It's regarded as a strong class of safeties, led by Texas' Kenny Vaccaro along with LSU's Eric Reid, Florida's Matt Elam, South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger and Fresno State's Phillip Thomas.

"It's a very deep group of safeties this year," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. "It wouldn't surprise me knowing how smart the Ravens are and how they manage the draft that they maybe wind up in the second or third round getting a good player at that position."

Vaccaro and Elam delivered several punishing hits last season, also displaying outstanding range.

"When you look at Vaccaro, I think his overall body of work was outstanding," Kiper said. "He's a guy who's an enforcer. He can cover. He's complete.

"Matt Elam's a guy I like. I've talked to some teams that think he's a second rounder, but I personally like what I saw of him. I raved about him all year. I think he's deserving to be in the late first round discussion."

Regardless of whether the Ravens keep former Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie on the roster as a free agent after he revitalized his career during the playoffs, they could use a blocker for the future to protect quarterback Joe Flacco.

Although the highest-graded tackles — Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) — will be long gone by the Ravens' pick, McShay believes the Ravens need to go after a tackle early in the first round if they don't address defensive tackle with Alabama interior defensive lineman Jesse Williams or defensive end with LSU's Sam Montgomery.

Offensive and defensive linemen are expected to dominate the first round.

"If you give Flacco time and you give those receivers enough time to get down the field, we saw how dynamic a combination that can be," said McShay, who mentioned Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker and Florida State tackle Medelik Watson as possibilities for the Ravens. " I think solidifying that future left tackle is probably the top need."

Although selecting last in the first round this year after winning the Lombardi Trophy, the Ravens have a long track record of winding up with Pro Bowl players regardless of where they're picking.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh stressed how the personnel department and coaches work in tandem to evaluate players.

"There really aren't clear lines of demarcation between people, scouts and coaches work together," Harbaugh said. "Everybody is involved. To me, that's the key to any success that we have."

NFL Scouting Combine

WHAT: Drills, testing, interviews, medical and psychological information to be recorded for more than 300 NFL draft prospects.

WHERE: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.

WORKOUT SCHEDULE: Players arrive Wednesday for medical exams and interviews with NFL teams, but field drills don't start until Saturday with the tight ends, offensive linemen and special teams players kicking things off followed by quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers on Sunday, defensive linemen and linebackers on Monday and concluding with defensive backs on Tuesday.

MEDIA SCHEDULE: Players meet with the media beginning Thursday in groups by position.

DRILLS: NFL teams test for the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap, three-cone drill, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. Players are also given the Wonderlic exam, an SAT-style set of timed questions, as well as a new intelligence test being administered this year.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: For various legal, character and maturity concerns, players will be under scrutiny from NFL teams.

BEST POSITION GROUPS: It's a close race between a talented offensive line class anchored by Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel and Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack, Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher and North Carolina offensive guard Jonathan Cooper and a deep defensive line group headlined by Florida State's Bjoern Werner, Utah's Star Lotulelei, Texas A&M's Damontre Moore, Florida's Sharrif Floyd, LSU's Barkevious Mingo and Oregon's Dion Jordan.

PASSING LEAGUE: This isn't regarded as a blue-chip quarterback class, but that won't decrease the amount of attention placed on Matt Barkley (USC) and Geno Smith (West Virginia).

ON THE RISE: Brigham Young defensive end Ezekiel Ansah has drawn comparisons to New York Giants defensive Jason Pierre-Paul because of his athleticism and is regarded as an ascending pass rusher. Also moving up on draft boards: Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who's lauded for his size and ability to run after the catch.

LOCAL PROSPECTS: West Virginia wide receiver and kick returner Tavon Austin, a former Dunbar star projected to go in the first round, leads a group of locals that includes University of Maryland tight end Matt Furstenburg, Virginia Tech wide receiver Corey Fuller (Woodlawn) and Syracuse wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel). Austin is expected to excel at the combine.

RAVENS BUZZ: Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree are among the most popular names being attached to the Ravens' 32nd overall pick of the first round in mock drafts along with LSU linebacker Kevin Minter, Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams, LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery and Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

-- Aaron Wilson