Let's get this year's series of Mock Draft Monitors started.
With the annual scouting combine this week in Indianapolis, the mock draft boards are expected to go through some movement in the coming weeks, but here's an early look at who the experts think the Ravens should* *take on April 25.
ESPN, Mel KiperPosted Feb. 7
ILB Kevin Minter, LSU
Senior, 6-foot-2, 244 pounds; 130 tackles, 1 interception, 4 sacks
"Word is the Ravens will be down an interior linebacker next season, and they should be thrilled if Minter is still around at this point. In fact, I can see Minter climbing higher, and maybe occupying the spot where Te'o goes, pushing Te'o down into this range. Minter is instinctive, shoots gaps, can play sideline to sideline and is particularly hard for blockers to line up. He's a steady tackler, and a good quarterback for your defense. The Ravens need a new one, finally. The two defenders still had a chance to soak up the atmosphere and embrace the confetti as it fell to the turf, but they also had to watch Super Bowl XLVII from the sidelines hoping they would someday get a chance of their own to play on football's biggest stage."
ESPN, Todd McShayPosted Feb. 7
DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
Senior, 6-3, 220; 37 tackles, 1 sack
"The newly crowned Super Bowl champs would love to find a future left tackle to groom, but probably won't with the last pick in the first round. Possible replacements for MLB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed might also be reaches at this point. General manager Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama guy and knows Williams well. He's not flashy, but Williams is the kind of big, tough, selfless defensive linemen who can occupy blockers and make average linebackers and safeties look much better as run defenders."
Sports Illustrated, Don BanksPosted Jan. 24
ILB Manti T'eo, Notre Dame
Senior, 6-2, 255; 113 tackles, 7 interceptions, 1.5 sacks, 11 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery
"Not sure where the draft stock of Te'o will settle after the well-chronicled tale of his hoax of a dying internet girlfriend becomes yesterday's news, but NFL executives I talked to were taking a wait-and-see approach. Te'o is a tackling machine and he finds the football in the takeaway department, too, but him getting run over in embarrassing fashion against Alabama had to give some teams pause about his overall game. At the bottom of the first round, however, Ozzie Newsome and Co. might consider him a steal of a replacement for the retired Ray Lewis."
FOXSports.com, Peter Schrager
Posted Feb. 14
DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
Junior, 6-4, 295; 75 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
"The Baltimore defense will have to reload this offseason. Cary Williams, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe could all be playing elsewhere next season and we know Ray Lewis isn't coming back. Teams ran all over the Ravens during the regular season, though the team obviously picked it up in the playoffs. Richardson is a 295-pound run stuffer who can get to the quarterback. He had 10 tackles for a loss and was an All-SEC performer in 2012. He's not going to single-handedly replace any of those potential departures, but he's a very good piece to the rebuilding puzzle."
NFL.com, Daniel Jeremiah
Posted Feb. 8
DE Sam Montgomery, LSU
Junior, 6-5, 260; 37 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
"Baltimore is always going to take the best available player, regardless of position. That said, Montgomery would provide some much-needed insurance should the Ravens lose Paul Kruger to free agency. Montgomery would team up with Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw to provide a diverse and dynamic outside pass-rushing trio."
NFL.com, Josh Norris
Posted Feb. 15
Safety D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina
Senior, 6-0, 210; 79 tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 TD
Shortly after the Super Bowl, Ozzie Newsome noted that the middle section of the Ravens' defense needs improvement. With Ed Reed possibly leaving for another team, a safety seems like a logical selection. Swearinger is a thunderous hitter, but he flashed impressive coverage skills when asked to line up at cornerback, as well.
National Football Post, Russ LandePosted Feb. 14
ILB Manti T'eo
"With Ray Lewis riding off into the sunset after the Ravens won the Super Bowl, they must [find] a replacement. While Te'o lacks Lewis' elite physical tools, he is a similarly sized linebacker with great football instincts and despite this recent controversy, excellent leadership skills. He would be a good fit starting next to Dannell Ellerbe and would upgrade the Ravens pass coverage as Lewis was no longer a high level pass defender."
CBSSports.com, Rob RangPosted Feb. 18
ILB Manti T'eo
"Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame: Ray Lewis isn't just a Hall of Famer, he's proven to be the lifeblood of the Ravens for much of his career and walks out as a Super Bowl champion. With Dannell Ellerbe and Darryl Blackstock slated for free agency, the Ravens could be in the market for help at inside linebacker. General manager Ozzie Newsome has made a career out of nabbing falling stars deep in the first round. The bizarre saga involving Te'o could lead to a draft-day fall but his talent and production are unquestioned."
CBSSports.com, Dane Brugler
Posted Feb. 18
ILB Manti Te'o
"The Ravens are World Champions, but they also have needs all over their defense, including at middle linebacker where Ray Lewis leaves a gaping hole. Te'o certainly has a lot of question marks regarding all the off-field hoopla the past few weeks, but would offer good value with the final pick."