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The Ravens have several areas on their roster that they’d like to upgrade, but they also need to get younger at a few key positions. Obviously, Baltimore is looking to add more receiving threats but a few other positions become a little less obvious.

 It’s my belief that the Ravens need to move Michael Oher back to right tackle. By doing this, Marshal Yanda would be moved back into RG, which is more of a natural fit for him. If Gaither returns, more than likely he’ll only be around for the 2011 season and the Ravens will need to look at a true left tackle prospect. 

On the defense, Baltimore needs help at all three levels. For one, they’ll look to add a 5-technique defensive end to play opposite Haloti Ngata. Many of the prospects for this position will have played defensive tackle in college. The team needs help in the pass rush department and if they are even the slightest bit unsure of Sergio Kindle’s chances of returning, they’ll almost undoubtedly draft an OLB that can rush the passer.

Baltimore is also in need of another inside linebacker. This could be to play beside Ray Lewis for now, or, if the team is comfortable with Jameel McClain, they’ll still need another inside linebacker to be an eventual replacement for Lewis.

The cornerback situation isn’t as dire as before with Foxworth coming back from a knee injury but it’s unclear if the team will be able to keep both Josh Wilson and Chris Carr. Even if both return, the Ravens still do not have a true "shut down" corner and could look to grab one if available.

The Ravens also need some help at safety. Dawan Landry’s play has declined since his neck injury and Ed Reed won’t be around forever.

For purposes of this Ravens-centric draft analysis in 2011 we will focus upon improving through the draft at offensive tackle, wide receiver, defensive end/OLB, inside linebacker and cornerback. Today we’ll start at offensive tackle.

OT – Round 1

Derek Sherrod – Mississippi State: Probably the most logical pick for Baltimore. A solid left tackle prospect. Great footwork, intelligent and ideal size.

Anthony Castonzo – Boston College: There’s a good chance Castonzo won’t be around. However, if he is available, Castonzo is another ideal left tackle prospect. He faced some of the best pass rushers in the nation while at BC and has solid technique. Speed can get the better of him but has room to develop.

Nate Solder – Colorado: Solder is the biggest left tackle prospect but his height can work against him as he has a tendency to reach and lunge. However, you can’t teach size and if maintains good technique, most pass rushers don’t have a chance.

OT – Round 2

Ben Ijalana – Villanova: Projects better as a guard in the NFL due to his size and footwork, so he comes with some versatility. Raw, but has high ceiling. 

Marcus Gilbert – Florida: Solid footwork and ideal size, but inconsistent.

Lee Ziemba – Auburn: Solid when playing with good technique, but also inconsistent.

OT – Round 3

Demarcus Love – Arkansas: Solid pass blocker with overall good technique. Talent level is higher than he’ll be drafted due to inconsistencies on tape.

Jason Pinkston – Pittsburgh: Quick and athletic but size may keep him at RT or inside at guard. 

OT – Round 4

Jah Reid – UCF: “Has a long frame with above-average athleticism; lacks a mean streak and punch” ~ NFLDraftScout

OT – Round 5

Willie Smith – East Carolina: “At 6-6, Smith has the size to be a tackle in the NFL; lacks the strength and agility that the top tackles in the NFL need to have; new to the position and he has room to improve and room to add weight to his large frame.” ~ FFToolBox

OT – Round 6

Adam Grant – Arizona: “Giant with great power in his hands and quick feet; Extends arms well, has good hand placement and packs a heck of a punch; Top heavy with a huge upper body and doesn’t change directions well – vulnerable to double moves.” ~ NFLDraftScout

OT – Round 7

Michael Smith – Nebraska: Smith played left tackle for the Cornhuskers but suffered a broken leg in the first week of fall camp and was lost for the season. He was considered a valuable swingman, having ability to play guard, center and tackle.
Here’s ESPN’s slant on the Ravens and their draft needs…


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