Kevin C. Cox
By the time the 2013 NFL Draft comes up in April, the Ravens will know what direction they wil need to go to fill their most important position vacancies.
The Baltimore Ravens will finish the season as one of the twelve final teams in the 2013 NFL Draft order. By making the playoffs, Baltimore will either be as high as a third seed, but also as low as the sixth seed, meaning that depending how far they go in the post season, they will be slotted to pick anywhere from 21st to 32nd.
Their specific position needs will largely be determined prior tot he draft itself, as free agency and retirements could have a huge effect on what direction they go. Although the term, "best player available" is one that is widely thrown about, don't be misled by that, as it really is translated to be defined as "best player available in the position we need.
There is a chance, especially with the Ravens, for a draft day trade and while they usually trade down in the draft, they have also been known to trade up (Joe Flacco?). Their needs are many right now as they are in the midst of hopefully ending a three-game losing streak. Look around both sides of the ball and you would have an argument for need at almost every position.
On defense, the Ravens need a pass rusher, inside linebacker, safety and perhaps even cornerback depth. On offense, the line is old, slow and unacceptable. There should be players in each of these positions worthy of a first round pick late n the first round where the Ravens will be sitting.
However, this might be the year the Ravens pay the price to move high up to take a future star, or even drop back to accumulate picks to fill those many holes. Either way, this team will first take a look at free agency to see what available veterans could come on board at the "right player, right price" philosophy, to firm up the upcoming draft strategy.
With that said, Russ Lande over at the National Football Post did his Mock Draft 2.0 and he has the Ravens selecting Georgia ILB Alec Ogletree. His name has been mentioned here before and he seems to look like a guy who could definitely help the inside presence of the second level of the Ravens defense. Here's what Lande says about Ogletree:
25 P. Baltimore Ravens: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia, Junior: With Ray Lewis coming off a major injury and entering his 18th season in 2013, the Ravens jump at chance to grab Ogletree who is the most explosive inside linebacker in the Draft.