Is Baltimore Looking to Move to 23 to Take LB Dont'a Hightower?

BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 15: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on from the bench during the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium on January 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore won 20-13 in regulation. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

ESPN's AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley summarized a bit of the latest log to the Steelers/Ravens burning inferno, mentioning the teams likely have many of the same players targeted for their respective first round picks in Thursday's draft.

Some of this could be fueled by a recent interview Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome had on the Ravens web site, and even more could be grounded in the mock draft done by SI's Peter King earlier this week - who had Baltimore trading up to No. 23 with Detroit, and taking Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower.

King is one of the rare football writers who fully admits to the lack of success (whatever that means) in his mock draft, but that trade does make a lot of sense for the Ravens. King doesn't mention it, but Baltimore has been very active and aggressive in the draft in recent years. They traded up in 2008 (Joe Flacco) and 2009 (Michael Oher) and traded out of the first round in 2010 (with Denver, for QB Tim Tebow).

Keep in mind, King isn't claiming that pick is something in the works, just his opinion of how the draft may go.

Incidentally, King has the Steelers taking OG Kevin Zeitler at 24, after Baltimore takes Hightower at 23. Zeitler is also a guy both teams should consider. So is Coutney Upshaw, who, if not for his marked character, wouldn't likely be available that low in the first round.

Hightower has been the focal point of many mock drafts (for whatever that is worth) for the Steelers, and both teams are looking for future assistance in replacing long-standing defensive captains. ILB James Farrior was released this off-season after 10 seasons with the Steelers. Ravens LB Ray Lewis will be 37 years old at the start of the 2012 season, and Baltimore has a solid enough roster top to bottom they're in a position to draft a highly talented successor.

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