Heading into what is sure to be a very interesting offseason, the Ravens will be challenged to fill rather glaring needs. Here’s a snapshot of some moves they could consider as they look to get back to their winning ways in 2014.
1st Round- OT: With RT Michael Oher and LT Eugene Monroe both hitting free agency this offseason, it is very unlikely that the Ravens get both of them back, and as poor as the offensive line was last season, they can’t afford to have weak links at left or right tackle. The bottom line is franchise QB Joe Flacco needs a better line around him in 2014, so why not solidify it with a cornerstone OT?
With the Ravens having a top-20 pick this year, I’d take Michigan OT Taylor Lewan. The 22-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona has great pedigree as a four-year starter at LT for Michigan, while earning three All-Big Ten selections and two All-American selections. On the field, the 6-8, 302 pound standout is a great athlete with fantastic length and good strength, plays with a high motor and excels in run blocking and pass protection. He’s a cant-miss prospect.
2nd Round- TE: with both Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson hitting the free agency pool, the Ravens need to bring in new blood at TE. Even if Pitta does return (Hopefully), he’ll be 29 in 2014 and the Ravens need to bring in a dual-threat TE to open up their two-TE packages, and give Flacco more weapons in the vertical passing game.
Some people might be skeptical, but if Washington TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins slips out of the 1st round due to his character concerns, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Ravens trade up to nab him at the start of the 2nd round. And there aren’t many reliable receiving TE’s in the 2014 draft after the first round or two.
The 21-year-old from Fox Island, Washington put up 450 yards and 8 TD’s in 2013, while finishing his career at Washington with 146 Catches, 1,840 Yards, and 21 TD’s. At 6-6 and 276 pounds, Seferian-Jenkins is an athletic freak with superstar potential. He has great speed, hands, strength, and jumping ability while also being a great route runner. Oh, and he’s rock solid in the blocking game too.
3rd round- WR: Again, the Ravens need more weapons for Flacco to throw to in the passing game, while also needing to take some of the attention off WR Torrey Smith. It’s also not a bad idea to add to a consistent WR to the corps behind Smith and 2nd-year WR Marlon Brown.
LSU WR Jarvis Landry would be a PERFECT fit in Baltimore.
The 21-year-old from Convent, Louisiana had a monster 2013 season for the Tigers, posting 77 receptions for 1,193 yards and 10 TD’s. The 6-1, 195 pound Junior is a tough, scrappy WR that has great hands and runs good routes while having a knack for coming up with the big, clutch play. This guy fits the Ravens pedigree. Perhaps former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who now has that same title at LSU, can shed some light?
4th round- S: Impending UFA James Ihedigbo and 2nd-year S Matt Elam are both viewed as strong safeties, and with Elam more natural at strong safety the Ravens are likely to let Ihedigbo cash out in free agency, and draft a pure free safety. (Note: The Ravens don’t have a 4th or 5th round pick currently, but after compensation picks (the team expects four) are handed out, they most likely will.)
This would be a perfect spot for the Ravens to land FSU FS Terrence Brooks. The 22-year-old from Dunnellon, Florida had another good year in 2013 by notching 51 tackles and 2 INT’s. The 5-11, 197 pound Brooks is a good all-around safety that has a high football IQ, reads the play well and flies around the ball. Brooks is also very solid in pass coverage, and was a bona fide playmaker in the FSU secondary. He isn’t afraid to get physical, but his tackling technique does need some work. Still, this is a guy with huge upside, and is a name Ravens fans should make note of.
5th round- C: It’s no secret that C Gino Gradkowski struggled in 2013, so it stands to reason that the Ravens will consider a Center somewhere in the middle rounds to push Gradkowski for the starting spot in 2014.
Utah State C Tyler Larsen could be a steal here. The 22-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah was a four-year starter at C for Utah State, and was a two-time All-WAC selection. The 6-4, 312 pound Larsen is a solid run and pass blocker with a good size/athleticism combination while having excellent blocking range, quick feet and a great burst off the line. Larsen has one of the highest upsides out of the C’s in the 2014 draft class.
Guest blog submitted by Logan Quick
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