As the clock ticks down to the 2012 NFL draft -- Round 1 is the night of April 26 -- let’s take a look at which college prospects the Ravens are being paired up with in recent mock drafts from five national analysts.
--- Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: “The Ravens must address their interior offensive line with Ben Grubbs departing and Matt Birk nearing the end of his career. Konz is capable of playing offensive guard or center, and his rugged style is an ideal fit in Baltimore's power-based offense.”
Vensel’s take: Even with Birk returning in 2012 (and perhaps beyond?), the Ravens still could take Konz and plug him in at left guard. But will Konz still be on the board at No. 29? The Green Bay Packers, who recently signed Jeff Saturday to replace Scott Wells, could have interest in him at the spot directly before the Ravens.
--- Peter Schrager, FOXSports.com: Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama. “It’s time to upgrade at the linebacker spot. If Hightower -- the third-rated inside linebacker talent on my board -- is available, they should go ahead and grab him. A tackling machine out of Nick Saban’s defensive star factory down in Tuscaloosa, he could make an impact right away. And remember, Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama guy, too.”
Vensel’s take: I had the Ravens taking Hightower in my last mock draft (shameless plug: my next one comes out this Wednesday). The Ravens brought back Jameel McClain and they are counting on Paul Kruger to replace Jarret Johnson, but it would still make sense if they added this talented linebacker to the mix.
--- Jamison Hensley, ESPN.com: Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia. “The Ravens have a history of top prospects falling to them in the first round. Their luck would continue with Glenn, an athletic and versatile blocker who would start immediately at left guard.”
Vensel’s take: Glenn started at left tackle in his final season at Georgia and he also spent time at both guard spots during his college career. Some are reportedly questioning his drive, but this 345-pound lineman could be a solution at left guard and then perhaps slide over to one of the tackle positions down the road.
--- Don Banks, SI.com: Mark Barron, S, Alabama. “The Ravens could jump on Konz given Matt Birk's advanced years and Ben Grubbs' departure to New Orleans, but I can't imagine they'd think twice if Barron falls all the way to No. 29. The loss of safety Tom Zbikowski to the Colts in free agency only makes the case for Barron even stronger.”
Vensel’s take: The Ravens have a fine pair of starting safeties in Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, but both are free agents after the 2012 season. The Ravens do like Barron and they are expected to add a safety at some point in the draft, but it seems unlikely that Barron, the draft’s consensus top safety, will be there at No. 29.
--- Evan Silva, Pro Football Talk: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford. “He’d be Baltimore’s version of Jimmy Graham as a playmaking ‘Joker’ tight end.”
Vensel’s take: With all due respect to Silva and the guys at PFT, I’m just not seeing this one. The Ravens have a pair of young, talented pass-catching tight ends in Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, who both had impressive moments throughout the 2011 season. It would be a major stretch for them to take a tight end in Round 1.