1. Do the Ravens have an opportunity to position up in the first round? If they do stay firm, is there a starting option for a key position to solve this year’s issues?
With 12 total picks, the Ravens could certainly move up in the 1st, but I wouldn’t bet on anything drastic. There’s always the possibility of moving up a handful of spots but I think it’s more likely that they’ll stay put at 32 or trade back into the 2nd round.
If the Ravens stay put at 32, there are several quality options available at key positions. Of course, it depends on how the draft shakes out but there should be starting quality players at LB, S and WR at the 32nd pick. Guys like Arthur Brown and Kevin Minter at LB, Johnathan Cyprien at S at DeAndre Hopkins or Keenan Allen at WR could all potentially be there at pick 32.
2. The Ravens need a center for the o-line. Who is a good prospect?
I really like the idea of going after Barrett Jones from Alabama. Obviously, there’s the Ozzie-Alabama connection but more importantly, Jones is a smart, versatile player with tremendous experience. He could be an excellent swing player for all three interior offensive line spots and could potentially be grabbed in the 3rd round.
3. Do the Ravens have DJ Swearinger in their view?
I would be willing to bet that Swearinger is absolutely on the Ravens’ radar. Ozzie likes certain qualities in a draft pick and Swearinger meets the majority of those criteria; four year starter (experience), production against top competition (SEC), team captain, versatility (played both FS and SS at South Carolina). In my opinion, Swearinger would be a great pick for the Ravens and if they make a trade out of the first round, he’s a player I’d love to see them snag.
4. Are the Ravens going to draft in the first round, so I know if I should watch…
Haha! Regardless of whether the Ravens pick in the first round, you’ll be waiting a while for the 32nd pick. There’s a high probability that they’ll trade back into the 2nd round, but I’d just be happy to be a fan of the team that has the 32nd pick. That’s a nice problem to have.
5. What is the most important position that needs to be filled? We have McKinnie available, no possession receiver, no backup center, MLB we have a very shakey couplet of McClains, and we need a safety as well as CB and TE backup. But what is MOST important?
After adding Rolando McClain at ILB, I think the team would really love to be able to get a quality LT. If they can’t get a guy that they feel can start at the position, I have a feeling they’ll resign McKinnie to a small deal. But just because the team picked up McClain, don’t be surprised if they still grab an ILB early on. McClain is only on a one year deal and time will tell if that’s going to work out.
I think the Ravens are in a great position because they can almost treat each of those positions equally and chose the best player available. Personally, I think that LT is the most important position to solidify. The team just invested a tremendous amount of money in Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, so protecting him is key. Flacco hasn’t missed a game yet and he certainly appeared more comfortable with McKinnie protecting his blindside. Keeping Flacco upright and healthy has to be priority.
6. Are we going to trade up and draft a LT?
If it looks like a left tackle is falling, I wouldn’t be shocked by it at all. Every year, there are always a few players that teams reach for, causing other players to fall down the board. If the Ravens have the opportunity to move up a few spots to grab someone like Lane Johnson, they’d absolutely consider it. However, I don’t see the team moving up more than 5-6 spots to grab a particular player. I think the Ravens would rather wait until later in the draft and grab someone like Terron Armstead than give up too much to trade up.
7. If we were to trade back and target an earlier pick in 2014, how many first round LTs do you project for next year?
First team All-American Taylor Lewan is going into his 4th season as starting left tackle at Michigan. I fully expect him to be a first round pick. North Carolina’s James Hurst is going into his 3rd season as starting left tackle at North Carolina and has the potential to be a first rounder as well. As of right now, those are the only two left tackles that I see going in the first round. Jake Matthews of Texas A&M will almost certainly be a first rounder, but he’s a right tackle prospect.