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With the 8th pick of the NFL Draft....

...the Baltimore Ravens select...

John Bena, who blogs on the Denver Broncos, is conducting a mock draft for all the other team's bloggers, and he has allowed me the honor of selecting for the Baltimore Ravens. Below is the text of my selection as the Ravens representative. See his entire mock draft here.

...Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College

The Ravens have so many needs, as injuries, poor play, aging veterans and pending retirement has uncovered the reasons that the Ravens slipped to 5-11 in 2007 from a record setting 13-3 2006 season. Even though we haven't heard for certain whether or not All-Pro left tackle Jonathon Ogden is retiring, the offensive line still needs help. The defensive line didn't put enough pressure on the opposing QB, mainly due to the loss of Adalius Thomas to the Patriots through free agency and the injury to DE Trevor Pryce. If Pryce comes back they should be fine, but if not, that will continue to be an issue. The most glaring weakness that was exposed on dense was the cornerback position, where injuries to both Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle allowed opposing QB's to pick the secondary apart. Rolle has epilepsy but even if under control, his skills have diminished to the point that a cornerback selection is a top priority. I would have selected a top notch corner with the 8th pick if Matt Ryan was off the board, and then taken a QB with our second round pick (Delaware's Joe Flacco or Michigan's Chad Henne). However, Ryan is the best player available, perhaps in the entire draft, and should be the rising star of this franchise under a new coaching staff for the next decade. The Ravens will put him at #3 on the depth chart, behind starter Steve McNair. Kyle Boller has proven over the years that he is not capable of leading this team and will be released, while Troy Smith will (temporarily) move into the backup role.