The NFL draft, which begins May 8, represents the Ravens' next great chance to add an impact talent to a core they hope hasn't won it's last Super Bowl.
Writers from across the Internet have taken stabs at projecting who the Ravens will choose with their first-round pick, No. 17, and there seems to be a consensus building around two positions of need: offensive line and safety. Chief among the prospective picks are Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin and Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.
The Sun's Aaron Wilson released his most recent mock draft Monday. Here’s what some others are saying about who might be available for the Ravens at pick No. 17:
** Bucky Brooks, an analyst for NFL.com, posted the fifth version of his mock draft on April 15 and had Lewan, who entered the season a consensus top-10 pick, falling to Baltimore at pick 17.
“Lewan has all of the tools to be a dominant player at his position, which makes this pick a no-brainer at this point,” Brooks wrote.
In the second round of his mock draft, Brooks had Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome tabbing Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer at pick 48. Brooks said the 6-foot-2, 215-pound wideout could be the big target Joe Flacco was missing last year without Anquan Boldin.
** Brooks’ colleague at NFL.com, analyst Daniel Jeremiah, wrote in his April 9 mock draft that Pryor would be the Ravens’ choice at No. 17, noting the team’s needs at safety.
** NFL.com analyst Charles Davis had the Ravens making a value pick at No. 17 in his March 18 mock draft. Davis said that if athletic North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron is available, the Ravens could add him to Flacco’s stable of targets.
** College Football 24/7 writer Mike Huguenin also posted a mock draft posted to NFL.com, and like so many others at NFL.com, had the Ravens selecting Louisville safety Calvin Pryor with their first-round choice.
**Additionally, NFL.com is running a mock draft featuring media personalities and reporters who cover each of the 32 teams. Ravens Radio Network analyst Qadry Ismail was tasked with the 17th pick, and selected Pryor.
"I love his abilities to make plays in space, he can actually play down in the box, as well as be deep and play that cover 2 or cover 3 look.”
**ESPN’s Todd McShay noted that he likes Virginia tackle Morgan Moses more than Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin, but he had the Ravens selecting Martin in the first round in his April 11 mock draft.
McShay wrote that Martin “should be a good starter at right tackle and in a worst-case scenario can be kicked inside to guard.”
** McShay’s ESPN colleague Mel Kiper Jr. tapped Pryor as the player to fill what he called “a pretty sizable void at safety” for the Ravens in his April 17 mock draft.
“Pryor isn't quite the ace in coverage that [Alabama safety Ha-Ha] Clinton-Dix is, and if Clinton-Dix is available at this slot he could become the pick, but Pryor is hardly a consolation prize given his range and playmaking abilities, something the Ravens' defense needs,” Kiper wrote.
** The crew at CBSSports.com has several mock drafts posted as well. Writer Rob Rang, in his April 21 mock draft, joined McShay among those who believe the Ravens will tap Martin, the Notre Dame lineman, with their top selection. In the second round, Rang had the Ravens drafting Colorado State center Weston Richburg, who he wrote could be “an instant upgrade over incumbent starting center Gino Gradkowski.”
** Dane Brugler also posted a mock draft at CBSSports.com Monday, and hit on a few Ravens tropes for his projection. Brugler, noting Newsome’s Alabama’s ties and this particular player’s high draft stock, speculated that the Ravens would end up with Crimson Tide safety Clinton Dix at pick No. 17. In the second round, Brugler projected the Ravens would draft Notre Dame defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt.
** CBSSports.com columnist Pete Prisco had the Ravens selecting Lewan, the Michigan tackle, to strengthen the right side of the offensive line.
** CBSSports.com National NFL Insider Pat Kirwan projected that Martin would be coming to Baltimore at pick No. 17.
** CBSSports.com NFL Writer Will Brinson also projected the Ravens to take Lewan in the first round.
** Don Banks of Sports Illustrated posted one of the most recent mock drafts, and in his April 22 edition, also had the Ravens taking Lewan. If Lewan, Clinton-Dix, and Pryor are all taken, Banks speculated Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley could land in Baltimore.
** Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke threw a new name into the fold in his April 17 mock draft with Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward. Burke wrote that though Ward is just 5-foot-11, he could make a good partner for 5-foot-10 Matt Elam.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun