From the responses received in this post a few weeks ago, I was able to put together an overall list of the top 10 needs for Ravens heading into the 2011 draft. The list came out to look like this.
For this post, there will be a breakdown of 1 player at each position that the Baltimore Ravens could very well target. Not every player will be a first round pick, so we will look at guys who have first round grades all the way down to seventh round grades.
1. Cameron Jordan - DE- 6'4" 287 lbs - California
- Jordan is an interesting prospect at DE because he has the size you want in 4-3 DE, but was a standout in California's 3-4 defense. It is very rare to see a 3-4 defense ran in college football, but Jordan was arguably the best DE in the country in this style of defense. Many people have even said that Jordan could possibly play OLB, he is that good of an athlete. Incredibly strong and is the best run stopping DE in this draft in my opinion.
- Round Projection: Mid-late First
Needs 2-10 after the jump.
2. Marcus Gilbert - OT - 6'6" 330 lbs - Florida
- What immediately stands out when looking at Gilbert's body of work is the fact that he played both Right and Left Tackle during his time at Florida, and played both positions very well. This position switch was not because of someone new coming in or poor performances at one position, but rather was a QB switch from lefty Tim Tebow to righty John Brantley. With Baltimore looking for either a RT or LT in this draft, Gilbert could very well be that player. One of the better pass blockers in this draft and reminds me of Jared Gaither with how quick his feet is. Struggles when defenders take the inside route, but most young tackles usually do.
- Round Projection: 3rd
3. Edmond Gates - WR - 6'0" 192 lbs - Abilene Christian
- Gates has been flying up most draft boards, and to be honest, I can see why. Everyone is talking about the Torrey Smiths, Titus Youngs and other deep threats in this draft, but not many are talking about Gates. When first watching videos of Gates, I noticed a player that had Mike Wallace type qualities. Gates is a 4.3 type runner that does it all. Willing to block, can beat you short and deep, long frame, and just insane athleticism. Gates is a little older than most other seniors (25) but that is mainly due to his junior college transfer to Abilene Christian. Had 66 rec for 1,153 yards and 13 TD as a senior. Gates would immediately compete with David Reed for that #3 spot and would bring the deep threat Joe desperately needs.
- Round Projection: Late 2nd-3rd
4. Jake Kirkpatrick - C - 6'2" 301 lbs - Texas Christian
- I first got a chance to watch Kirkpatrick in the TCU's 21-19 Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin and what a player to watch. It is usually tough to have a O-Lineman catch your attention, especially a Center because of how much is going on in the trenches once the ball is snapped and how quick plays are. But there were times throughout the game where I felt bad for the Wisconsin D-Tackles, he was basically punching these guys in the mouth each time, and Wisconsin had a damn tough D-Line last season. Kirkpatrick is a hell of an athlete, where he was an all state player in Basketball and Baseball along with football. Run blocking is definitely his strength with great awareness of what is happening on each play by the opposing defense. Could use some work in pass blocking, but a year behind Matt Birk could very well do that.
- Round Projection: 5th
5. Jalil Brown - CB - 6'0" 202 lbs - Colorado
- While so many people have been talking about Colorado CB Jimmy Smith possibly being a very high first round pick, many are forgetting that there was another CB on Colorado who has been pretty good. That CB is Jalil Brown has been overshadowed by the performances of Smith. While Smith is obviously the better prospect with his combination of size and elite coverage skills, I have actually seen a more willing tackler in Jalil Brown when watching both play. Has great height and a thicker build than Smith and seems to perform best in zone coverages. Gets caught looking into the backfield a little too often, but is definitely willing to throw his body out there to make the tackle. Would be a nice nickel and dime guy next to Carr while Foxworth, Wilson and Webb shutdown everyone else.
- Round Projection: 3rd-early 4th.
6. Greg Jones - ILB - 6'0" 240 lbs - Michigan State
- Jones was in consideration for being an All-American in his freshman year, so that should give you a gauge of hos much talent he has. Finishing his senior season with All-American and all-conference honors, Jones had 106 tackles, 10 for loss, a sack, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles. Has elite speed as a ILB and reminds me much of an improved Ellerbe because of their similar builds. From the 4 games I have watched, Jones seems to be best suited for the Tampa 2 defense at ILB because of his ability to cover so much of the field, but I could definitely see teams in a 4-3 moving Jones to OLB to take advantage of his speed. Instincts and 1 on 1 tackling are by far his two best attributes. From what I have read from numerous MSU media outlets, he is a class act person who is a natural leader and will never be a character concern for any team. There is no denying that we must start looking for Ray Lewis' replacement and Jones is the type of player that could very well fill that role.
- Round Projection: 2nd-3rd
7. Rahim Moore - FS - 6'1" 196 lbs - UCLA
- Moore is considered to be the best Safety prospect in the 2011 draft, although there are not many top talents in both FS or SS this season. But Moore is the clear cut #1 prospect and rightfully deserves that honor. We have already heard the reports of Rahim Moore being mentored for the last few years by Ravens FS Ed Reed, so I can only imagine the type of impact that has had on this young man's life. While some have said they think Moore's stock is dropping, I still consider him a guy on the fringe of the first round. Had 14 interceptions in his 3 year career at UCLA, and this was against QB's like Andrew Luck and others in that strong conference. Moore would obviously be the future replacement for Ed Reed, and it seems suitable.
- Round Projection: Late 1st-Early 2nd.
8. Alex Green - RB - 6'0" 224 lbs - Hawaii
- One guy that has really shot up my draft board the last few weeks after a very strong combine to go along with some skills that would compliment Ray Rice very well. A junior college transfer, Green hasn't gotten alot of attention until recently where it seems some people finally realized he led all of college football with 8.2 yards per carry (insane numbers). While many will say Green's 1,199 yards is just a product of the dangerous offense Hawaii runs, we must remember that the Warriors' offense is much more pass-heavy. Green is a straight line runner with great power, huge lower body and much better pass catching abilities than people expect. Also has one of the most deadly juke moves out there. Not going to offer much sideline to sideline stuff, but we want him to compliment everything Rice does, and to do that I believe we would need a power back like Alex Green, especially if McGahee does not return.
- Round Projection: 4th-5th
9. Owen Marecic - FB - 6'0" 246 lbs - Stanford
- If there is anyone who defines being a football player, it is Owen Marecic. While he is most likely going to be playing FB in the NFL, Marecic was one of the few two sided players in college football last season. Not only was Marecic a standout blocking FB and goal line back, he was a solid ILB package player. Marecic has already come out and said he wants to play special teams in the NFL and is willing to play anywhere just to make a team. How many players last year carried 23 times for 46 yards and five touchdowns and were the fifth leading tackler with 51 stops for their team? I am sure younger brother Jim has already hyped this kid up to John, and everything I have read and seen indicates that Marecic "plays like a Raven."
- Round Projection: 4th-6th
10. Pat Devlin - QB - 6'4" 225 lbs - Delaware
- Yes, it was totally necessary to start this series of post off with the Ravens possibly taking another Delaware QB. It seems right now that Marc Bulger is going to get a starting job somewhere else (sorry TheShadow), which would leave Baltimore with only 1 QB on the active roster....Joe Flacco. Much like Flacco did at UD, Devlin led the Blue Hens to the FCS Championship game while passing for 2,812 yards, 22 TD and only 2 INT. Can definitely make all the throws accuracy wise, but definitely does not even come close to the arm strength of our franchise QB. Seems to have trouble with reading where LB will be and locks onto 1 target far too often. But Devlin would be an adequate back up and maybe him and Joe can play chess together.
- Round Projection: 5th-6th