Prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, a large contingent of Baltimore Ravens fans wanted to see the team select Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill in the first round with their 29th pick. Hill offered raw talent in his game, but his athletic skills and potential were undeniable.
The thought of pairing with Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith had some fans salivating over the possibilities. However, while the Ravens could have selected Hill had they stayed in their assigned slot rather than trading down, they chose to let him go and he was ultimately taken by the New YOrk Jets with the 11th pick of the 2nd round (43rd overall).
The Ravens used their first 2nd round pick (35th overall) to take Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw and while fans were thrilled to see a guy who was originally labeled early first-round talent, they had no idea how prophetic the pick would ultimately turn out to be.
Less than a week after Upshaw's name was called by the Ravens, OLB Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles Tendon and could miss most if not all of the 2012 season. Upshaw is now virtually a lock to either start or at least get significant playing time as soon as he steps onto the field in a Ravens uniform.
Had the Ravens taken Stephen Hill, their offense would be poised to be kicking into high gear, with a new approach to the passing game and evenmore targets for QB Joe Flacco. No one could argue that the team would be better off on the offensive side of the ball if Hill was here instead of Upshaw.
However, the defense would be in total disarray with the Suggs injury and scrambling to figure out what they would be doing to fill the void. The pressure would then be on not only Paul Kruger adequately filling Jarret Johnson's spot, but the combination of Sergio Kindle and Albert McClellan having to step up big time on the other side.
The team would be scouring over the veteran free agent linebackers out there, looking for a guy who could step in and help them out. The team may still be looking in that direction, but the addition of Upshaw along with Paul Kruger not only makes fans breathe a lot easier, but it certainly makes Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome look like the genius that most Ravens fans already knew he was,