On draft

O, BY THE WAY

Last Word

December 11, 2007|By BILL ORDINE

Let's do a little forward looking here.

Let's assume the Ravens beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. You can speculate for yourself whether they can beat the Seattle Seahawks or Pittsburgh Steelers in games 15 and 16. But their track record so far this season says the Ravens will finish 5-11.

So, where does that put them in the draft for the first round? Short answer: somewhere between seventh and 12th, depending on about a bazillion variables.

I figure the following teams will finish with fewer than five wins: Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders. Teams that I figure could finish with five wins (either because I think they'll win one more or are capable of losing their last three): Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs and, of course, the Ravens.

And when you start ruminating about the draft, if you want to get ill, consider that the New England Patriots have San Francisco's pick, which could be the No. 2 player overall.

But moving right along ...

I've seen some mock drafts that have the Ravens taking a quarterback in the range where they'll be picking - Kentucky's Andre Woodson is the name that keeps popping up, and Boston College's Matt Ryan occasionally, with at least one quarterback, namely Louisville's Brian Brohm, going in the top five. But the best cornerback should be on the board.

There is a school of thought that cornerbacks are limited as difference-makers because the NFL rules work against them. But considering how much trouble the Ravens have had on defense when their starting corners were hurt this season, taking the top guy at that position is definitely a way they could go. Or they might select a linebacker, because the top guy at that position could be there, too (unpopular as that might be among fans).

I'll wager we'll be hearing about South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins, Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis and Penn State linebacker Dan Connor in the weeks and months ahead. Note: The two Buckeyes are juniors.

Having said that, free agency is between now and April, and let's make sure we all understand this kind of talk is way premature.

But can you blame me after Sunday night?

bill.ordine@baltsun.com

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