The Sun's Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec along with Ravens editor Mark Selig goes over which players should be available when the Ravens draft the six pick. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Leading up to the draft, The Baltimore Sun will look at the Ravens' personnel at each position, explore whether they could add to that position and analyze whom they might target.
Today we'll examine linebackers.
Current linebackers under contract: Inside linebackers C.J. Mosley, Zachary Orr, Arthur Brown, Albert McClellan; outside linebackers Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Za'Darius Smith, Chris Carter, Brennen Beyer.
Chances that the Ravens will draft a linebacker in first three rounds: High. A solid case could be made that an outside edge rusher and an inside linebacker are two of the Ravens' top three needs in this draft. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has expressed confidence in Orr, Brown and McClellan as potential replacements for starting middle linebacker Daryl Smith, but the Ravens still want to bring in another option to play alongside C.J. Mosley. Za'Darius Smith, a fourth-round pick last year, will step into Courtney Upshaw's spot, but the Ravens need another outside linebacker and sack threat behind Suggs and Dumervil.
Possibly on Ravens' radar: Inside linebackers Myles Jack (UCLA), Nick Kwiatkoski (West Virginia), Tyler Matakevich (Temple), Reggie Ragland (Alabama); Outside linebackers Joey Bosa (Ohio State), Kamalei Correa (Boise State), Leonard Floyd (Georgia), Deion Jones (LSU), Noah Spence (Eastern Kentucky).
Outlook: Many evaluators believe Jack would be a sensible pick for the Ravens, if he's still available. The Ravens have prioritized adding speed and play-making ability on defense and Jack can do it all, and might just be the most talented defensive player in the draft. If the Ravens can't land him, or if they have reservations about his once-injured knee, they'll likely try to find another middle linebacker in the middle-to-late rounds.
They almost certainly won't wait that long before adding a pass rusher. It would be surprising if the Ravens didn't use one of their top picks on a linebacker that can get to the quarterback, but there are questions about all the top available pass rushers. Would Bosa be able to make the transition to the Ravens' 3-4 defense? Why wasn't Floyd more productive in college? Can Spence stay out of trouble off the field? Bosa is seemingly the only logical outside linebacker for the Ravens to take as high as six, but Floyd, Spence and Clemson's Shaq Lawson could come into play if the Ravens trade back in the first round. This is a need the Ravens have to fill. Suggs and Dumervil aren't getting any younger and the success of Dean Pees' defense hinges largely on its ability to pressure the quarterback.