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2014 Ravens Draft Preview


The Ravens are in position to make a splash.

Baltimore holds the No. 17 overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, which will be the team's highest pick since selecting perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata with the No. 12 pick in 2006. General Manager Ozzie Newsome hasn't picked in the top 20 since taking franchise quarterback Joe Flacco in 2008 with the No. 18 pick. 

"It's exciting, but we just can't miss the pick," Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said last week. "We have to nail the pick."

The Ravens could go a number of directions in the first round, and the front office has emphasized that it will stick with it's philosophy of taking the best player available.

The other possibility is that the Ravens could trade back to add picks in a deep draft class. Teams have already reached out to the Ravens about the possibility of trading, and the Ravens could make a move depending on how the board falls.

"We'll be prepared to pick at 17, but also we'll be entertaining trades to be able to move back if we have to, if we want to," Newsome said.

This year's draft class is considered one of the best in recent years, and the Ravens have about 180 draftable prospects compared to 140-150 in some other years. The depth of the class, and the higher-than-normal first-round pick gives the Ravens ammunition to come away with a talented crop of players.

"I don't know where this draft is going to stand in the 19 years that we've been doing this, but I do trust the information and the people that will be a part of the draft," Newsome said. "And I think that when we finish up on Sunday afternoon with the undrafted college free agents, we will bring in some players who are going to impact our football team, not only this year, but in years to come."


Round 1: Thursday, 8 p.m. ET
Rounds 2-3: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Rounds 4-7:  Saturday, 12 p.m.

Ravens Picks

Round 1, Pick 17
Round 2, Pick 48
Round 3, Pick 79
Round 3, Pick 99 (compensatory)
Round 4, Pick 134 (compensatory)
Round 4, Pick 138 (compensatory)
Round 5, Pick 175 (compensatory)
Round 6, Pick 194

Top Ravens Needs

Offensive Line
The Ravens have upgraded their offensive line this offseason, but right tackle is still somewhat of a question market. Second-year lineman Rick Wagner would start at right tackle if the season started today, but the Ravens could add some more competition to that spot. Kelechi Osemele has also started at right tackle, so the Ravens have some flexibility to bring in a guard or tackle depending on the draft board.

Newsome said at the start of the offseason that the Ravens wanted to add an athletic safety to play in the back end of the defense, and the draft could be a place to make that move. The Ravens already signed Darian Stewart in free agency, but many draft experts think the Ravens could target one of the top safeties in the class with their first-round pick.

Inside linebacker
Newsome said the Ravens wanted to bring in additional depth at inside linebacker, even though they re-signed veteran Daryl Smith this offseason and drafted Arthur Brown in the second-round last year. Picking up another linebacker would increase competition for the starting job next to Smith and give the Ravens depth at the position after parting ways with veteran Jameel McClain this offseason.

Running back
Adding a running back is a priority, and this is a buyer's market for ball carriers. For the second straight year, a running back is not expected to get taken in the first round. The Ravens could land a top back in the middle rounds, giving them much needed depth at the position. Picking up a running back was the plan even before Ray Rice's legal situation, and now the Ravens may also have to plan for him to be suspended at some point.

Potential Picks at No. 17

OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
The versatile lineman could play left guard or right tackle for the Ravens, filling an immediate need on the offensive line. The biggest question is whether he lasts until No. 17.

OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Lewan was a quality starter throughout his four-year career at Michigan, and he's one of the best offensive linemen in the draft. He would also fill the hole at right tackle. Lewan has talent to be a top-10 pick, but an off-the-field issue could drop him to the middle of the round.

OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Kouandjio started at left tackle for the Crimson Tide, but the Ravens would likely want him at left guard or right tackle. He does have some injury concerns, which may scare teams off.

OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
Moses played both tackle positions during his college career, and started at left tackle the last two seasons. His versatility is attractive for the Ravens, who like linemen to play multiple spots.

TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Ebron is widely regarded as the top tight end in the class, and the Ravens are still looking to add in this area. He would provide another receiving threat for quarterback Joe Flacco, and would be a long-term answer at the position because tight end Owen Daniels is only on a one-year deal.

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
Clinton-Dix is an athletic safety that fits the bill Newsome described when he talked about adding a safety. He can cover ground and has good ball skills on the back end.

S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Pryor is a hard-hitting safety who often comes up in the box making big plays to stuff opponents in the run game. He has a similar skillset to last year's first-round pick Matt Elam.

WR Odell Beckham, LSU
Beckham has breakaway speed, and many experts consider him the third best receiver in the class behind Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans. He's a versatile receiver with skills in the return game, and he racked up 2,315 all-purpose yards last year.

WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Cooks is the fastest receiver in the draft. He can beat teams deep on the edge, and he can also move the chains by working the middle of the field. He has drawn comparisons to recently acquired Ravens receiver Steve Smith, Sr.

WR Marqise Lee, USC
Lee is coming off a down year after being arguably the best receiver in college football two seasons ago. He can also play inside or outside, and he brings skills in the return game.


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