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Brother to Ravens rookie sensation Dawan Landry, LaRon is an even better prospect. Blessed with great size and speed, he can do it all â€“ deliver the big hit, play centerfield, go sideline to sideline and make the catch when an interception presents itself. In short, expect Landry to quickly enter elite company at the safety position soon after entering the league.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Almost certainly the first defensive back to be taken in the draft, Landry appears certain to go in the top 10.
Michael Griffin, 6’0", 202, Texas
Griffin falls into the newer mold of NFL safety, one who can play strong or free safety from play to play. This also fits the profile of the Ravens changing duo of Dawan Landry and Ed Reed. Playing very well in space, the Longhorn always seems to find his way to the ball and has the speed and natural ability to be a first round selection in this yearâ€™s draft. Leadership was demonstrated while calling the plays for the seemingly always impressive Texas secondary. The only knock on Griffin is that he tends to get caught up in the trash inside the box which prevents him from making plays in the opponentâ€™s backfield.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: There is a good chance the Ravens may be able to select Griffin if they desire his services. The likely slot for selection before the Ravens may be the Eagles and Patriots who have a definite need at the position as opposed to the Ravens who really seem to require a backup as opposed to a starter due to Landryâ€™s surprising development. With the way the Ravens draft room seems to work, there is no way to rule out a talented player, even if there is no need, though it seems there may be better value if a highly touted cornerback or offensive lineman falls.
Reggie Nelson, 5’11", 198, Florida
A junior college transfer to Florida, Nelson came onto the scene and didnâ€™t let go of the defensive spotlight. A speedy player with great instincts and field smarts, he should be the second safety chosen on draft day. Nelson also works and trains hard, being known to push teammates and friends to do more of the same. The negatives to Nelsonâ€™s game tend to be those present in the NFL, primarily hitting receivers and runners as opposed to solid tackling and wrapping up. Some also tend to fault Nelson for attempting to make interceptions as opposed to breaking up plays, but that description could also be applied to a similar player on the Ravensâ€™ current roster who just so happens to be a Pro Bowler. Once it is all said and done, Nelson is a great player and his only real drawbacks may be book smarts and tackling technique.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: Nelson appears destined to be the second of the safety class of 2007 to be selected in the top 20, well outside of the Ravensâ€™ range.
Brandon Meriweather, 5’11", 195, Miami (FL)
The story with Brandom Meriweather seems to start and end with the Hurricane using his helmet as a club in the infamous Miami â€“ Florida International brawl. The character concerns continue with another off-fiend incident involving a gun. Teams will certainly exercise caution when Merriweatherâ€™s name is brought up but the allure of his talents may be too much for some teams to resist. This â€˜Cane is often compared to a former â€˜Cane â€“ Baltimoreâ€™s Ed Reed. He is not the biggest hitter in the world although he can still wrap up well and recognize plays and routes quickly. He also adds depth in the return game given his high school results, scoring four touchdowns in his senior year.
RAVENS OUTLOOK: The Ravens more than most teams have emphasized character after a rash of incidents in the late â€˜90s and through Jamal Lewisâ€™ stint in jail. Given those facts, Meriweather may be the type of player the team wishes to avoid. Looking to the actual talent compared to others, it may still be a better value for the team to get a falling cornerback or offensive lineman who would be of equal or better talent and might fill more pressing needs.