With the 26th Pick in the 2011 Dawgs By Nature Mock Draft, the Baltimore Ravens Select...

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With the 26th pick in the 2011 Dawgs By Nature Community Mock Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select...

Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

This selection and write-up was made by Ecwingen:

I hoped Seattle would pass on Jimmy Smith so I could take him and some easy cheap shots about Ravens players’ character. The Ravens probably hope he’s still here as well, since their secondary could use a 6’2" cornerback. But Smith is gone and nobody left with a first round grade has similar predilections toward drug use and dishonesty, so we’ll have to go with the biggest need. If I were Ozzie Newsome, I would ask only one question about this pick: "will it help us beat the Steelers?" The Ravens are (God help us) legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but only if they can get past the towel-wavers. Why does Baltimore lose to Pittsburgh in the playoffs? I see two principal reasons. First, the Ravens can’t stop the passing of Roethlisberger. Just looking at that playoff game, he threw for 226 yards, no interceptions, and 2 touchdowns, with a rating of 101.8. Even with the Ravens defense scoring a touchdown on his fumble, Roethlisberger’s play was the key to the Steelers offensive success. Second, the Ravens can’t pass the ball effectively when it counts. In three games against the Steelers last year Flacco was sacked ten times. Five of those sacks came in the playoff game, which helps explain his abysmally bad numbers: 125 yards passing, 1 interception, and a 61.1 rating. Without a better performance than that, Baltimore isn’t going anywhere near the Lombardi trophy.

So which issue is more important and which is most easily addressed with the players available? I don’t think Baltimore is going to be able to stop Roethlisberger by beefing up their pass rush. Remember, the Ravens sacked him six times in the playoff game, and he still killed them. Roethlisberger seems to be more productive the more he is pressured. So while there are a couple decent potential DE/OLB rushers available at this spot (Adrian Clayborn and Brooks Reed), neither is likely to diminish Roethlisberger’s effectiveness. Secondary help would be useful, but Jimmy Smith just went off the board. Instead, the Ravens need to improve their ability to throw on Pittsburgh. I think the best strategy would be to get a replacement for Flacco, who I don’t believe will ever be an elite passer. But the Ravens think he is, so the pick needs to help him. Some draftniks think Ozzie should take a receiver here to stretch the field, but I think Baltimore’s wideouts are not the problem (maybe I’m biased from watching Boldin streak past Eric Wright over and over?). If Flacco were given another second to throw, perhaps he’d go downfield more against teams other than the Browns. Or perhaps he’d look at one side of the field for 4.5 seconds instead of 3.5, before checking down to Ray Rice or taking a sack. Either way the Ravens need to improve his protection, allowing Flacco to either reach his potential or demonstrate once and for all he can’t excel in the NFL.

That means the Ravens should pick Derek Sherrod from Mississippi State. The Ravens have shown significant interest in this player and would likely be very happy if he were still available. Considering his height (6’6"), weight (recently 321), arm length (36’), and light-footed athleticism, and you’ve got a man with every physical tool needed to dominate at the next level. Sherrod isn’t perfect, especially since all the reports suggest he lacks a mean streak and plays without aggression. In fact he seems to be a lot like Michael Oher, in that both are amazing physical specimens with questions about personality and motivation. But if Sherrod can find the drive to develop his talent he may have the highest upside of any tackle in this draft. He could slide in at right tackle and immediately improve Baltimore’s line; if his elite left tackle potential emerges, then he could switch to that side and let Oher move to the right, which might be better for Oher in the long run. Either way the edges should be secure for years to come.

I like the dig at Flacco. I have thought for years that the Ravens should continue drafting on the defensive side of the ball so they never miss a beat when guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have to hang it up. I think they just did miss out on Jimmy Smith too, as I think he would have been a great pick for this team. Sherrod won't be a disappointment though; his stock seems to be rising and this seems about the right time for him to be taken off the board.

The Atlanta Falcons are on the clock next (email will be sent to Clinton Blankenship).

Pos Team Player Pos School Drafter
1 Carolina Cameron Netwon
QB Auburn BrownDawg1409
2 Denver Marcell Dareus DT Alabama Bernie19Kosar
3 Buffalo Da'Quan Bowers DE Clemson discoinferno083
4 Cincinnati A.J. Green WR Georgia macdowellm03
5 Arizona Patrick Peterson CB LSU Browns town
6 Cleveland Cameron Jordan DE California golanbatrac
7 San Francisco Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska rufio
8 Tennessee Von Miller OLB Texas A&M iwearmocs
9 Dallas Nick Fairley DT Auburn Granville74
10 Washington Robert Quinn DE North Carolina Rounds94
11 Houston Aldon Smith DE Missouri rdy
12 Minnesota Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri Simmsinns
13 Detroit Tyron Smith OT USC BuenosAires_Dawg
Bernie19Kosar
14 St. Louis Julio Jones WR Alabama Don'tByBrownsQBJerseys
15 Miami Mike Pouncey OG Univ. of Florida jaws
16 Jacksonville Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue sleepy042
17 New England J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin Onyx Lightning
18 San Diego Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA Adrock2099
19 N.Y. Giants Kyle Rudolph TE Notre Dame Red-Right-88
20 Tampa Bay Justin Houston OLB Georgia Legoman0721
21 Kansas City Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College Mehouf
OrangeAndBrownFever
22 Indianapolis Nate Solder OT Colorado PaduaDSP
23 Philadelphia Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin booobs33
24 New Orleans Muhammed Wilkerson DT Temple Buckeye Brad
25 Seattle Jimmy Smith CB Colorado bross09
26 Baltimore Derek Sherrod OT Mississippi State Ecwingen
27 Atlanta Clinton Blankenship
28 New England Onyx Lightning
29 Chicago jharbdo
30 N.Y. Jets Roger Dorn
31 Pittsburgh
SpecialBrownie
32 Green Bay ScottJC
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