OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens are exuding excitement about the possibilities of Friday's second-round pick because of the depth of this year's draft.
“I think that just in looking at where our pick is [No. 47 overall], we are able to kind of calculate, based on the last 22 years, where that range of players is going to come from. And we love those players," Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "We think it is a really good area on our list. We think we will get a good player -- very sure of that."
Baltimore's recent history with second-rounders has been more misses than hits. Inside linebacker Arthur Brown (2013) was one of the team's bigger busts before being released. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (2014) was an inconsistent starter before being traded. Tight end Maxx Williams (2015) and linebacker Kamalei Correa (2016) have failed to live up to immediate expectations.
Who will the Ravens select to end this latest trend of disappointments in the second round? The best bet is a pass-rusher, based on who's available and who's selecting ahead of the Ravens.
Baltimore has done its homework, bringing in Houston's Tyus Bowser, Kansas State's Jordan Willis and Alabama's Tim Williams for pre-draft visits. Bowser is a former college basketball player who is an ascending prospect. Willis is the Big 12 defensive player of the year who had 22 sacks in his last two seasons. Williams is perhaps the best pass-rush specialist in the draft but has multiple red flags -- he was arrested on a misdemeanor gun charge in September and acknowledged that he has failed multiple drug tests.
Even though the Ravens have gone heavy on defense this offseason, upgrading the pass rush is a priority. This is about addressing current needs after Elvis Dumervil was cut and it's about looking to the future because Terrell Suggs turns 35 in October.
The Ravens could go with a pick for the offense in the second round, but there might be an early run on wide receivers, just like the first round. East Carolina's Zay Jones and USC's JuJu Smith-Schuster are the best two remaining wide receivers.
Another area of need is the offensive line, and there are good options left because only two linemen were selected in the first round. The problem is there are five teams at the top of this round (Green Bay, Seattle, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Chargers and Carolina) who likely are looking at linemen. It seems unlikely that Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp and Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson will fall to Baltimore.
If the Ravens want to surprise, as they did in the first round, they would draft a running back. The two playmakers that would interest Baltimore in the second round are Florida State's Dalvin Cook and Tennessee's Alvin Kamara. Both are threats to take it to the end zone every time they touch the ball, which is something the Ravens' offense lacks.
The Ravens haven't shown much public interest in running backs in terms of visits and workouts. But they didn't tip their hand on first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey, either.