Kevin C. Cox
There's a lot of football left in the season that will determine the final order of the 2013 NFL Draft, and free agency will also affect what direction each team goes in, but draft guru Todd McShay took his first stab at it in an article from ESPN Insider.
While copyright infringement prevents me from posting the article on this site, he sees defenders dominating the first round of the draft, including his prediction on whom he sees the Baltimore Ravens taking with their first pick.
McShay sees defensive players being taken with the first three picks, led by the Kansas City Chiefs taking Utah DT Star Lotulelei. The first offensive player off the board in his mock is not until the fourth pick, OT Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M). In fact, no QB is selected until the Arizona Cardinals grab West Virginia QB Geno Smith with the eighth overall pick.
Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o, whom would be a great fit for the Baltimore Ravens, will be long gone by the time they pick, projected to go 11th to the Buffalo Bills. McShay sees the Ravens obviously making the post season and hanging around long enough to be slotted with the 26th overall pick. With that placement, they will select Auburn DE/OLB Corey Lemonier.
Here's what McShay says about Lemonier:
The Ravens would continue a youth movement on defense with this pick. Lemonier might not come off the board this high, but he's an underrated prospect who played hard all season long on a bad defense. He's versatile and tough, has explosive upfield burst, closes quickly and shows some pop at the point of attack.
Hmmmm,...the Ravens do indeed love those SEC players, especially on defense and specifically at linebacker. Jarret Johnson (Alabama), Dannell Ellerbe (Georgia), Courtney Upshaw (Alabama), Josh Bynes (Auburn) were all SEC players who either were originally drafted or signed as undrafted free agents by the Ravens or are still on the team.