The last time the Baltimore Ravens started a draft in the top 10 was 2008, but they traded down in the first round. Could the same scenario play out for the Ravens in this draft?
“Trading out of there?" ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said Monday. "There’s going to be a far too good a player there at No. 6 for the Ravens to trade out.”
As the NFL combine is about to begin, Kiper believes Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, Oregon defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack are all in the mix at the No. 6 overall pick.
With this type of situation, the value of getting an impact player outweighs the value of additional draft picks to move out of the top 10. All those prospects are among the top two players at their positions, and a case could be made for each one landing with the Ravens.
Bosa is the top-rated player on many experts' boards. Hargreaves is a playmaking cornerback. Buckner is a dominant defensive end. Stanley is the left tackle with the highest ceiling. And Jack is perhaps the most explosive athlete in this draft.
“There’s going to be a minimum of three really good options for the Ravens at pick six,” Kiper said.
Kiper pointed to the Ravens' history as another reason why they will stay put. Five of the Ravens' starters in their first Super Bowl triumph were selected in the top 10 from 1996 to 2000. In Kiper's estimation, Baltimore has the opportunity to add a cornerstone to another championship team with the No. 6 pick.
“Think about this organization,” Kiper said. “Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Peter Boulware -- you go back to all the great players -- Chris McAlister, Duane Starks, Terrell Suggs, all top-10 picks. They built these Super Bowl teams back in 2000 and a couple of years ago based on what happened in the top 10."
In his latest mock draft, Kiper has Bosa sliding to the Ravens. But Kiper acknowledges that there's no guarantee of Baltimore drafting Bosa if he's there.
In Kiper's mind, the only player who would definitely be taken by the Ravens is Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the top defensive back in this draft. The problem is, it's an extreme long shot that he will drop out of the top 5.
“Jalen Ramsey could possibly be there, maybe 10 to 15 percent chance if he's there,” he said. “If he’s there, I think that’s an easy call, you go Ramsey. I don’t think he will be, though.”
History shows the Ravens have been one of the more active teams on draft day. Baltimore has traded back in three of the past eight drafts.
But the Ravens have only traded out of the top 10 once, when they moved from No. 8 to No. 26 in 2008 (receiving two third-round selections and a fourth-rounder) and then jumped up to No. 18 (giving up a third-round pick and a sixth-rounder) to make sure they got quarterback Joe Flacco.
Kiper just doesn't envision Baltimore making that same move this time.
"I don't think it's going to happen because there's going to be some big-time players staring at them in the face," Kiper said.