Ravens GM Eric DeCosta Striving For ‘Slam Dunk Day’ In Rounds 2-3 Of NFL Draft

Having addressed their most pressing positional need with the first-round selection of LSU inside linebacker Patrick Queen, the Ravens are scheduled to make four picks on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, and general manager Eric DeCosta said he anticipates finding players who can “contribute right away.”

Barring any trades, the Ravens have two picks in each of the second and third rounds, at Nos. 55 and 60 overall in the second round, and then at Nos. 92 and 106 in the third round. The No. 55 pick was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in the trade for tight end Hayden Hurst, and the No. 106, the final pick in the third round, is a compensatory selection.

“I love the board,” DeCosta said, referring to the players still available entering Round 2. “I love the players available.”

Although six wide receivers were selected in the first round, plenty of attractive options remain in a group considered by some scouts to be the deepest, most talented receiver draft class ever. DeCosta cited the receivers and offensive and defensive linemen among the strengths of the remaining board, which closely align with the team’s needs, but he figures to stick to the team’s best-available-player philosophy. He does so knowing that their inside linebacker box is already emphatically checked.

The Ravens are scheduled to make the 23rd and 28th selections in Round 2, and DeCosta said, “there are like 25 or 30 players right now that I think can really contribute right away for us next year. We’re going to get two of those guys. If I can do a good job and we are right in our assessment on these players, which I believe we are, there is no reason why we can’t have a slam dunk day.”

This will be a sharp departure from last year, when the Ravens had no second-round pick after giving up that pick in the draft-day trade the previous year that netted quarterback Lamar Jackson. DeCosta said he lamented watching a lot of talent fly off the board while the Ravens waited to pick in the third round.

Here are five players who could be on the Ravens’ radar as Day 2 begins:

DT Ross Blacklock (TCU)

The Ravens have made clear this year that bolstering the interior of their defense is a priority. After snatching Queen in the first round, they could address the line with Blacklock (6-foot-3, 290 pounds), who has the ability to rush the passer that the Ravens covet. He tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks this past season and had nine tackles for loss. Blacklock missed the entire 2018 season with an Achilles injury.

S Grant Delpit (LSU)

Might the Ravens take another LSU player after taking their first one in the first round? Delpit (6-foot-2, 213) has good size but concerns about his speed and consistency as a tackler have sent him out of the first round. This wouldn’t seem to be a position of need for the Ravens with veteran Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark entrenched. But Thomas turns 31 next month, Clark frequently moves to the second level as a dime backer, and behind those two there isn’t much depth. Third-year safety DeShon Elliott has played in just six games in two years because of injury.

G Robert Hunt (Lousiana)

The Ravens have a gaping hole at right guard after the retirement of All-Pro Marshal Yanda, and Hunt (6-foot-5, 323), who played primarily right tackle for the Rajun Cajuns, projects as an NFL guard. The Ravens want size and strength up front to support their record-setting run game, and Louisiana had one of the most prolific run offenses in college football last year, ranking sixth in yards per game and third in yards per carry. Hunt missed the second half of the season with a groin injury.

WR Laviska Shenault (Colorado)

Shenault (6-0, 227) has size and strength and is a strong run-after-the-catch receiver who could work a lot of ways in offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s system. After a 1,000-yard season (in nine games) in 2018, Shenaut’s production this year dropped to 764 yards on 56 catches in 11 games, and he opted to enter the draft after his junior year. Considered to have first-round talent, his stock has been hurt by durability issues. He underwent shoulder surgery last year and core muscle surgery this offseason, though he has declared he will be full-go whenever he can hit the field.

TE Adam Trautman (Dayton)

As much as offensive coordinator Greg Roman utilizes his tight ends, the Ravens will want to add another after dealing Hurst. Trautman (6-foot-5, 255) put up big numbers this past season at FCS Dayton (70 catches, 916 yards, 14 touchdowns), and he’s more Mark Andrews than Nick Boyle, a receiving playmaker whose blocking skills still need work. DeCosta never mentioned tight ends when discussing the options on his Day 2 board, which of course means he has a couple in mind.

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox

Bo Smolka

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