From now until Thursday, the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, The Sun will look at where the Ravens stand at each position, the likelihood that they will address that spot early in the draft and some of the prospects that they may consider.
The Ravens have eight total picks in the three-day draft: one in each of the first, second, fifth and sixth rounds, and two each in the third and fourth rounds.
Today we'll examine linebacker:
Current linebackers under contract: Outside- Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Pernell McPhee, John Simon, Adrian Hamilton, D.J. Bryant; Inside – Daryl Smith, Arthur Brown, Josh Bynes, Albert McClellan.
Chances that the Ravens draft a linebacker in first three rounds: Decent. While the Ravens like to add a developmental pass rusher every year, believing you can never have enough guys who can get to the quarterback, they are pretty well stocked at outside linebacker. Perhaps, they take a flier on one in the later rounds. But on the inside, there is certainly a need for a little more depth despite re-signing Smith. It is a relatively weak draft for inside linebackers. Only one, Alabama’s C.J. Mosley, is projected to go in the first half of the first round. If he’s still on the board at 17, Mosley will get a lot of consideration. Ryan Shazier, who played outside linebacker at Ohio State, could fit on the weak-side and his speed and skill set should translate in him being an every-down linebacker. However, he's projected by most to get in the second half of the first round, so he may only be an option if the Ravens trade back.
Possibly on Ravens’ radar: Chris Borland (Wisconsin), Khairi Fortt (California), C.J. Mosley (Alabama), Ryan Shazier (Ohio State), Kyle Van Noy (BYU)
Outlook: At some point this offseason, the Ravens are going to have to add another inside linebacker. Smith played all but two snaps for the defense last season but he is 32 years old, and the jury is still out on Brown, who currently is atop the depth chart at weak-side linebacker. Bynes and McClellan are experienced reserves, perhaps valued more for the special teams play. Mosley would be a very interesting addition. He had a visit with the Ravens and general manager Ozzie Newsome has never been shy about taking players from his alma mater. However, is Mosley good enough to prompt Newsome and company to put off grabbing an offensive tackle or a safety until later rounds? That remains to be seen. The Ravens don’t have a glaring need for an outside linebacker unless they plan to move McPhee back inside or they’re concerned about the progress of Simon.