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Mid-Round Options At Safety, Linebacker


In looking through the roundup of mock drafts available this time of the year, the overwhelming majority expect the Ravens to take an inside linebacker or safety with pick No. 32.

Linebackers Manti Te'o, Alec Ogletree and Kevin Minter, and safeties Matt Elam, Jonathan Cyprien and Kenny Vacarro have all been linked to the Ravens as possible first-round picks. Even with the signing of free agent safety Michael Huff and inside linebacker Rolando McClain, the Ravens could still use players at both of those spots.

But if the Ravens go a different direction in the first round, will there still be quality players to address those needs later in the draft?

"There's a lot of depth at safety," ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper said during a conference call Wedneday. "There's not a lot of depth at inside linebacker after the third round."

Here are some of the targets Kiper thinks the Ravens may consider at linebacker or safety in the second or third rounds:

Linebacker Arthur Brown, Kansas StateSenior, 6-0, 241; 100 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 6 passes defended"I like Arthur Brown. I like everything about the kid," Kiper said. "He's productive. He's got great character. He has the versatility to be an inside or an outside guy. I think he's a solid second round pick."

-          Strong tackler with good sideline-to-sideline range

-          Able to get off blocks and makes plays in space

-          Doesn't have great size, which has dropped him down the board for some teams

Safety D.J. Swearinger, South CarolinaSenior, 5-foot-10, 208 pounds; 79 tackles, 9 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles

-          Hard hitter, with experience at strong and free safety

-          Average speed, and best suited to come up to make stops in run game

-          Sure tackler who likes to look for the big hit

Linebacker Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers
Senior, 6-1, 240; 83 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble

-          Durable defender, who played 50 consecutive games in college

-          Played some inside and outside linebacker in college, and demonstrated some pass-rush ability by registering 12.5 sacks over his career

-          Sure tackler and also has decent athleticism in coverage

Linebacker Jon Bostic, Florida
Senior, 6-1, 245; 68 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, 4 passes defended, 1 forced fumble

-          Run-stuffing linebacker can plan downhill to stop running backs at the line of scrimmage

-          Athletic and instinctive in coverage, and reeled in five interceptions over his college caeer

-          Average sideline-to-sideline speed

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