Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz sat down to discuss prospects at several positions of need leading up to next month's draft. This is the second installment of a five-part series: *defensive linemen.*
Ray Lewis has retired, Dannell Ellerbe is a free agent and Jameel McClain is an unknown coming back from a spinal cord injury.
Thus, the Ravens have a definite need at inside linebacker.
Here's Hortiz's take on five interior defensive linemen who could be possibilities for the Ravens in this year's draft:
Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
Senior, 6-foot-1, 241 pounds; 113 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 7 interceptions
"This guy comes in for four years and is a tackling machine and a leader. Yeah, he's a little smaller than you would like and a little slower than you would like. … The speed is out there. You know what you're getting."
- The top high-school recruit who chose Notre Dame over USC
- Four-year starter and team leader
- Instinctive and tough in the box as a run stopper
- Doesn't have high-end speed
Kevin Minter, LSU
Junior, 6-0, 246; 130 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception
"He's going to be an instinctive, tough, competitive guy who makes plays in the box and makes plays in the run game outside."
- Another run stuffer that is physical taking on and getting off blocks
- Good tackler
- Undersized a bit, shorter than Te'o
- Limited role on third downs, not expected to be in man coverage
Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Junior, 6-2, 245; 111 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception
"Big, fast, athletic; he's what you want. He's made some questionable decisions that he's got to answer and stand up to, which he has to my understanding."
- Converted safety (freshman year) who is very athletic
- Good speed although he was slower than expected at the combine (4.7-second 40-yard dash)
- Not a downhill thumper, but more of a sort, flow and attack player
- Makes a lot of plays outside the box and down the field in coverage
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Senior, 6-0, 241; 100 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions
"He's probably got more man cover skills than the other guys. But he's also undersized so he may get swallowed up a little more than the other guys like Te'o and Minter."
- Transferred from University of Miami after he didn't start in his first two years
- Waiting to see what he does because he didn't work out at the combine
- Undersized but tough and competitive
- Has more speed than usual inside linebackers, also played outside in college
Nico Johnson, Alabama
Senior, 6-2, 248; 54 tackles, two forced fumbles, 1 pass breakup
"He is a thumper. He is your downhill run stopper. I think he is your traditional first, second down, off the field on third down guy."
- Rotational player used in run-stopping formations in college
- Limited to zone drops but perhaps has the athleticism to do more
- Tough, instinctive and will bang heads in the box
- Polished use of the hands, a product of good coaching