NFL.com's Pat Kirwan completed a Mock Draft the other day and while he has the Baltimore Ravens taking Maryland Terrapin wide receiver Torrey Smith at #26 of the first round, the big news is who the other teams in the AFC North are projected to draft. Before we even get into whether or not Smith is the guy to take by the Ravens as opposed to going in a bunch of other directions (CB, OL, DE), we need to see how our division rivals will be improving their teams.
Kirwan has the Cincinnati Bengals selecting Auburn QB Cam Newton with the fourth pick in April's NFL Draft, which should have the Ravens defense running around trying to catch the guy who might be the best pure athlete in the draft. Perhaps no Michael Vick, as Newton is nowhere near as fast, but he is a lot bigger and might be more comparable to Vince Young in size and skills.
The Cleveland Browns are projected to take Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. Green had a great NFL Scouting Combine and will present match-up problems for the Ravens secondary with his speed and size. With unanswered questions about the make-up and depth of the Ravens corners, perhaps this is even a better reason for Baltimore to look at improving their secondary based on the Browns pick, much less the Bengals.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to then take Miami CB Brandon Harris, according to Kirwan's Mock Draft. Harris is showing up on a lot of Mock Drafts as going to the Ravens, so a guy who is going to be a first round CB going to a division rival is also not a great thing to look forward to years down the line when his value would be better determined.
Of course, Kirwan's Mock Draft also has the Steelers passing on Florida G/C Mike Pouncey, when many Mocks have them grabbing Mike to pair him with his brother, Maurkice on their offensive line.
The Baltimore Ravens have a bunch of needs and the debate will continue long after April's draft. However, make no bones about it, the Ravens decision when their pick comes up will not only be based on their own draft board, but what our opponents do in their picks ahead of them as well as what they think the team picking a few spots later will do when their turn comes up.
See Pat Kirwan's latest Mock Draft on NFL.com.