My latest NFL mock draft, which went live on the blog yesterday, had the Ravens selecting Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey. The Ravens say they want to beef up the running game, and this large mammal would help with that.
Some criticized my pick, saying that Pouncey is being overhyped because his brother, Maurkice, was a Pro Bowl center for the Steelers in 2010. Others thought the Ravens would take California defensive lineman Cameron Jordan, whom I had going to the Steelers, if he was available at No. 26. I respect your input, and I'm OK with us not being on the same page. It happens.
Anyway, I can't get enough of these mock drafts, so I've decided to round up a handful of other mock drafts that hit the blogosphere after the recent scouting combine closed up shop.
I found two mock drafts in my random search that also had the Ravens taking Pouncey. One was from The Big Lead, where an unnamed author wrote, "They must bolster the OL and rediscover the 2009 running game that averaged 137 [yards per game] (only 114 in 2010)." The other was Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com, who explained his Pouncey pick in greater detail.
"Oh, baby. What better way to spice up the already vitriolic Ravens-Steelers rivalry than pitting two twin brothers up against each other for the next decade," Schrager wrote. "Though the Ravens have more pressing needs at defensive back than they do on their offensive line, they’d certainly love to scoop up an elite interior lineman like Pouncey if he slips to 26th.
"Capable of playing either center or guard, I could see Baltimore starting him out at the latter, letting him learn from 14-year veteran Matt Birk, and then moving him to center once Birk’s Baltimore playing days are done. Everyone I spoke with was blown away with Pouncey’s build, strength, quickness, and overall love and enthusiasm for the game at the Combine."
Yeah, what he said.
Outside of those two mocks drafts, I saw a smorgasbord of different prospects going to the Ravens.
Both Rob Rang and Chad Reuter of NFLDraftScout.com (via CBS Sports) said the Ravens would take the speedy wide receiver who played his college ball just a short drive down I-95: Maryland WR Torrey Smith.
"Anquan Boldin remains one of the league's better receivers, but he was invisible in the Ravens' loss to Pittsburgh in the playoffs (one catch for minus-2 yards)," Rang wrote. "T.J. Houshmandzadeh was more productive (three catches for 38 yards) but his critical drop on fourth down ended the game. Perhaps most important, the Ravens need to account for the age of the entire. Boldin (30), Houshmandzadeh (33) and Derrick Mason (37) would be more effective if supplemented with local product Smith, whose rare speed on the outside could give Joe Flacco the deep threat he needs."
Houshmandzadeh isn't under contract and probably isn't coming back, but whatever.
SB Nation's Brian Galliford believes the Ravens will select Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, who is seen by some as a top-15 prospect with top-5 character issues. Galliford said that Ray Lewis and the Ravens veterans will keep Smith in check, something we hear about troubled prospects every year it seems.
"From a talent and need standpoint, this would be an absolute steal for a Ravens team that pulls off a lot of draft-day heists," Galliford wrote. "Character questions are a concern, but shouldn't be a problem in a locker room containing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed."
CBS Sports Pete Prisco says the pick will be Georgia linebacker Justin Houston. "They didn't get what was expected from Jarrett Johnson last season and Sergio Kindle is still a question mark," Prisco explained.
"There could be some interest from the Ravens in an offensive tackle if one of the top guys seems to slip this far," Bunting speculated. "Sherrod is a good athlete who has the ability to play on the left side at the next level and allow Michael Oher to kick back over to the right side if need be."
OK, let me know what you think about these potential picks, and feel free to vote in the poll, too.