Ravens go Guard and Cornerback in round 3

Ravens go Guard and Cornerback in round 3

Ravens

Ravens go Guard and Cornerback in round 3

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Georgia guard Ben Cleveland was selected with the 94th pick.

Cleveland was an all-conference starter at right guard at Georgia, a player who has handled himself well in big games against elite competition. Getting a talented offensive lineman on Day 2, after selecting a wide receiver and pass rusher on Day 1, fit right into the Ravens’ game plan for the draft.

Size: 6-foot-6, 357 pounds

Why he fits the Ravens: Cleveland played primarily at right guard for Georgia, but he took reps at left guard and has the versatility to play there. That suits the Ravens, who signed veteran Kevin Zeitler to play right guard, but who may need a new starting left guard if Bradley Bozeman moves to center. It remains to be seen how the offensive line shakes out, but Cleveland gives the Ravens another guard option whether he starts or adds to their depth. In a run-heavy offense, having versatile and physical offensive linemen is crucial for the Ravens, and they traded Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. less than a week before the draft. Drafting at least one offensive lineman was virtually a must, and Cleveland is a prospect they were truly high on.

How the pick went down: It was a long wait for the Ravens without a second round pick, knowing that many players they liked would come off the board before they picked at No. 94. But General Manager Eric DeCosta remained patient as several offensive linemen who had been linked to the Ravens in mock drafts went earlier in the third round, like Jalen Mayfield of Michigan (68), Brady Christensen of BYU (70) and Wyatt Davis of Ohio State (86). But after the Buffalo Bills took offensive tackle Spencer Brown of Northern Iowa at No. 93, the coast was clear for the Ravens to draft Cleveland. The Ravens have drafted an offensive lineman in either the third or fourth round in six consecutive drafts.

Next……

The Ravens added an interesting developmental defensive back in the third round Friday, selecting Brandon Stephens of Southern Methodist University (SMU) with the 104th pick.

Stephens converted from running back to cornerback just two years ago when he transferred from UCLA to SMU. Despite being new to the position, he registered 23 pass breakups and showed a quick understanding of the position’s concepts.

The Ravens already have a loaded cornerbacks room with Pro Bowlers Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, as well as Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young and Anthony Averett.

Stephens has the physical attributes (he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash), attitude (team captain), and competitiveness to develop as an NFL defensive back. Now he’ll have the chance to come in and learn from the Ravens’ veterans and coaches to sharpen his skills.

He provides position flexibility and could play at free safety or nickel, and Stephens will surely be viewed as a core special teams prospect.

Size: 6-foot-1, 215 pounds

2020 stats: 10 games, 43 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 11 passes defensed, 1 interception

2019 stats: 13 games, 49 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 12 passes defensed

Why he fits the Ravens: Baltimore operates under the mantra that it can never have too many cornerbacks. Plus, the Ravens have a need for more depth at safety. Stephens checks both boxes, as General Manager Eric DeCosta said he believes Stephens could “end up being a really, really good free safety.”

 

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