Once a year, reporters gather in Owings Mills to discuss the NFL draft with Ravens officials. It's the reporters' goal to trick team officials into offering some insight. And it's the Ravens' goal to trick the reporters into thinking every word out of their mouths is profound insight.

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In short, it's great theater.

Typically, the Ravens say they go after the best player available, regardless of position, that they might trade their first-round pick and that there are several players they like. It typically takes an hour to explain this.

"There's a lot of good players out there," Eric DeCosta, the Ravens' director of player personnel, said yesterday. "We probably have five or seven players that we think have a realistic chance to get at 26 who can come in and contribute Year One."

Because we can't trust the Ravens to divulge those names with a straight face and because we can't wait until Draft Day to find out who will be joining the team, let's turn to the outside analysts. 

In the next three weeks, there will be plenty more debating and projecting here at the Toy Department, but for today, let's take a look at what some of the experts think the Ravens will do with their first-round pick. As you'll see, the analysts do their projections based on need, which is why you'll see a lot of wide receivers, cornerbacks and linebackers on this list.

ESPN's Mel Kiper: LB Rey Maualuga, USC

CB Vontae Davis, Illinois

Looking ahead to the Ravens' draft

USA Today's Sean Leahy: CB Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest

CBS Sports' Pete Prisco: WR Percy Harvin, Florida

NFL.com's Charles Davis: LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

SI's Don Banks: WR Hakeem Nicks, UNC

Scout.com's Chris Steuber: LB Clay Matthews, USC

CBS Sports' Clark Judge: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland

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NFL.com's Pat Kirwan: Heyward-Bey, Maryland

USA Today's Matt Pitzer: RB Chris Wells, Ohio State

Scout.com's Rob Rang: T Eben Britton, Arizona

USA Today's Larry Weisman: CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State

Athlon: CB Darius Butler, Connecticut

Rivals.com: LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

NFL.com's Steve Wyche: C Max Unger, Oregon

USA Today's Jim Corbett: Davis, Illinois

USA Today's Nate Davis: Heyward-Bey, Maryland

Scout.com's Derek Harper: Heyward-Bey, Maryland

USA Today's Scott Zucker: Britton, Arizona

Photos: AP

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