Every draft has its strengths and weaknesses.
This year, some of the Ravens’ areas of needs will be covered well. Others, not so much.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome identified the main areas of need as offensive line, wide receiver, tight end and free safety.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest names at each position (and quarterback), plus a position evaluation from Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz:
Offensive Line – Strong throughout
First-round tackle projections: Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), Greg Robinson (Auburn), Taylor Lewan (Michigan), Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama), Zack Martin (Notre Dame)
Top interior linemen projections: OG David Yankey (Stanford), C Travis Swanson (Arkansas), OG Su’a-Filo (Xavier), OG Cyril Richardson (Baylor)
“We’ve been on a nice run with the offensive line and I think that’s continuing. I really do. I felt that way even before the juniors came out. We’ve been fortunate as a league that there have been some really good offensive linemen coming into the draft as seniors. Colleges are doing a good job of developing them and identifying them, and we’re reaping the benefits from that. This is a big, talented group.”
Wide Receiver – Strong throughout
First-round projections: Sammy Watkins (Clemson), Mike Evans (Texas A&M), Marquise Lee (Southern California), Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State), Allen Robinson (Penn State)
Mid-round projections: Jared Abbrederis (Wisconsin), Mike Davis (Texas), Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley), Michael Campanaro (Wake Forest), Brandon Coleman (Rutgers)
“Wide receivers, like a lot of years, you have a lot of different sizes. As a group, I think it’s a good group. I don’t know that you have an A.J. Green in the group, but you’re going to have some first-round players that come out and second-round players. You’re going to have a wide range of players you feel good about. Of all the positions, that’s probably the one position with the most juniors. And a lot of them have experience playing. They’re not a flash in the pan, one-year wonder. We’ll do the work on those guys and add them to the mix of seniors. When it’s all said and done, it will be a nice group on the board.”
Tight End – Talent at the top, but not deep
Top projections: Eric Ebron (North Carolina), Jace Amaro (Texas Tech), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington)
Middle-to-late round: C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa), Arthur Lynch (Georgia), Marcel Jensen (Fresno State)
“Tight ends is probably a little different this year. Last year was a really deep group. This year it’s not. It’s certainly not senior heavy. There are some talented juniors coming out, so they help the class. But I’d say it’s not as talented from top to bottom.”
Free Safety – Not much at the top, but bargains later
First-round projections: Hasean Clinton-Dix (Alabama), Calvin Pryor (Louisville)
Middle-round projections: Terrence Brooks (Florida State), Kenny Ladler (Vanderbilt), Marqueston Huff (Wyoming)
“Free safety is probably one of the hardest positions to identify as a scout because there are games where they just might not get a lot of action. Last year was a really good year for safeties. A lot of them were strong safeties by their physical nature, but there was a lot of them. This year, the safety group, I’d say is average, relative to other years. The good thing is you can get yourself some finds later on. You don’t necessarily need a first-round guy to get a starter.”
Quarterback – Not elite, but deep
First-round projections: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), Blake Bortles (Central Florida)
Middle-round projections: Zach Mettenberger (LSU), David Fales (San Jose State), A.J. McCarron (Alabama), Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Aaron Murray (Georgia)
“It’s a good, deep class of quarterbacks. To say there is an Andrew Luck or an RGIII in the class, I can’t say that. But there is certainly some very good players. There is a large numbers of players at that position. In other years you might identify five or six players you really like and that’s about it. This year, you have a deeper pool to pick from throughout the draft.”