Draft needs: Baltimore Ravens

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Of the Ravens’ eight draft picks in 2014, four are compensatory selections: one third-rounder (No. 99), two fourth-rounders (Nos. 134, 138) and one fifth-rounder (No. 175). The compensatory picks were awarded for the Ravens’ 2013 free agent losses, which included outside linebacker Paul Kruger and inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

Kruger was a 2009 second-round pick of Baltimore, with Ellerbe an undrafted free agent in the same class. By their fifth NFL campaigns, both were key members of a Ravens club that won Super Bowl XLVII. In that Super Bowl, Ellerbe played every defensive snap for Baltimore, while Kruger added two sacks off the bench.

Less than two months later, Ellerbe and Kruger departed in free agency. They had earned their paydays. And in the end, the Ravens had earned some 2014 draft picks to find the next wave of young contributors to a team that rarely lacks for talent.

Here are the Ravens’ top needs entering the 2014 NFL Draft:

Offensive tackle: The Ravens are set at left tackle after re-signing Eugene Monroe. Also, the Ravens might be able to cobble together a workable solution at right tackle with the personnel on the roster. Second-year player Ricky Wagner and fourth-year pro Jah Reid are among the options for the job, and third-year left guard Kelechi Osemele could probably swing outside and hold up well up enough (though the club tenatively plans to keep him at his current spot, per coach John Harbaugh). However, if the Ravens find a plug-and-play starting right tackle in Round One, they would have plenty of reason to consider addressing the offensive line right off the bat in the 2014 draft.

Safety: Safety Matt Elam doesn’t turn 23 until September and could be a fixture in the secondary for years to come. However, the Ravens could use a long-term solution opposite of Elam, who played free safety a season ago. Were the Ravens to add a free safety, it’s believed Elam could slide to strong safety.

Cornerback: The Ravens have an above-average starting CB tandem in Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb, and the club has both players under contract beyond 2014. Still, the Ravens are not especially deep at cornerback, with Corey Graham’s departure to Buffalo leaving the club a little thin. The Ravens have drafted at least one cornerback in each of the last three years.

Running back: Ray Rice could face NFL discipline if he is found guilty or pleads guilty or no contest to aggravated assault stemming from a February incident with his fiancée. Also, Rice’s 2013 play left much to be desired, as did the play of third-year back Bernard Pierce. On their best, Rice and Pierce comprise a very good backfield duo. However, the Ravens might want to add another back just to be safe.

Wide receiver: Multiple other positions were considered for the final spot in our rankings. The Ravens probably could stand to add a young defensive lineman in the draft. Also, bringing in a quarterback to compete with Tyrod Taylor would make sense. The Ravens might also want to add a young tight end behind ex-Texan Owen Daniels.

In the end, though, wide receiver gets the nod as the Ravens’ fifth-most pressing need. With Torrey Smith and Steve Smith as the starters and Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones in reserve, the Ravens have a solid core at wide receiver. However, Steve Smith turns 35 in May, and Torrey Smith can test unrestricted free agency after the 2014 season. In short, the Ravens probably have just enough at wide receiver for the time being, but they could stand to add a prospect at the position.

26 responses to “Draft needs: Baltimore Ravens

  1. we really don’t have any needs.

    we are the franchise that the rest aspire to be.

  2. to give wilkening some credit, this article is well written and accurate in terms of our current situation


  3. A running back that doesn’t drag women around like he’s a caveman, and a coach that doesn’t whine like a woman being dragged around by a caveman.

  4. I don’t think you should use a 1st round pick on a RT, it’s not a premium possition. You can find a starting RT in rounds 2-4. We need a DB, DL, WR, LB, or TE.

  5. The draft is a non issue for the Ravens. The Steelers and Patriots are the teams with NO TALENT and aging players at EVERY position.

  6. How hard can this be? Draft everyone you need to win a Super Bowl, and if it doesn’t work then fire all of them and start over again next year. C’mon Ravens, get with the program.

  7. The ravens will definitely need a new rb after Rice(the women beater) does his suspension time. A new offensive line would help to0 although personally I hope they keep what they have:).

  8. Not a bad run down at all

    I hope no one feels “set” with Munroe at tackle. He was the best option out there for them, but he’s not good enough to feel like you’re set there.

  9. Joe Flacco’s career numbers to date are 121 TDs/78 INTs. Not sure where the “Ravens need a QB who throws more TDs than INTs” idea comes from.

    I’d love for the Ravens to nab Zack Martin at #17 to play RT, or Calvin Pryor at FS. Depending on which direction they go, I’d jump for joy if Jordan Matthews was still on the board at #48 overall. Then take Terrance West in the 3rd round if available (Towson alum), and their critical needs are met.

  10. In Round 1 if tier one tackle is left he goes. If Pryor or Clinton-Dix are there they might go. If none of the options are there he trades back to someone desperate (like Texans) to get back into Round 1 before the QBs are gone. Even though Texans have 33rd pick they might get nervous they won’t get their guy. Sucks the draft is still over a week away.

  11. The Ravens are in the perfect draft slot to fill a big hole. You got….

    4) tackles lewan Robinson Matthews martin
    2) wrs Watkins and Evans
    2) LBs Barr and Mack
    1) Clownmeat

    9 guys off the board for sure and 7 that are a wildcard where they might go. I didn’t even include a QB. So lets say Manziel and Bortles go, that leaves 5 players available until the Ravens pick.

    1) EBron
    2) Ha Ha
    3) Pryor
    4) Dennard
    5) Gilbert

    In a worst case scenario the Ravens are still in good position to get a good pro. Lets be real though you know their will be at least 2 head scratchers and 2 of those guys above will fall and the Ravens will get ge choice of at least 2 of those guys.

  12. If everyone is honest with themselves the Ravens have a ton of needs. It’s so important for them to hit on their picks because Joe Flacco is the most over paid player in the history of sports (including baseball).

    When you pump 120 million into a QB and then release all the defensive players that contributed to their SB win, because you are cap starved what do you expect?

    They will finish 4th in their division and miss playoffs, whiff on 2014 draft.

    Record: 7-9

  13. As a Raven fan I can tell you a couple of things. Number one is that Ozzie has his own agenda and it is probably a lot different than what one would expect. Also, please remember that Ozzie drafts the best player available (based on Ozzie’s assessment not the presses or fans). I am always surprised with some of his picks. Yes he does not always come out of the draft with great players for every round, but he has a lot more successes than failures. There are a lot of teams more worried about who will be available when than the Ravens.

  14. What’s with the water in Minnesota? Their fans are acting like they’ve won something other than instagram photos from Brett Favre, an imploded roof, or you know…anything.


    In 54 years.


    Ravens have existed for 18 in case you were wondering.

  15. Someone really said that Flacco’s contract is the single worst one in the history of all professional sports?

    Let me introduce you to Miguel Cabrera. He’s 31, and recently signed an extension with the Tigers. It amounts to a 10-year, $292 million contract. Eight years from now, Cabrera will be 39, and Flacco will be 36 and likely retired from the NFL (at least at the end of his career). At that time, the Ravens will be free and clear from paying Flacco any amount of money, and the Tigers will STILL owe Cabrera nearly $60 million.

    That’s just one contract. I didn’t get to Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Josh Hamilton, or Alex Rodriguez. So if you still think Flacco’s deal is worse than all them, not only do you not know a thing about how NFL contracts work, but you also don’t know a thing about baseball contracts.

    Kids these days, I tell ya.

  16. If One of the top CBs or Safeties are available id say pounce. If they’re all gone, as well as the tackles, and ebron is available. Pounce on him! other than that, Ozzie is trading back, so dont spend too much on your day 1 draft party my fellow baltimorians. We partying on day 2!

  17. crownofthehelmet, you posted that on the wrong forum. That was supposed to go under Steeler draft needs. But I understand the mistake, you spend more time here than with your own team. And you forgot to add OL.

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