Pardon the day or two delay as I caught my breath following last week's whirlwind pace here on BTSC. I'm throwing a huge curvelball out there with this pick, so I'd like to hear any feedback. Regular, fast-paced action resumes from here on out, starting with the Cincinnati Bengals and BadMaafala at #9.
Most draftniks have the Ravens selecting either Matt Ryan if he's available, or Leodis McKelvin or whichever CB they determine is best fit to eventually replace the aging Chris McAllister and Samari Rolle. Personally, I don't think Ryan's worth it, and I don't think that any of the first round CB talent is head and shoulders above some of the value that could be had later in Day 1 or on Day 2. Rolle and McAllister aren't going anywhere in the next two years, so why waste a first round CB to not play for essentially half of his rookie contract? Instead I'm going with the LB that I feel will surprise people immediately in the NFL, and a player whom I feel is perfectly suited for Baltimore's defense-first, trash-talking idnetity. I'm selecting Jerod Mayo.
Mayo led the SEC with 140 tackles last year, recording an astounding 62 in the Volunteers' last four games. Here's my rationale behind the pick. First of all, I don't think Matt Ryan is a franchise-type QB. I just don't, though I must say I have no real reason other than that I haven't been impressed the four or five times I've watched him compete. I don't think he's overly mobile, his arm strength is certainly not in the same class as Jay Cutler's or some of the other young QBs in the league, and he's not tremedously accurate, at least not in the same way that guys like Brady, Brees, or Hasselbeck are. The Ravens could use some help at WR, but there's nobody worth taking in the top 10. The offensive line isn't great, but it's not terrible either.
Basically, if I were the Ravens I would hope to solidify the defense in the 2008 draft and then hope to look for a franchise type QB in the 2009 draft. Remember, the AFC North teams face the ridiculously tough schedule this coming year. And with the Steelers and Browns both in good position to lead the division, it's not likely that the Ravens will be in the playoffs. In fact, it's not unlikely that Baltimore wins only 4 or 5 games in 2008. That would put them in good position to draft high again in 2009 when QBs like Tim Tebow and Matthew Stafford are available.
Finally, Mayo has the chance to be a star at the next level. At 6'2", 230 lbs, Mayo has the speed to play on the outside, as well as the power to play in the middle. He's notorious for being the most intense guy on the field at all times, and I think he could be a perfect fit in Baltimore learning from Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Although he could probably easily gain ten pounds of bulk early in his career, he's probably going to be moved back outside at the next level, where his tremendous closing speed and open-field tackling abilities will be better utilized.
Mayo would at least help the Ravens'
defense while the offense underoges a
slower retooling phase
Mayo wasn't really on everybody's radar before the Combine, but there he impressed scouts with his measurables. His 4.54 was third best among LBs, and his vertical leap and 20 yard shuffle were also near the top for his position. We know his insticts are good due to his incredible volume of tackles in the SEC, so in my mind, this is as close to a sure bet as you're going to find in the first round provided he can stay healthy.
So, I'm breaking from conventional wisdom in a big way and selecting Jerod Mayo with the 8th overall pick of the BTSC Mock Draft.
#1 - Miami Dolphins, Darren Mcfadden
#2 - St. Louis Rams, Chris Long
#3 - Atlanta Falcons, Sedrick Ellis
#4 - Oakland Raiders, Vernon Gholston
#5 - Kansas City Chiefs, Jake Long
#6 - New York Jets, Glen Dorsey
#7 - New England Patriots, Dominique Rodger-Cromartie