In the weeks leading up to April's NFL draft, I will highlight four players at each position whom the Ravens could target at different stages in the draft -- from their top pick to their Mr. Irrelevant. In this post, I will focus on the defensive line.
Remember, I'm not saying the Ravens will take a defensive lineman with their first-round pick, though the pass rush is an area they want to improve. I'm just giving you a player whom they might consider if they decided to go that route. Here are four defensive linemen the Ravens could have in their sights:
Round 1: Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple. One of the draft’s fastest-rising prospects, Wilkerson might be off the board when the Ravens are on the clock at No. 26. But if he’s there, they will likely give serious consideration to selecting him. Scheme versatile, Wilkerson has the size and strength to hold up against the run as a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4, and he had 9.5 sacks in his senior season. He would play the Cory Redding role in the Ravens defense.
Rounds 2-3: Allen Bailey, Miami. Bailey, who played both inside and outside on the defensive line in his college career, is a workout warrior and an impressive physical specimen. But his sack totals -- 19 in three years -- don’t pop out at you. He can be a second slow in play recognition, and he might need to add some bulk to play defensive end in the 3-4.
Rounds 4-5: Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh. Romeus was the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 after making 43 tackles, recording eight sacks and forcing two fumbles. But he blew out his knee early in the 2010 season, so his stock has fallen. He has the potential to be a late-round steal if he rebounds from the injury.
Rounds 6-7: Craig Marshall, South Florida. A junior college transfer who had nine sacks in three seasons at South Florida, Marshall has the ability to get after the quarterback. He struggles at times against the run and would need to put on some weight to play in the 3-4, so he would be a project for the Ravens. His pass-rush potential makes him an intriguing prospect, though.
OK, your turn: Which player, if any, should the Ravens target at this position during draft weekend?