One day after the Ravens’ season ended, general manager Eric DeCosta left Baltimore to get a look at what was next. The NFL draft was less than three months away, and a few days of Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Alabama, beckoned.

This week, team officials will fly to Indianapolis for the next big step in their predraft process. Over 300 players were invited to the NFL scouting combine, which runs from Monday to next Monday, with on-field drills beginning Thursday. The Ravens, already one of the AFC’s early Super Bowl favorites for next season, will be watching closely. As quarterback Lamar Jackson’s salary cap hit climbs ever higher, so does the importance of the draft in Baltimore.

With the help of Pro Football Focus’ mock draft simulator, here’s whom DeCosta could take with the team’s projected eight picks in April. (Draft slots in Rounds 3-7 will not be finalized until the NFL announces this year’s compensatory picks.)

Round 1 (No. 30 overall): Washington OT Troy Fautanu

The Ravens need a succession plan at left tackle. They also need to upgrade their talent at guard. The 6-foot-4, 317-pound Fautanu, rated the draft’s No. 17 overall prospect by former Ravens scout and current NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, is a two-birds-with-one-stone option. His starting experience at left tackle and left guard offers the kind of flexibility the Ravens should covet.

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If Ronnie Stanley, a potential salary cap casualty this offseason, returns to Baltimore and returns to form in 2024, Fautanu could slide in as a Day 1 starter at left guard, replacing pending free agent John Simpson. If there’s an opening at left tackle, Fautanu could challenge for that job, too, as the Ravens figure out where he fits best long term.

The Dallas Cowboys’ development plan for Tyler Smith, a first-round pick in 2022, might serve as a worthy model. A tackle at Tulsa, Smith started his first Dallas training camp at guard, soon moved to left tackle after an injury to Tyron Smith, then returned to guard in 2023, when he earned All-Pro honors.

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Also considered: Texas WR Adonai Mitchell, Arizona OT Jordan Morgan, Missouri EDGE Darius Robinson

Round 2 (No. 62 overall): Western Kentucky WR Malachi Corley

The 5-10, 218-pound Corley checks three important boxes: He has Steve Smith Sr.’s stamp of approval. He wore No. 81 at the Senior Bowl because, according to officials there, he compares favorably to Anquan Boldin. And he has a great track record of production, with 3,035 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns over his career, including 79 catches for 984 yards and 11 scores last season. Not a bad baseline for a Ravens prospect.

With only Zay Flowers under contract beyond 2024, the team’s wide receiver room will need another revamping sooner than later. Corley is not especially polished as a route runner, but his yards-after-the-catch ability — he’s known as the “YAC King” — could make him a weapon in the slot. He led all Football Bowl Subdivision wide receivers last season with 330 screen yards, according to Pro Football Focus, and averaged 8.6 yards after the catch, regularly running over and past defenders. He’s also a tenacious blocker.

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Also considered: Texas RB Jonathon Brooks, North Carolina WR Devontez Walker, Texas DL T’Vondre Sweat

Round 3 (No. 93 overall): Penn State CB Kalen King

The Ravens have drafted at least one cornerback in three straight years, and they’ll probably need another one this spring. Ronald Darby and Arthur Maulet are pending free agents. Brandon Stephens is entering the final year of his rookie deal. Marlon Humphrey is coming off a season in which he struggled to stay healthy. Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion “Pepe” Williams haven’t contributed much over their first two years. And the Ravens’ top AFC North rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, are poised to bring back star wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins for at least another season, if not longer.

The 5-11, 189-pound King was considered a potential first-round prospect entering 2023, but a disappointing junior season hurt his stock. Still, despite some limitations — average size, play strength and deep speed — there’s a lot to like. He’s a scheme-versatile corner, willing run defender and fluid athlete. King’s instincts and processing ability also stood out in 2022, when he led the Big Ten Conference in passes defended (21) and passes broken up (18).

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Also considered: Notre Dame RB Audric Estime, Houston EDGE Nelson Ceaser, Missouri CB Kris Abrams-Draine

Round 4 (No. 131 overall): Kansas State G Cooper Beebe

DeCosta double-dipped at offensive line in the 2022 (Tyler Linderbaum and Daniel Faalele) and 2023 drafts (Sala Aumavae-Laulu and Andrew Vorhees). Don’t be surprised if the Ravens do it again. Beyond the uncertainty at both tackle spots, the Ravens could also lose swing tackle Patrick Mekari and potential starting right guard Ben Cleveland after next season. Neither’s under contract for 2025.

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The 6-4, 335-pound Beebe started at left tackle in 2021, but he’s expected to remain at guard, where he starred the past two years. The two-time Big 12 Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year allowed just two sacks and six quarterback hits over the past three seasons, according to PFF. Beebe probably won’t be available as a Day 3 pick — he might not even make it out of the second round — but his strength and savvy would make him a fit on almost any offense.

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Also considered: Florida State RB Trey Benson, Northern Iowa DL Khristian Boyd, Utah S Cole Bishop

Round 4 (No. 134 overall, compensatory): Florida State RB Trey Benson

The draft’s middle rounds should be flush with quality running back prospects. That’s good news for the Ravens, who could lose Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins and Dalvin Cook in free agency, might not have Keaton Mitchell available to start the season, and should have four picks from Round 3 to Round 5. Justice Hill needs at least two running mates.

The 6-1, 223-pound Benson, a physical back with breakaway speed, looks the part. He rushed for 1,895 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 23 touchdowns over the past two seasons and showed his big-play potential elsewhere, returning a kickoff 93 yards for a score in 2022 and adding an 80-yard touchdown catch in 2023. But Benson’s elusiveness fell off last season — according to PFF, he forced 45 missed tackles as a junior after forcing 79 as a sophomore — and he’s an unproven pass blocker. The backfield’s struggles there loomed large in the Ravens’ playoff exit.

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Also considered: Northern Iowa DL Khristian Boyd, Michigan EDGE Braiden McGregor, Utah S Cole Bishop

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Round 5 (No. 164 overall): Washington State EDGE Brennan Jackson

The Ravens could open next season with two recent top-50 picks starting at outside linebacker, but Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo still have much to prove. Oweh has 13 sacks over his first three years. Ojabo has appeared in just five games and is coming back from season-ending knee surgery. Tavius Robinson should be a solid rotational piece in Year 2, and Malik Hamm could add pass rush juice, but pending free agents Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy leave big shoes to fill.

High-impact edge defenders are hard to find on Day 3, but the 6-4, 264-pound Jackson was a steady, consistent pass rusher over the past three years at Washington State. He had nine sacks, five hits and 26 hurries last season, according to PFF, while grading out as a solid run defender. Jackson’s effort level and physicality would fit well in Baltimore, where he could help on early downs and special teams.

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Also considered: Michigan TE A.J. Barner, Michigan EDGE Jaylen Harrell, Washington EDGE Zion Tupuola-Fetui

Round 7 (No. 225 overall, via Jets): Penn State ILB Curtis Jacobs

The Ravens can pencil in Roquan Smith, one of the NFL’s best inside linebackers, at one starting spot and Trenton Simpson, a third-round pick who flashed in Week 18, at the other. After them, though? Patrick Queen played himself into a lucrative deal elsewhere. Malik Harrison and Del’Shawn Phillips are pending free agents. Josh Ross hasn’t played a defensive snap over his two years in Baltimore. The Ravens need cheap depth here.

The 6-1, 238-pound Jacobs, a Glen Burnie native and former McDonogh standout, never had overwhelming production over his three years as a Penn State starter. But he did lead the Nittany Lions last season in tackles for loss (nine), and his speed should translate well to special teams.

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Also considered: Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman, BYU QB Kedon Slovis, Florida Atlantic DL Evan Anderson

Round 7 (No. 248 overall): Ohio State S Josh Proctor

As tempted as the Ravens might be to take a flyer on a late-round quarterback, they need reinforcements at safety, too. Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams should be one of the NFL’s best duos in 2024, but both missed time last season with injuries. Geno Stone will be hard to re-sign after his breakout 2023. Daryl Worley and Ar’Darius Washington are pending free agents.

The 6-2, 205-pound Proctor, who appeared in 43 games over six years at Ohio State, showcased his versatility last season. He saw more than 150 snaps as a box defender, slot defender and deep-lying safety, according to PFF. Proctor’s skinny frame made him a liability at times in run defense, but his speed and instincts should translate to the next level.

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Also considered: Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman, Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa, Mississippi EDGE Cedric Johnson

Jonas Shaffer is a Ravens beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun. Shaffer graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Silver Spring.

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