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Five Potential Draft Surprises


The Ravens have some clear needs heading into this year's draft.

They would like to add players at inside linebacker, safety, wide receiver and offensive line, among others, and all of those positions could be addressed in the first few rounds.

But every year there are picks that come as a relative surprise – like running back Bernard Pierce in the third round last year – and the Ravens could once again catch some people off guard depending on how the board falls.

Here are five potential surprises this year:

Elite Tight End Falls
The Ravens love drafting the best player at his position, and they would likely jump at the opportunity to get a player like Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert. He has been projected by some draft analysts to go in the top 10, but tight ends have a potential to fall and he could be available late in the first round. If he's there when the Ravens pick at No. 32, he could be headed to Baltimore. While tight end isn't the most glaring need on the roster, adding Eifert would give the Ravens another talented player to go along with Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, who are both heading into the final years of their contracts.

Drafting a Cornerback Early
The Ravens already have a quality secondary with Lardarius Webb, Corey Graham, Jimmy Smith and Chykie Brown. Webb is a franchise cornerback, and Graham, Smith and Brown all have starting experience from last season. The Ravens used a first-round pick on Smith in 2011, so it would seem unlikely that they would draft another cornerback high again. But General Manger Ozzie Newsome has said on numerous occasions that the team can't have too many cornerbacks, and they won't pass up an elite corner if he's there in an early round.

Adding Another Running Back
The Ravens'backfield is a crowded place with Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey and Damien Berry. Rice and Pierce are clearly the top backs, and Allen earned his spot on the roster thanks to stellar play on special teams. The Ravens also like Berry and Rainey, so adding another piece would make for a very tight competition during training camp. But late-round running backs have found success in the NFL in recent years, so the Ravens could take a chance on somebody late if they end up keeping all 12 of their picks.

Taking A First-Round Pass RusherThe Ravens added one of the NFL's elite pass rushers this offseason by signing Elvis Dumervil. They now have Dumervil, Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw at outside linebacker, and are also planning to give Pernell McPhee some reps in Suggs' spot. It's a crowded position right now, but the Ravens have still shown interest in adding another dominant pass rusher, and Florida State's Tank Carradine could be available at the end of the first round. If Carradine, or another top-flight pass rusher falls to the Ravens, they may pull the trigger.

Not Adding A Wide ReceiverThe Ravens have a hole at wide receiver now that Anquan Boldin is gone, and they said that this year's crop of receivers is deep through about the first five rounds. Adding a player in one of those rounds would provide more competition behind Torrey Smith amongst Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss, David Reed, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter and LaQuan Williams. Drafting another receiver seems likely, but the Ravens have also stressed that they like the young receivers currently on the roster. If a talented receiver  isn't available when the Ravens draft in one of the early rounds, they could elect to pass up on adding another target for quarterback Joe Flacco.

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