2013 Draft Preview: Chance To Build A Foundation


The Ravens' Super Bowl roster is drastically different.

But with 12 draft picks in its holster, Baltimore has an excellent opportunity to build another title contender starting Thursday.

Every draft is important, but this one may take on additional meaning for the Ravens as they look to re-stock after shedding many veterans this offseason.

"Every draft kind of sits on its own, but this one is very important in the sense that we are starting to build a good nucleus of players and we need to have an influx of other young players in this draft to fit in," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said.

"I think what it does is set this franchise up for the next four or five years to be very competitive."

The Ravens are without safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, inside linebackers Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe, outside linebacker Paul Kruger, cornerback Cary Williams, wide receiver Anquan Boldin and center Matt Birk.

That has left holes throughout Baltimore's roster, and particularly up the middle of the defense. That's where the Ravens will focus in this year's draft.

"I think it's a foundation draft," Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "We're trying to build through the middle, whether it's at safety, inside linebacker, defensive tackle. We're trying to build from the inside out."

With that in mind, here's a preview of what could be in store this weekend:


1st Round: Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET
2nd and 3rd Rounds: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Rounds 4-7: Saturday, 12 p.m.

Ravens Picks

Round 1, Pick 32
Round 2, Pick 62
Round 3, Pick 94
Round 4, Pick 129
Round 4, Pick 130 (Compensatory)
Round 5, Pick 165
Round 5, Pick 168 (Compensatory)Round 6, Pick 199 (From San Francisco)
Round 6, Pick 200
Round 6, Pick 203 (Compensatory)
Round 7, Pick 238
Round 7, Pick 247 (Compensatory)

Top Ravens Needs

Both of the Ravens' starting safeties are gone in Reed and Pollard. Baltimore signed Michael Huff, who likely will step in at free safety for Reed. They also re-signed James Ihedigbo, who could move into strong safety. But Ihedigbo was more of a special teams player last year, and the Ravens would like to get some young talent at the position.

Inside LinebackerBaltimore made a bid to retain Ellerbe, but lost out to a huge offer by the Miami Dolphins. Couple that with Lewis' retirement, and the Ravens are down two starters. Jameel McClain is a question mark as he returns from a spinal cord injury and newly-signed Rolando McClain is also up in the air as he is dealing with the issues of his recent arrest.

Offensive TackleHead Coach John Harbaugh said that as of now, Kelechi Osemele would be the Ravens' starting left tackle. Osemele is fine with that, but indicated that he'd prefer to stay at guard. Baltimore hasn't rushed to re-sign left tackle Bryant McKinnie, waiting instead to see what happens in the draft and free agency.

Wide Receiver
The Ravens like their young crop of receivers, but could look to add more with the departure of Boldin. Baltimore has a group of players that could step into that role, including Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson and David Reed. While they have each flashed some promise, nobody has made a big impact yet in the NFL.

Potential Picks At No. 32

DE Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, Florida StateA powerful pass rusher and solid against the run, Carradine has some injury concerns since he's coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Before that, he notched 11 sacks in 12 games.

S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida InternationalCyprien has been a late riser due to a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and pre-draft workouts. He's a big hitter who is strong against the run.

S Matt Elam, Florida
A hard hitting and playmaking safety, Elam would be solid in the box and likely a very strong special teams player at the outset.

ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
He's smaller than Manti Te'o and Alec Ogletree, standing in at 5-foot-11, but Minter was very productive on one of the best college defenses in the country. He's a strong run stopper.

ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Ogletree is a big, quick linebacker who converted from safety, making him stand out against the pass. He ran into trouble before the combine with a DUI.

ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Te'o is an instinctive, run-stuffing linebacker who was a leader at Notre Dame. The fake girlfriend shocker and slow 40-yard dash time at the combine have affected his draft status.

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