ESPN's Mel Kiper Says Ravens Should Go Corner Round 1

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ESPN's draft expert Mel Kiper knows that the Ravens take a best player available strategy each year into the draft.

But if Kiper had to pick the position he thinks the Ravens need to address with the No. 26 pick, the long-time analyst clearly pointed to the defensive backfield. 

"They got to get a corner," Kiper said during a recent national conference call.

Baltimore's secondary was an issue for the Ravens throughout last season, as the group dealt with a handful of injuries. Top corners Jimmy Smith (foot) and Lardarius Webb (back) both missed significant portions of the season, and the Ravens ended the year with five cornerbacks on injured reserve.


The secondary could make significant improvement this year if the Ravens get everyone healthy again, but Kiper still thinks the Ravens should add to that unit. He also expects the Ravens to have some quality options near the end of the first round.

Kiper said the Ravens "don't have to force it," but he specifically highlighted Washington's Marcus Peters (6-foot-0, 197 pounds) and LSU's Jalen Collins (6-1, 203) as quality picks if they are still available when the Ravens get on the board.

Another option may be cornerback Kevin Johnson (6-0, 188) from Wake Forest, who was college roommates with Ravens receiver Michael Campanaro, and he appears to be rising up draft boards after a strong showing at the combine. 

"He's going to be a good corner, and he'll probably still be there," Kiper said.

If the top corners are off the board by the time the Ravens get a chance to pick, Kiper then pointed to receiver, tight end and outside linebacker as other first-round options.

"I would think if it's not a corner, then wide receiver, tight end. I wouldn't say running back. I'd say wait on that position, even though they're going to draft a running back," Kiper said. "I don't think safety because you drafted [Terrence] Brooks and you still have hope that maybe [Matt] Elam can develop."

Outside linebacker isn't an immediate need for the Ravens with Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Upshaw all returning next year, but the Ravens would like to add some young depth there as pass rusher Pernell McPhee may leave in free agency.

"I would say a young outside linebacker at some point is something they have to bring into the fold," Kiper said. "But I would say right now, you got to go corner

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