With the NFL Draft coming up in late April, BaltimoreRavens.com takes another sweep around the web to look at what others are saying about the Ravens' chances with the 26th pick.
Keep in mind that things will change as free agency continues, and teams will most-certainly try to trade picks, players and money to move up or down in the first round, but here is an early look at what the pundits think:
As draft prospects conduct private workouts for teams, their stock rises and falls with good or poor performances, which in turn affects mock drafts. And, that is also affecting who people are saying the Ravens will select.
Many of the most-reputable mock drafts, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Ravens would go after a receiver. Now, some of those picks are turning into linebackers and even a few cornerbacks.
Still, SI.com's Don Banks switched his selection from UNC's Hakeem Nicks in his last mock draft to Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland. Baltimore did conduct a private workout with the speedy wideout in College Park, Md., and his size and speed are intriguing.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland -"The Ravens might be tempted to add another cornerback with Illinois' Vontae Davis still available, but Heyward-Bey is a big, fast wideout for Joe Flacco to target. Given Derrick Mason's unhappiness over his lack of receiving a contract extension, landing another primary receiver is a top priority in Baltimore."
That’s also where Ryan McCrystal of DraftAce.com thinks the Ravens will go draft weekend.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland - "The Ravens are showing a clear interest in the wide receivers in this draft class. They recently ran Heyward-Bey through some drills with Joe Flacco. If he falls to them, the Ravens should waste no time selecting Heyward-Bey. If he's off the board, their attention could turn to finding a replacement for Chris McAlister, such as Vontae Davis."
CBSSports.com reporter Clark Judge chimes in with another Heyward-Bey endorsement.
Darrius Hayward-Bey, WR, Maryland - *"It's time to start giving Joe Flacco weapons. This is the Ravens' chance."
Even the Ravens' hometown reporters have a Maryland lean, as Ken Murray of the *Baltimore Sun* opts for Heyward-Bey in purple and black.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland -"Home-run threat they needed."
Judge's colleague, Peter Prisco, also believes the Ravens will take a receiver, but he goes with Percy Harvin. Harvin, out of Florida, is smaller and more of a Reggie Bush-type that makes plays in the open field when he gets the ball.
Percy Harvin, WR, Florida - "They need to get some speed help for Joe Flacco. He can be used a variety of ways."**
And then there is NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang, who circles back to Nicks. The big-bodied receiver is not as fast as Heyward-Bey or Harvin, but he has tremendous hands.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina -* "The Ravens are investing a lot of their pre-draft preparation on receivers. Nicks lacks elite speed to stretch the field, but is a savvy route-runner who could be more pro-ready than some of the other, more explosive athletes at the position."*
Charles Davis of NFL.com thinks linebacker James Laurinaitis is the pick for his second consecutive mock draft. The Ohio State product could be a good pick because he was incredibly productive at the college level, and the Ravens are kind of thin at middle linebacker. Ray Lewis is there, but for how many years? And behind second-year Tavares Gooden, Baltimore needs depth.
James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State -"Laurinaitis always wanted to play next to Ray Lewis."
Linebacker is also the way Chris Steuber, Scout.com's draft analyst, but it is outside linebacker. Clay Matthews out of USC is one of those defensive end/OLB hybrids that could excel in the Ravens' multi-faceted defense.
Clay Matthews, OLB, USC -*"The Ravens are a defensive team and will always add talent to that side of the ball. Matthews has great upside and is a demon on special teams."
*NFLDraftDog.com sticks with USC, but their choice is Rey Maualuga, the linebacker known for his hard hits.
Rey Maualuga, LB, USC -"Maualuga (6' 2" 254 lbs) battled injuries this year, but when healthy he is as good as it gets. Will his poor showing (hamstring injury) at the combine cause him to slide?"
One of the more interesting picks is Western Michigan cornerback Louis Delmas, which comes from Football’s Future. Delmas is a tough, smart and aggressive corner that totaled a career-high 111 tackles and four interceptions last season.
Louis Delmas, CB, Western Michigan -"A young receiver here would make a lot of sense, so keep an eye on Hakeem Nicks. Jim Leonhard left in free agency, so a safety spot alongside Ed Reed is open. Delmas is intelligent and tough, and would fit right in with the Raven defense."