Some of you may know that I live in Maryland, so I catch a good amount of news on the Washington Redskins and more importantly the Baltimore Ravens. The majority of my friends are Ravens fans and they talk a lot of trash to me during the season because of my allegiance to the Pittsburgh Steelers. During my high school years (you know, when you used to be able to run a mile in six minutes and not die) I had a lacrosse coach who used to preach "know thy enemy." He believed that knowing your opponent better than they knew themselves would allow you to exploit their weaknesses and take away their strengths when you faced them. I have carried this principle over to watching football
since I am no longer athletic because it allows me to generally win any debate or argument against my purple-camouflage-wearing friends.
So, I took on the Baltimore Ravens for the Mock Draft because I thought I knew them pretty well. The Ravens had a pretty good year after an unexpected AFC Championship Game appearance in 2008 where they were stomped out by the best team in the history of the planet. In 2009 they again slid into the playoffs and eventually lost to the Superbowl bound Indianapolis Colts. Obviously, when you fall short of winning it all, there is room for improvement. However, determining those areas of need were a little bit more difficult than I thought it would be. Here are the positions I believe the Ravens could shore up (with a little help from Ms. Malor).
Initially, I believed the Ravens could use a TE to back up Heap and be his eventual replacement. After looking at the roster I realized they drafted Davon Drew out of ECU in the 5th round last year. Drew was projected as a top 10 TE prospect last year with good blocking skills and a decent catching TE. On a team that likes to run outside a lot with speedy Ray Rice, that is crucial. So I was wrong, and I decided to turn to the Baltimore Beatdown for some insight.
I found out that their biggest needs are at CB and DE. At times the Ravens run a 3-4 defense similar to the Steelers, but they also have the flexibility to run a 4-3. (Here is an X's and O's break down of it). That flexibility allows them to give fits to opposing offenses. However, the ability to run a defense with that flexibility requires very specific athletes able to fill multiple rolls, especially at DT, DE, and LB. Jared Odrick out of Penn State would be a great fit for this defense with his physical skills. He could potentially fall to the Ravens in the draft and I think they would pick him in a heart beat. Unfortunately, he is already gone in this draft, as many mockers are predicting the Patriots to snatch him up at 22.
The draft is very deep at CB, but there may be some good names available at 25. In this draft, Devin McCourty of Rutgers and Kareem Jackson of Alabama are still available. The Ravens are looking for a #1 CB and McCourty is projected to be a #2. Jackson has potential to be a #1, but he is very young and still needs to develop. He may take a bit more time to develop than the Ravens are willing to commit to. Additionally, there is potential for Jackson to fall further than expected and the Ravens could trade up in round 2 to grab him.
Therefore, I decided to look at the Ravens defensive line and the prospects at DE and DT. This is definitely a position of need for the Ravens and they might look to grab the most promising DE/DT available at the 25 spot if they do not trade up or down. In my opinion, Terrence Cody would be a
fat perfect pick for this team. He may be a little bit on the heavy side, but there is no reason to believe the Ravens cannot whip him into shape, especially with the tremendous training facility they have. There is no doubt that Cody has great physical skills (when in shape) and could be a huge steal for the Ravens this late in the 1st. Can you imagine how brutal running against that 4-3 would be with Cody, Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, and Trevor Pryce clogging up the middle? Or they could shift to a 3-4 with Cody, Ngata, and Pryce that would make it very difficult for an offensive line to get a push in the running game. He is a fat boy, but if he slims down he could take over as their NT and be the future of that defense beside Ngata.
- St. Louis Rams - Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
- Detroit Lions - Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
- Washington Redskins - Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
- Kansas City Chiefs - Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma
- Seattle Seahawks - Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
- Cleveland Browns - Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame
- Oakland Raiders - Taylor Mays, S, Southern California
- Buffalo Bills - Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
- Jacksonville Jaguars - Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
- Denver Broncos - Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
- Miami Dolphons - Sergio Kindle, LB/DE, Texas
- San Francisco 49ers - Joe Haden, CB, Florida
- Seattle Seahawks - C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
- New York Giants - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
- Tennessee Titans - Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
- San Francisco 49ers - Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida
- Pittsburgh Steelers - Earl Thomas, S, Texas
- Atlanta Falcons - Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
- Houston Texans - Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
- Cincinnati Bengals - Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma
- New England Patriots - Jared Odrick, DL, Penn State
- Green Bay Packers - Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan
- Philadelphia Eagles - Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Missouri