How Will McClain Signing Affect Ravens' Draft Plans?

Rob Foldy-US PRESSWIRE

The Ravens have added a new member to a depleted ILB corps, how will this affect Ozzie's plans come draft day?

The Ravens are reportedly working out the details of a contract that would bring the Rolando McClain, a former Raider with a high ceiling and a troubled past, to Baltimore in an attempt to help rebuild the middle of their defense. Prior to this signing, it was a foregone conclusion by many that the Ravens would most likely target a middle linebacker with the 32nd overall pick in this year's draft. However, the addition of McClain could give Ozzie Newsome some new options and added flexibility with that pick.

While it's obvious that McClain isn't exactly a sure-fire signing who is going to get on the field and seamlessly fill in for Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, he does have a lot of raw talent that could translate to on-field success if he can make the necessary character changes to keep himself out of the trouble that drove him out of Oakland. At the very least, McClain will add much needed depth to the middle linebacker position for the Ravens, who lost Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Brendan Ayanbadejo from their 2012 roster. It will still be a position of need in the draft as the remaining players, including McClain are all largely unproven. The added depth, however, gives the Ravens a little more breathing room in terms of how to approach the 32nd pick. The Ravens' other glaring hole on the defensive side of the ball is at the strong safety position, Florida's Matt Elam could be the Ravens' best option if he is still available at 32. If Elam is not still on the board, though, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ozzie trade back into the 2nd round to acquire more picks as it is very possible that at least one of the draft's top three ILBs (Alec Ogletree, Manti Te'o, and Kevin Minter) could still be available in the 2nd round. Also, this year's quarterback class is lacking any real top tier talent, so a team with a high 1st-round pick that doesn't feel like reaching for a signal-caller (Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, NYJ) could be a possible trade partner if they want to make an effort to move back into the first round to take their QB. Ozzie Newsome has never been one to scramble and rush his selection if the player he wants isn't available, so it will be very interesting to see how he handles this situation now that he has a little more flexibility with the pick.

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