With the 29th Pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Ravens Select…

| April 21, 2012 | 3 Comments

One of the greatest days on the sports calendar is right around the corner – the NFL Draft. For a team that was a dropped touchdown away from making it to the Super Bowl, the Ravens have a lot of needs they need filled and the Draft will go a long way in determining if those needs get filled.

Many pundits are predicting the Ravens to go in a number of directions in the first round, but only Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens brass knows exactly what they will do.

By no means am I Mel Kiper Jr. (although we are from the same hometown, Harford County what?) but I consider myself to be somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to NFL prospects.

Here are some names I hear called when the Ravens make their selection in the first round:

 

 

Lavonte David- OLB, Nebraska

This is not a name that you have been hearing mentioned, but certainly one that the Ravens know. It’s hard to argue with a guy who Kiper Jr. ranks as the best player at his position. David flies all over the field however, there are questions about his size at only 230 pounds, but his play overshadows all of that. The Ravens have never really drafted people on measurables, but rather on their play on the field.  You can never have too many athletic linebackers and David would be a great fit in purple and black.

Dont’a Hightower- LB, Alabama

This might be just wishful thinking as Hightower is likely to be gone by the Ravens first pick, but stranger things have happened. If he is available at 29 the Ravens should run the card up to the podium.  I have been saying for the last three years that the Ravens need to find the heir apparent to Ray Lewis and I have been disappointed to see them pass on several middle linebackers in the first round.  I know the Ravens like Jameel McClain, but there are reasons why certain people are first round picks and certain are not. So while McClain has been solid for the Ravens, Hightower has immensely more talent. I believe the Ravens are looking middle linebacker and actually think if Hightower is still around at 26 or 27 they may actually trade up to get him.  First round linebackers don’t grow on trees so passing up Hightower would be a huge mistake.

Harrison Smith- S, Notre Dame

For two years I have been driving the Mark Barron bandwagon, but certainly there is no way the Alabama safety falls to the Ravens. So if the Ravens want to draft a safety, Smith is the next best option.  Like with Lewis, the Ravens need to realize that Ed Reed is going to be gone very soon and they need to find someone to replace him.  I think this is a major need for the Ravens and I don’t want them to address it in the later rounds. I am sick of hearing the terms “great value” and “upside” for someone they draft in the late rounds. I know they Ravens historically draft the “best player available,” but you can’t ignore glaring needs. Smith has tremendous instincts, plays the run well and has above average cover skills. Some might consider this a reach, but he will be way more productive than Zbikowski and Nakamura were during their time in Baltimore.

Stephen Hill- WR, Georgia Tech

Ok, this one is for more selfish reasons than anything else as I would love to see Hill in a Ravens uniform next season. The WR draft is deep, as guys like Ruben Randle and Brian Quick can be had later, but I personally believe you can never have too many playmakers. Just because the Steelers have Mike Wallace, doesn’t mean they want to get rid of Antonio Brown. Hill would give the Ravens two playmakers who can wreak havoc on opposing defenses. Hill comes with a lot of questions marks, but he also comes with tremendous speed and height and major big play ability. Coaches can teach a lot of things but they can’t teach size or speed and surrounding Joe Flacco with weapons would not be a bad thing. Just imagine Anquan Boldin in the slot and Torrey Smith and Stephen Hill on the outside. With Hill the Ravens offense could go from formidable to one of the best in the league. That being said, I would be very surprised to see the Ravens draft him as I expect them to draft a receiver later in the draft.

Certainly there are a lot of directions the Ravens can go and certainly there will be good players available at number 29 in the first round. I believe first rounders need to be game changers who can come in and produce right away and all the players I named definitely fit that mold. Offensive line is a need that has to be addressed, but I am not a big fan spending a first round pick on any of the interior lineman because that position is very deep in this draft.

We know the Ravens rarely stray from their board and will likely draft someone based on their rating rather than position. Trading down or out of the first round is also likely but nobody besides Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta know what the Ravens will do.

Either way, it will be very exciting and I may definitely lay a wager or two while I am in Vegas for the draft.

Does this give me anymore credibility?

Me at the 2011 Draft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

follow me on Twitter @mromanell and SouthBmore.com @SouthBmore1

 

 

About the Author:

I have spent my entire 30 years living in Maryland and I love everything about this city. Despite the bad reputation the city has, Baltimore will always be a special place to me and I love living here. There is nothing better then Sunday afternoons at M&T Bank Stadium and summer nights at Camden Yards when the Yard is packed. You can find me all over the city so don't hesitate to share your opinion of me good or bad. Who knows, if you see me out maybe I will buy you a Natty Boh. Lets go Ravens and Lets go O's!!! Follow me on Twitter at @MRomanell.
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