Here is a roundup of which first-round draft prospects the Ravens are linked to in 2013 NFL mock drafts.
--- ESPN’s Todd McShay predicts that the Ravens will select Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton.
“This was a tough one to project. The Ravens could go with ILB Kevin Minter to replace the retired Ray Lewis, or with a safety like Matt Elam, D.J. Swearinger or John Cyprien to fill the void left by Ed Reed's departure,” he wrote. “There are a lot of options, but I like Patton's ability to step into the role previously filled by Anquan Boldin. He's not a carbon copy of Boldin, but Patton is a little faster and more athletic, and could be a reliable complement to No. 1 receiver Torrey Smith. Baltimore finally got its passing game firing on all cylinders last season with QB Joe Flacco distributing the ball all over the field, and bringing in another possession-type receiver makes some sense. If not, a nose tackle like Alabama's Jesse Williams could be on the radar.”
--- In his latest mock draft, Peter Schrager of FOX Sports has the Ravens taking LSU linebacker Kevin Minter with the 32nd pick.
“The Ravens' defense will look different in 2013, with new additions like Elvis Dumervil, Marcus Spears, and Chris Canty joining the 2012 Super Bowl winners,” Schrager wrote. “I don’t believe Manti Te’o is worthy of a first-round pick, but I like Minter. A lot. 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 Ray Lewis (or even Dannell Ellerbe) -- he can start right away and make plays for the defending champions.”
--- Russ Lande of National Football Post thinks they will take Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o at the end of the first round.
“This one almost seems too easy as the Ravens have to find two inside linebackers after losing Ray Lewis to retirement and Dannell Ellerbe in free agency,” Lande wrote. “Although Te’o may not be a premier athlete, he is a good athlete who will be a productive player and excellent leader for the Ravens.”
--- Bucky Brooks of NFL.com also has the Ravens taking Te’o.
“The Ravens are in desperate need of linebackers after Ray Lewis' retirement and Dannell Ellerbe's surprise departure,” Brooks wrote. “Te'o is a tenacious tackle-to-tackle defender with the savvy and moxie to step in as a first-year starter.”
--- Don Banks of Sports Illustrated also has the Ravens taking an inside linebacker, but it is Georgia’s Alec Ogletree.
“The Ravens have never been wary of prospects with maturity issues, believing their locker room has the veteran leadership to keep the youngsters in line. Will that still be the verdict with Ray Lewis retired? I suspect so,” he wrote. “Ogletree is simply too athletic and too talented to not make the first round, and Baltimore's need at inside linebacker is great with both Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe having moved on.”
--- Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football projects California wide receiver Keenan Allen to the Ravens in his latest mock.
“This pick is all about figuring out which player will fall to the Ravens,” he wrote. “Ozzie Newsome frequently scoops up plummeting prospects, and there's no reason to believe that this year will be any different. The tumbling prospect could easily be Keenan Allen because he's injured and hasn't been able to work out. Allen makes a ton of sense for the Ravens. He would fill the void created by the Anquan Boldin trade to the 49ers.”
--- Rob Rang of CBS Sports predicts that the Ravens will draft Syracuse offensive tackle/guard Justin Pugh.
“The play of veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie played a critical role in Baltimore's Super Bowl run but the Ravens are not willing to break the bank to guarantee the 10-year veteran returns,” he wrote. “Pugh has shorter arms that scouts would prefer at left tackle but the 6-5, 307-pounder has the footwork and experience there to plug and play.”
--- Josh Norris of NFL.com is another NFL draft analyst who believes the Ravens will wind up with Minter.
“GM Ozzie Newsome highly values the middle section of his defense,” he wrote. “After losing both inside linebackers, Minter would offer consistency at one of those spots.”