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Mel Kiper Jr.: Ravens draft Ezekiel Elliott in fourth mock

If you're getting bored with what mock drafts are predicting for the Baltimore Ravens, you're going to really like Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest projection.

Kiper has the Ravens taking Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott at No. 6 overall in his fourth mock draft, which represents a considerable curveball to what most experts are thinking. The general consensus of mock drafts is the Ravens will take either Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa or Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner.

Drafting Elliott won't be a popular one because of the devaluation of the position. Since 2005 when three running backs were taken in the top five, there have been only three backs selected in the top six: Reggie Bush, Darren McFadden and Trent Richardson. None lived up to expectations, and teams started having success at finding starting running backs later in the draft. That's why there wasn't a running back drafted in the first round in 2013 and 2014.

Despite that trend, Elliott is an intriguing choice for the Ravens. He is an elite running back who can excel on all three downs. Whether it's running between the tackles or catching a pass in the flat, Elliott makes plays with great vision, instincts and power. He gained 1,821 yards rushing last season with 23 touchdowns for the Buckeyes.

While Elliott is a wild-card selection for the Ravens, you can't totally rule him out. Coach John Harbaugh has declined to name a feature back, and the Ravens had interest in Todd Gurley last year. Adding a top-flight running back would be another step to upgrade the playmakers around quarterback Joe Flacco after signing wide receiver Mike Wallace and tight end Ben Watson in free agency.

There is a chance that Elliott won't be available when the Ravens are on the clock. The Dallas Cowboys, who have the the No. 4 pick, has shown a lot of interest in Elliott, holding a private workout with him and inviting him for a pre-draft visit.

The only way the Ravens would consider Elliott at this point in the draft is they believe he's an Adrian Peterson-type back. But, as pointed out from the pre-draft press conference, the smart bet is on Baltimore drafting a defensive player.