Ravens take top CB in Todd McShay’s latest mock draft

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Matthew Stevens
·2 min read
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The offseason has kicked off, which means analysts are beginning to really hone in on which players every team might potentially take in the 2021 NFL draft. The Baltimore Ravens have a few pretty large needs but have often gone after the best value instead of chasing those needs, often choosing to address their biggest ones in free agency when possible.

That makes predicting what Baltimore will do on draft day near impossible. But that won’t stop ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay from giving it a shot and throwing out a few different options.

In his first mock draft following Super Bowl LV, McShay has the Ravens grabbing South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn at No. 27. While McShay selected Horn on Baltimore’s behalf, he hedges his bet quite a bit by noting wide receiver could be a viable option as well with Rashod Bateman and Elijah Moore still on the board. But with the Ravens’ philosophy in mind, McShay pegs Horn as a great value over other positions maybe being a bigger need.

It’s easy to see why too. As McShay notes, Horn certainly has an NFL pedigree, being the son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn. McShay says Horn is “long an instinctive” and has him ranked as the third-best cornerback in the 2021 NFL draft. But the part that might really catch Baltimore’s eye is that Horn “tends to play his best in big games.”

With no real NFL Scouting Combine this year, scouts and general managers will have to once again rely far more on game tape and interviews to gauge a player’s ability. As Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta and Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz noted last year, they’ve specifically looked for players who elevated their play in big games. If Baltimore keeps a similar mindset this offseason, Horn could very well be on their radar at No. 27.

While cornerback is pretty clearly the Ravens’ most stacked position, this is a team that has never shied away from adding to it. As former general manager Ozzie Newsome used to say, “you can never have too many cornerbacks,” a philosophy that proved itself wise last season as Baltimore was ravaged by injuries at the position.

With Jimmy Smith on a one-year deal, Tavon Young’s injury history, and Marcus Peters being a potential cap casualty as early as this offseason; the Ravens would be wise to restock the depth chart with high-end talent. At the worst, Baltimore would be able to slowly develop Horn for a year or two before asking him to start. The best-case scenario is Horn hits the field often as a rookie and plays at a Pro Bowl level.

As mock drafts continue to pour in over the next few months, don’t be terribly shocked if some unexpected positions get some attention.

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