STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal throws an interception when he is hit by Harrison Smith #22 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay recently completed a two-round Mock Draft and has the Ravens making a couple of interesting selections with their first two picks. However, with the news that not only is Ed Reed returning for the 2012 season, he feels it is realistic for him to play another 4-5 years. Most people previously thought he could retire after this coming season, the next at the latest. Perhaps this bit of news may change the Ravens plans and strategy going into next month's draft.
McShay is jumping on the Harrison Smith band-wagon, as the Notre Dame safety has shown up on a few of these Mock Drafts recently, as has Alabama safety Mark Barron. McShay nees the Ravens taking Smith with their 29th pick of the first round (Barron went 15th to the Philadelphia Eagles). Here's what McShay said about Smith:
"With no offensive linemen worth drafting, fast-rising Smith is a good value pick who could provide long-term security at safety with the clock ticking on Ed Reed. The Ravens also could consider a defensive tackle such as Connecticut's Kendall Reyes at this spot."
My take: With the recent comments by Reed, perhaps the clock is ticking a lot more slowly than everyone thought, and do the Ravens really need to spend a 1st round pick on another DT when they have Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody?
(See more on Harrison Smith and McShay's 2nd round draft pick for the Ravens after the 'Jump')
Matt Bowen of the National Football Post recently wrote a story on Notre Dame's Smith, whom he rates as a 2nd-3rd round pick, but really likes the guy and would expect him to play 10-12 years in the NFL. Perhaps he's the next solid Notre Dame safety to find his way to the Ravens, following the recently departed Tom Zbikowski?
McShay has the Ravens selecting Illinois tackle Jeff Allen with their 2nd round draft pick, 60th overall, although McShay has him listed as a guard, the position he is expected to play at the professional level.
My take: Taking an offensive guard with the second pick seems to be a solid move for the Ravens. However, I am scratching my head with the selection of Allen, as he is not even rated as one of the top ten guards in this draft class by NFL Draft Scout. Allen is rated the 11th best guard in the draft and projected to be a 3rd or 4th round pick.
According to the site, there would be six other guards available rated higher than Allen, including 6'6" 333 pound Iowa State guard, Kelechi Osemele, who is considered the 5th best guard prospect and would seem to be the perfect fit with his size to join the Ravens offensive line between Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie.
McShay's two-round Mock Draft is part of ESPN's Insider Club, which requires a paid subscription in order to view, so this is what has been provided to me from SB Nation and why the entire two-round draft is not published here.
PS: The Pittsburgh Steelers took Alabama ILB Dont'a Hightower in the first round and Boise State RB Doug Martin in the 2nd round. Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill went one pick after the Ravens in the first round to the San Francisco 49ers.