There haven't been many posts about the draft, so I figured to get them started. I've already watched tons of tape on many of the prospects for this draft and have been compiling a list of college players that I believe could be of interest to the Ravens. Instead of listing every player that I believe the Ravens could potentially draft, I'm only going to list three of the best prospects for the first and second rounds. These players are based on the following criteria: 1) The prospect plays a position that is widely considered a need for the Ravens. 2) The prospect is likely to be available when the Ravens select in the player's corresponding round. Finally, I will select one player in each round from the following positions of need:
- Tight End
- 3-4 Defensive End
This is the obvious, trendy pick right now. After the Boldin trade, everyone seems to think that Gresham would complete the offense. I actually agree. I think that Gresham would be a tremendous value at pick number twenty-five, and he also fills a huge need for the Ravens. It seems like a match made in heaven. However, Gresham does come with some questions about his measurables and injury history.
Odrick is not an obvious pick, but I have a feeling that Ozzie Newsome and company are going to like what they see when they watch the tape on Odrick. At 6'5" and 296 pounds, Odrick possesses all of the physical ability to play DE in the 3-4. In fact, he's bigger than Trevor Pryce, the player whom the Ravens would hope for Odrick to replace. Odrick stands out because of his motor and ability to push the pocket. Picking Odrick at twenty-five would probably raise some eyebrows, but Ozzie has never let public opinion sway his decisions. Odrick "plays like a Raven," and I can see many attributes in his abilities and personality that I know Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh value highly.
I've seen several mocks penciling Wilson in for the Ravens, and I would be very happy if they drafted him. There aren't many guys out there that I would call low risk, but I would most definitely call Wilson a low risk prospect. He plays hard, and there is no doubt that his style translates to and is valuable in the NFL. Pairing Wilson with Webb would give the Ravens a very nasty secondary in the future. Wilson reminds me of Chris McAlister. He's a bit smaller than McAlister, but he plays with a Raven-like intensity that I know Ozzie and Harbaugh will both love when they watch his tape.
If the Ravens could actually draft Hernandez at fifty-seven in the second round, it would be a much better deal than drafting Gresham in the first round. I like Gresham more than Hernandez... but not by much. Hernandez is exceptionally athletic for a tight end and has excellent speed and agility. He played on a great offense. Defenses were often stretched thin trying to stop Tebow, so Hernandez's production may be a bit bloated. However, there is no doubting his talent when you watch him on film. I doubt that he will be available in the second round, but it is possible. If he is available, the Ravens must draft him.
This guy is my sleeper pick and one of my favorite players to watch in the entire draft. It's surprising that Alualu doesn't get more attention, but he is undersized for a defensive lineman. He is a great interior penetrator. Shooting gaps is his specialty. He's intelligent and reads screens well. The first time that I watched him play, I thought, "This guy totally plays like a Raven." He is a tough, relentless player and rushes the quarterback with underrated speed and amazing ferocity. He has great character and is a good family man. Finally, Alualu may be more attractive to the Ravens because he played DE in Cal's 3-4 defense and has experience in the role he would play for the Ravens.
McCourty is one of the few players that the Ravens have already shown interest in. Much like Lardarius Webb before the last draft, the Ravens sent their scouts and Chuck Pagano, their secondary coach, to see McCourty in person. After watching the tape on McCourty for two minutes, it's easy to see why they like him. He may be one of the best special teams players that I've ever seen in college. McCourty also plays with speed, quickness and excellent footwork. McCourty would be a good value at pick number fifty-seven, but it is possible that will be gone since his draft stock has been rising after his pro day.
Feel free to tell me what you think, watch tape of other prospects and talk about who you think the Ravens will draft. Obviously, the Ravens will always draft the best player available, but it helps to take the needs of the team into account for the sake of the discussion. The purpose of this post was to get the ball rolling on draft discussion in general.