washington State could be available later in the draft if the Ravens were looking to add a quarterback. Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY Sports

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes the Baltimore Ravens will use this year's draft to upgrade the supporting cast around quarterback Joe Flacco.

"They got to get receivers. They got to get a tight end," Kiper said on the First Draft podcast. "They know they're going to draft offense. They went defense heavy last year. I wouldn't say offense-only draft, but I bet you 90 percent of their picks are offensive selections."

If that's the case, the Ravens would use seven of their eight picks on offensive players, which would place much-needed resources toward the NFL's 27th-ranked offense. Baltimore needs a playmaking receiver and a pass-catching tight end as well as potentially a starting right tackle and an explosive running back (if he is a clear upgrade over Alex Collins).

Going on the offensive would contrast last year's offseason. Baltimore spent $56.75 million in guaranteed money on defensive players in free agency and drafted players from that side of the ball with five of its seven picks, including its first four.

The Ravens haven't used many of their high draft picks on offensive players, especially the past five drafts. Since 2013, only four offensive players have been selected in the first three rounds (a total of 14 picks): tight ends Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.

Could one of the Ravens' picks this year be a quarterback?

"They could or you could always have the philosophy that we'll just get the guy when we need the guy," Kiper said. "Teams can always have that philosophy. Worry about now. Let's try to fill voids to help Joe Flacco, who is not yet ready to hang them up and they feel has some good years left."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated at the end of the season that drafting a quarterback is "something that we will be talking about." Flacco turned 33 this month and has dealt with knee and back injuries in recent years.

Kiper mentioned four quarterbacks who should be available in the mid-to-late rounds: Washington State's Luke Falk, Virginia's Kurt Benkert, Western Kentucky's Mike White and Richmond's Kyle Lauletta.

"This notion they got to take a quarterback, they got to take this guy or that guy, we don't know who they like or how many they like," Kiper said.

In Kiper's first mock draft of the year, he has Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O'Neill going to Baltimore at the No. 16 overall pick.

The pressure is on for the Ravens to find impact players in this draft. Baltimore ranks among the teams with the least amount of cap room in 2018, and its leader in receptions (tight end Benjamin Watson) and receiving yards (wide receiver Mike Wallace) are both unrestricted free agents.

"This team is going to be a lot better next year," Kiper said. "The fact that they were on the doorstep of the playoffs is pretty amazing. They got a lot of good luck playing teams where they had quarterback issues or quarterback injuries and allowed them to get into the mix and really should've been in the playoffs."