With the 26th pick of the 2009 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Here is Runnin' Rebel's reasoning for the pick:
Ozzie Newsome has a reputation of drafting the best player available without much concern of the Ravens positional needs. That being said, I'm not Ozzie Newsome.
The Ravens advanced to the playoffs mainly on the strengths of their defensive prowess. Although they lost a few key players from the unit, the front-office did an adequate job replacing those players through free agency and has no strong need to re-tool that side of the ball with their first pick.
Joe Flacco emerged as one of the NFL's capable young guns and did an admirable job of not losing the games for the defense. In order for Flacco to take the next step he needs a viable deep threat at the wideout position to showcase his arm strength. An aging Derrick Mason was the team's most consistent receiver. Heyward-Bey would be the heir apparent and the perfect complement to command the double team and stretch the field to free up the underneath routes for the running backs and newly acquired tight end L. J. Smith.
Heyward-Bey has electrifying speed and quickness and the potential to go the distance on any given play. He possesses the unique combination of size and speed NFL teams are looking for. This unique combination, along with his ability to go across the middle of the field, will make him an extremely valuable target in red-zone situations. Along with filling the team's need, Heyward-Bey will immediately be a fan favorite, as he attended high school and college in the local area.
I did consider Alex Mack to learn behind Matt Birk and add OL depth, also to tick off the Steelers, who have their eye on him, but decided he was a bit of a reach at this point in the draft.
NFL.com's Mike Mayock had Heyward-Bey going to the Raiders at #7 in his latest mock draft.
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