Ravens NFL draft 2014: Underclassmen to watch

Eric Ebron is an underclassman to watch during this draft season. - Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

An early look at which underclassmen might be available for the Ravens to take at either the 16th or 17th pick.

There are 98 underclassmen that declared and are eligible for the NFL draft.

Each year, it seems more and more redshirt sophomores and juniors are ending their college playing days early to make an attempt at playing professional football.

While plenty of players could stand to use another year of college football to improve their draft stock, quite a few are making the right decision as they're slated to be first-rounders.

Here are a few that the Ravens could be looking at once the month of May rolls around:

TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina

Ebron is likely the top tight end available this year and he declared as a junior. He wrapped up his third season with 973 yards and three touchdowns. He's an athletic tight end that can make plays in the passing game.

If the Ravens are able to retain Dennis Pitta, it could bolster the position with two targets that can make plays over the middle. Ebron would probably be an athletic upgrade at the position with his ability to run after the catch.

WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

Evans was arguably the best receiver in college football this past season, catching 69 passes for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Evans provides a 6-5, 225-pound frame the Ravens haven't typically had in the past, though his speed (or lack thereof) could be an issue. That said, he made a ton of plays for the Aggies this year. He's someone that could line up at multiple receiver positions and make plays in various ways.

WR Marqise Lee, USC

Lee is still regarded as a first-rounder despite dealing with a coaching change and an injury. He only had 791 yards and four touchdowns in 2013, though his 2012 season (1,721 yards, 14 touchdowns) still is indicative of what kind of playmaking power he has.

Director of college scouting Joe Hortiz told BaltimoreRavens.com that size and speed don't necessarily matter when it comes to receivers. It's if the receiver can make a play when needed. Lee's complete body of work in college indicates he can do just that.

DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State

While defensive tackle doesn't appear to be one of Baltimore's primary needs, the Ravens have a penchant for drafting the best player available.

Jernigan could stand to aid a defensive line that seemed to wear down late in games. As a junior, he was named to the AP All-America second team and finished the season with 63 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He was a handful to deal with along the interior all year long for the Seminoles.

FS Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Alabama

The Ravens need a free safety that can make plays on the ball, especially after trotting two strong safeties onto the field in 2013. He also has plenty of speed and can get to defenders in a flash. Clinton-Dix also showed the ability to play the run in college.

Clinton-Dix fits the bill as an athletic safety that flies to the ball. He was one of the best at the position as a junior, posting 50 tackles and two interceptions.

FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville

Folks will certainly debate which safety, Pryor or Clinton-Dix, is better this draft season. Clinton-Dix is a rangy safety that has good vision and anticipation. Pryor also has a knack for the football, with three interceptions in 2013, but is also physical enough to take on opposing teams' running games.

Pryor had 71 tackles in 2013, which included three games with double-digit tackles. He's also got 6-2 size, but didn't face many teams that tested the Cardinals deep this past year.


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