Here is a roundup of which first-round draft prospects the Ravens are linked to in 2013 NFL mock drafts.
--- ESPN’s Todd McShay had the Ravens taking Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o in his latest mock draft.
“The questions about his ability to play all three downs in the NFL were magnified by a 4.83 40 at the combine,” McShay wrote. “He has great instincts and plays faster than his 40 time. But whether he can hold up as an every-down player in the NFL is the question that a lot of teams will be mulling over -- especially those with ILB/MLB needs in the bottom third of first round, including the Giants, Bears, Texans and Ravens.”
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--- In his latest mock, Peter Schrager of FOX Sports thinks the Ravens could take a different inside linebacker: LSU’s Kevin Minter.
“I don’t believe Manti Te’o is worthy of a first-round pick, but I really like Minter. A lot,” he wrote. “I’m not a huge fan of drafting middle linebackers in the first round, but Minter brings the goods -- and though he will never be Lewis (or even Ellerbe) -- he can start right away and make plays for the defending champions.”
--- Rob Rang of CBS Sports had the Ravens drafting Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker at pick No. 32 in his latest mock.
“The Ravens are not willing to break the bank to guarantee [Bryant McKinnie] returns,” Rang wrote. “Fluker offers a similar skill-set as what the Ravens already have on the roster with Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele, as he's a powerful run blocker with some limitations in pass protection. He's a clear first round talent, however, who could provide too much value for former Crimson Tide star Ozzie Newsome to allow to slip any further.”
--- Bucky Brooks of NFL.com thinks the Ravens could go with a safety and projected LSU’s Eric Reid to them at pick No. 32.
“Ed Reed might return after flirting with free agency, but the Ravens still need to find a long-term answer at the position,” Brooks wrote. “Reid is a freakish athlete with the size and speed to control the back end in the Ravens' blitz-heavy defense.”
--- Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football thinks Texas A&M edge rusher Damontre Moore could fall to them.
“This pick is all about figuring out which player will fall to the Ravens,” he wrote. “The tumbling prospect could easily be Damontre Moore because he looked sluggish at the combine and reportedly interviewed very poorly. The Ravens like to take chances on prospects like Moore. Besides, he fills a need with Paul Kruger leaving. The Ravens will have only two reliable outside linebackers on the roster once that happens, and one is Courtney Upshaw, who barely generated any sort of a pass rush last year.”
--- Russ Lande of The National Football Post also has Te’o pegged for the Ravens at pick No. 32 in his mock.
“With Ray Lewis retiring and Dannell Ellerbe a free agent the Ravens may need to find two new starting inside linebackers,” Lande wrote. “They have to choose between the elite athlete, [Georgia’s Alec] Ogletree, who has major character questions and did not impress in interviews, and Te’o, whose leadership and coverage ability, give him the edge.”
--- Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports is another analyst who has the Ravens taking Minter in his latest mock draft.
“Now that Ray Lewis has retired from the team he defined, the Ravens need a lot of help at inside linebacker,” Farrar wrote. “Actually, it could be argued, they needed a lot of help there before Lewis retired, especially against the pass. Minter plays the run better than Manti Te'o (and every other linebacker in this class), and he's mobile enough to make plays on slants and screens.”
--- Josh Norris of NFL.com says in his mock that the Ravens will select South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger.
“Ozzie Newsome noted that the middle section of the Ravens' defense needs improvement,” Norris wrote. “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.”