Yesterday it was believed Kyle Shanahan or Jim Hostler were the top 2 candidates, which would be an absolute disaster for the Ravens. Our first priority is fixing the run game. We need an OC who has shown in the past they can establish the run. Jim Hostler is the Ravnes WR coach, so he will probably be left off this list. Shananhan has proven he can run the ball, but he had RG3 running the read option in 2012, and the running game in 2013 was not strong when they went with more pistol than read option. Shanahan has relied on his Pops big time for help, especially in the run game, so he should also be dropped off this list.
Gary Kubiak makes the most sense. He has never had a franchise QB in Houston. He has had a handful of good running backs and offensive linemen. The Ravens weakness in the beginning of the season was the offensive line. They played better toward the end of the year, but Gary Kubiack’s scheme should help improve the unit. With Flacco(franchise QB), Rice and Pierce(2 back system), and Dennis Pitta(blocking TE) entering next season healthy and ready to be back in the playoffs, the addition of Kubiack could take this Ravens team deep into the playoffs.
For the Draft, there are some pretty obvious needs.
Needs in order of importance:
1.) OT (Ravens need to take the best avaliable Offensive linemen with their first pick)
2.) WR ( No need to rush into a WR on day one, there is plenty of depth)
3.) OC (Ravens need to use 2 high picks on offensive line)
4.) TE (With Dickson gone, and Pitta hopefully returning, TE is an imporant spot. Kubiack likes to use multiple TE sets)
5.) DL (the DLine played well but depth is important. An OLB or DE would be a good look in the 3rd or 4th RD)
6.) S (Ihedjibo and Elam played well in the second half of the season but bringing in a Saftey in the 4th or 5th RD will create some solid preseason competition)
The 2014 class is a good one and with atleast 3 QBs expected to go in RD 1, there should be some solid quality on the board at 16/17. I am big on taking the best player avaliable, but the Ravens have 6 core needs, so they should be able to get one of the best players on the board and address a need.
Players who could be avaliable: Taylor Lewin (OT, Michigan), Zach Martin (OT, ND), Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson) Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M), Eric Ebron (TE, UNC), and Anthony Barr(OLB, UCLA). There is a chance none of these players will be avaliable at this pick, but these guys are potential pro bowlers. I’d like to see Lewin or Martin go, but I would be okay with Ebron here, he could be the next Vernon Davis. Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins are a freaks, but the 2nd and 3rd rounds will be loaded with WR talent. Anthony Barr is a 2 way OLB who is a beast in the run game and is great in coverage. I don’t think he’ll make it to 16/17, but this guy is a must draft if avaliable here.
Players who should be avaliable: Kony Ealy (DE, Mizzu), Marqiese Lee (WR, USC), Louis Nix (DT, ND), Hasean Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama), Aaron Donald (DT, Pitt), Timmy Jernigan (DT, FSU), Kelvin Benjamin (WR, FSU), and Cyrus Kouandijo (OT, Alabama). There is a ton of talent avaliable late in the first round. Ealy, Clinton-Dix, Nix, Donlad, and Jernigan are all impact players on Defense. Lee and Benjamin can strech the field vertically and would be great to pair with Torrey Smith. Cyrus Kouandijo left Bama early and is rising up the board. He’s a very atheltic OL who could contribute right away.
If Lewin or Martin are avaliable, they are must picks. With these 2 gone, it might be a bit of a reach to take Kouandijo at 16/17. Ebron would probably be my next on the list, he has a rare combination of speed, size, and strength at TE that is hard to come by.