FanPost

Ravens Have Some Big Shoes to Fill

The Baltimore Ravens enter this draft with the very last pick of the first round, but that comes with the territory when you're the defending Super Bowl champs. Ozzie Newsome just finished his 12th year as the teams general manager and will continue to show why he is great at the job. Newsome is known for being great on draft day. Some of his more memorable picks include Johnathon Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Chris McAlister and Peter Boulware have all been named to Pro Bowls. Ravens fans should feel very comfortable with him at the helm. Even though they won the Super Bowl last season they only finished 10-6, so there is room for improvement. The 2012 draft was a good one, particularly with the production the team got from 2nd round pick Kelechi Osemele. Fellow 2nd round pick Courtney Upshaw also has a lot of potential and will likely be a solid starter for years. Entering the 2013 draft the Ravens still have some holes they need plugged.

Offensive Line

After losing Bryant McKinnie to free agency the Ravens are going to have to find a replacement for him. If they get a solid long-term solution at his vacated LT position the team will be able to keep Michael Oher where he is most effective, at RT.

Inside Linebacker

The Ravens could get an absolute stud at ILB, or even a MLB if they move to a traditional 4-3, and he will still never live up to the man's shoes he is filling. With the retirement of Ray Lewis the organization will need to find a replacement for on the greatest to ever do it.

Outside Linebacker

Even though they won the big show last year there was a glaring difference in the defense as compared to years past. The Ravens weren't able to get after the quarterback quite as well as they used too. Terrell Suggs had a great year, but his explosion wasn't quite the same. However, that's to be expected after recovering from surgery on your Achilles tendon. Paul Kruger went to the Cleveland Browns and the team will need to target a good talent if it hopes to maintain a dominant defense.

Wide Receiver

Is there anyone here who thinks the loss of Anquan Boldin is going ot be anything less than huge? The man made some incredible catches throughout the entire postseason. He makes catches that other guys can't make because of his physicality and desire to win...but he's gone now. I'm in the camp that believes Joe Flacco is over-rated and now highly over paid. Whatever receiver the Ravens bring in is going to need to produce. Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith are not going to lead your receiving corp week in and week out.

The Ravens have said that if Manti Te'o was available with their 32nd pick they would love him. That may just be talk, but maybe not. We've all heard about Te'o with the media hype focused on off the field activities, but what about him as a player? He is the prototypical height and weight for an NFL linebacker. He initially ran a disappointing 40 time, but improved upon that at his pro day. He was the starting linebacker last year for Notre Dame, one of the best teams in all of college football. Not only that, he was the unquestioned leader of the defense. He plays with great passion and instincts and absolutely loves the game. His instinct and football IQ allow him to play the game faster than his 40 time would suggest. He diagnoses plays quickly and has a nose for being around the football. One of the main qualities the Ravens would like to see transition to his NFL game is his great tackling abilities. A strong, reliable and fundamentally sound tackler. One thing he will need to work on is his ability to handle blockers at the point of attack. He runs sideline to sideline well, but the bigger NFL lineman will be able to muscle him on plays in the middle. He has good, quick hands which will allow him to shed blockers, but there is room for improvement. Some teams have questioned his character after the media circus that surrounded him and the hoax, however it likely won't hold him back. The Ravens don't seem to mind too much.

The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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