The Baltimore Ravens approach the 2013 NFL Draft coming off of a Super Bowl victory, but moving on from much of the team that got them there. Joe Flacco becomes the man in Baltimore as some of the most recognizable faces and the spokesman of the team, Ray Lewis, retires and begins his reign of terror as an analyst. Ed Reed, Dannelle Ellerbe, Anquan Boldin, Paul Kruger, Matt Birk, Bernard Pollard, and Cary Williams have moved on to other teams or retired, so the Ravens have to reload. The good news for the Ravens is they are loaded with draft picks and have a great talent front office led by general manager Ozzie Newsome, who has faced this challenge before. The Ravens not only need to reload from the players they lost but also do more to build around their franchise quarterback who got a substantial raise in the offseason and will come into the 2013 season with enormous expectations. Because of the number of picks they have, it would not be surprising at all to see Newsome try to work some deals on draft day to either move up in the draft or try to add more picks in next year’s draft.
32. Manti Te’o, ILB Notre Dame – The Ravens were fully prepared to lose Ray Lewis to retirement but were expecting to retain Dannelle Ellerbe to be the main inside linebacker in their defense. With Ellerbe off to Miami, the Ravens find themselves with a sizable hole in the middle of their defense. Manti Te’o is a great inside linebacker prospect for the 3-4 and while he has issues to improve, he can be a fixture in that Ravens defense for a long time.
Kevin Minter, ILB LSU – If Minter lasts to this pick, he is probably the pick due to the fact that he is a great fit in the 3-4 defense and has better than average range. His instincts and consistency are impressive and he is the type of player that Newsome loves to collect for his team. While there are some that hope that Arthur Brown could make it to the Ravens, which seems more fantasy than reality.
Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee – The Ravens have decent weapons for Joe Flacco but no one that really scares opponents as a true threat. And when a team gives their quarterback a huge contract, they are inclined to try to give that quarterback some help to make the investment give a good return. Hunter has all the tools to be a #1 receiver in the NFL and he just needs to stay healthy and get more consistent with concentrating on some of the easier passes to be a great weapon for Flacco, especially going deep.
David Amerson, CB N.C. State – With the loss of Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, the Ravens have some questions at safety to answer. Amerson is the same type of ball hawk as Reed was and is a more natural safety than a corner. Some believe that he could be an Ed Reed type safety in the NFL so it could be a good fit.
Menelik Watson, OT Florida State – There are some out there that believe Watson has the tools to go in the first round and Baltimore has a good offensive line with a question hanging out there regarding left tackle. The Ravens have gotten a ton out of Bryant McKinnie, but his age and health are somewhat of a ticking time bomb. Watson could come in and learn behind McKinnie before eventually taking over the position. And with so much riding on Flacco, protecting him has to be a priority.
62. Da’Rick Rogers, WR Tennessee Tech – Off field concerns forced Rogers to go from Tennessee to Tennessee Tech but he had plenty of talent and would have been a contributor even with Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson playing for the Vols. With the loss of Anquan Boldin, the Ravens may want to add a receiver with some size to play across from Torrey Smith.
Brandon Williams, DT Missouri Southern State – Many gravitate towards John Jenkins and with good reason, but the Ravens have never been afraid to go the small school route and for some, Williams is just a better prospect than Jenkins. He has a good motor for someone his size and offers surprisingly athleticism and potential for the nose tackle position giving the Ravens a ton of size in the middle and allowing Ngata to keep playing at defensive end.
Terron Armstead, OT Arkansas Pine-Bluff – Armstead will almost certainly go earlier than this pick on his athletic tools and potential alone, but if he lasts to this pick, the Ravens would be happy to grab him. He has all the tools to be a good tackle in the NFL potentially playing on either side of the line, but the Ravens would be grooming him to be their left tackle.
Barrett Jones, OL Alabama – Jones is a player that teams and especially coaches are going to love and he will likely be picked earlier than his ability might suggest, but if he does last to this point, Newsome will not hesitate to go back to his Alma Mater and grab a lineman that can play a few different interior line spots, but of most interest to the Ravens right now, center.
Matt Elam, S Florida – A freakish athlete and a guy who is just all over the field, Elam has so much talent but seems to have football ADD as if all the plays he almost made but did not were added up, that would have been a great career in his own right. For Elam, it is all about consistency and finishing the play but he has a ton of potential that the Ravens might love. Elam also has the versatility to play both safety spots.
94. David Bakhtiari, OT Colorado – The Ravens need a left tackle that can take over for McKinnie when he is done, but that does not mean they need to panic. Bakhtiari has the tools to develop into a good left tackle and a year behind McKinnie could be huge for him. He also fits the size the Ravens seem to like in their tackles, offering a ton of length.
Travis Frederick, C Wisconsin – With the retirement of Matt Birk, the Ravens are likely going to be looking for a center, even if they like Reggie Stephens for the starting job, to make sure they have depth. Frederick, is generally regarded as the best center in the draft and the Ravens like their linemen bigger than average.
William Gholston, DE Michigan State – Newsome has always been a guy who likes to collect big athletes. In many ways, Gholston might remind them of Pernell McPhee, who they have gotten a lot of production out of and Gholston needs to improve his technique but would give them more athleticism up front as well as versatility. He could line up as end in their base front or slide inside to rush the passer in sitautions.
Aaron Dobson, WR Marshall – In terms of profiling a receiver to the one they lost in Boldin, Dobson might be the most natural replacement for him. A big, tough receive, Dobson is a talented receiver that is often lost in an incredibly deep class for the position.
129. Tony Jefferson, S Oklahoma – The Ravens have some major holes at safety, but never draft desperately and while Jefferson has some work to do, especially in his tackling, he is a natural coverage safety with great instincts and technique like a corner. Jefferson might have benefited from another year in college, but he has NFL talent and could be one of the better safeties in the draft if he can reach his potential.
130. Quanterus Smith, DE Western Kentucky – The Ravens were prepared for the loss of Paul Kruger with the addition of Courtney Upshaw in last year’s draft so they have some roster flexibility to bring in a player like Smith. One of the more natural pass rushers in the draft, Smith suffered an ACL injury and is still rehabbing, likely to miss part of it not all of the upcoming season. The Ravens are in position to be able to stash him on injured reserve for a year, if necessary, and have him come back full strength next year.
Nico Johnson, ILB Alabama – It would not be surprising at all to see the Ravens grab multiple inside linebackers in this draft, especially with all the picks they have. Newsome loves to look for players at Alabama and Johnson has a ton of experience playing in the 3-4 so he could potentially make an early impact In the NFL.
Brennan Williams, OT North Carolina – Another player who suffered an injury last year but had a ton of ability and played left tackle for the Tar Heels. The Ravens are looking for a long term answer for left tackle but Williams could be quality depth for both sides if he is not the answer to protect Flacco’s blind side.
B.W. Webb, CB William and Mary - Teams can never have too many talented corners and the Ravens showed why last year winning the Super Bowl even with the season ending injury to their best corner, LaDarius Webb, by having a player like Cary Williams step in and play well. Williams is now an Eagle and the Ravens could use a replacement. Webb is another talented corner working to overcome a small school stigma but could definitely give the Ravens another competitor in their secondary.
165. Kwame Geathers, DT Georgia – The Ravens love to collect talented 300lbers in the NFL draft on both sides of the line and Geathers would give them another enormous, space eating nose tackle with experience as a defensive end who can help them in the rotation. He is another player with experience in a 3-4 defensive scheme playing at Georgia.
168. Brian Schwenke, C Cal – The Ravens got a great second act out of Matt Birk as their center, but he has retired a Super Bowl champion and while the Ravens are hardly shocked, they could use some more depth at the position. Schwenke is a tough-nosed, hardworking player and he could provide depth and perhaps compete for the starting job against Reggie Stephens.
Reid Fragel, OT Ohio State – Like so many teams, the Ravens are another team that could be intrigued by Fragel’s potential to play left tackle in the NFL. A converted tight end, Fragel only has one season of experience at tackle, but acclimated himself well and steadily improved as the season progressed. It is unclear how long the Ravens or McKinnie feels he can play but if they go this route, both sides may feel comfortable with him for another year, maybe two.
Devin Taylor, DE South Carolina – Taylor has some questionable but has aced the draft process, showing up well at the Shrine Game as well as the combine that is making people go back and take another look at him. He has potential to contribute as a power end or a 5-technique end with continued development.
David Bass, DE Western Missouri State - Another smaller school pass rusher with talent to potentially make an impact in the NFL, the Ravens could use him as a rotational pass rusher early while they develop him for the future.
199. Michael Williams, TE Alabama – So many think of Williams as an extension of the offensive line and with good reason, but he does have ability to contribute in the passing game. The Ravens have pass catching tight ends they like in Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, but Williams would allow them a specialist to come in and help open up holes for Ray Rice and Bernard Pollard as well as being an asset in short yardage situations and down the near the goal line.
200. Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL Notre Dame – Moore was having an impressive season as a defensive end in Notre Dame’s 3-4 scheme before an unfortunate knee injury in the National Title game against Alabama ended his season. The Ravens can afford to stash him on injured reserve for a year and get a talented 300lber back to compete in camp next year.
203. Xavier Nixon, OT Florida – Nixon has a ton of talent to play tackle in the NFL and could be a good swing tackle option for the Ravens. Nixon needs to become more consistent and it seems like he needs to decide whether he really loves to play football, which might be holding him back slightly. Nixon has a lot of experience against high level competition and the size profile the Ravens like.
Brad Sorenson, QB Southern Utah – Because of the sheer number of picks they have, the Ravens might make a value play on a toolsy quarterback to develop to potentially trade in the future. There is no shortage of teams willing to make a deal for a shot at a franchise quarterback and the teams who develop and trade these players can receive great picks in return.
Sharmarko Thomas, S Clemson – Physically impressive but chaotic in how out of control he can sometimes play, Thomas is often times a missile on the field. At the very least, he should be a viable contributor on special teams, but he might just be able to find his way into the regular rotation on defense.
Lamar Mady, OL Youngstown State – The Ravens could look to add camp competition like Mady who can contribute at multiple spots along the interior of the line including center. The Ravens have a number of young linemen and they always want more competition to get the best out of their guys.
238. Mark Harrison, WR Rutgers – The Ravens can certainly afford to take a flyer on a triangle numbers type prospect like Harrison who is huge for the wide receiver position at just under 6’2 7/8” 231lbs with a 4.46 40 and extremely long arms. If he can make the roster, he offers a deep threat as well as a red zone presence.
247. Jake Knott, ILB Iowa State – Knott was a tough, physical strong side linebacker for the Cyclones and it would not be surprising if he was drafted much earlier, but he profiles well to play inside linebacker in the 3-4 and will likely prove whether or not he can make an NFL roster almost immediately. Knott could also be an asset on special teams.
T.J. Moe, WR Missouri – Moe does not have the prototypical skills teams look for in their wide receivers, but he has some ability to play in the slot. A team like the Ravens could look to grab him just to bring him in and see what he can do.
Cooper Taylor, S Richmond – The Ravens might be inclined to go into their backyard and grab another safety prospect to come in and compete. Taylor is huge safety and could be in the mix to play safety or linebacker in the NFL.
Luke Marquardt, OT Azusa Pacific – Although there is a good chance Marquardt could be picked earlier, if he is there the Ravens might want to take a flier on him just to see what he can do. He was injured this season and needs significant development but he offers a ton of potential for the NFL and incredible size.
Topics: 2013 Nfl Draft, 2013 NFL Mock Draft, Alabama Crimson Tide Football, Baltimore Ravens, Brian Schwenke, Cal Golden Bears Football, Colorado Buffaloes Football, Da'rick Rogers, David Bakhtiari, Florida Gators Football, Inside Linebackers, Iowa State Cyclones Football, Jake Knott, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Manti Te'o, Mark Harrison, Michael Williams, NFL, Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football, Offensive Tackles, Oklahoma Sooners Football, Quanterus Smith, Rutgers Scarlet Knights Football, Safeties, Tennessee Tech, Tony Jefferson, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Football, Wide Receivers, Xavier Nixon