With three teams making the playoffs and two winning 12 games during the regular season, the AFC North was arguably the NFL's most competitive division last season. Unfortunately for the Ravens, it figures to be hyper-competitive again in 2012 -- well, except for anything involving the hapless Cleveland Browns.
Many draft analysts gave the Ravens solid marks for the draft (and they have also given them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the selection of three Div. I-FCS prospects on draft¿s final day). But they have also handed out strong grades to the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Ravens' other AFC North rival, the Cleveland Browns, put together a deep, above-average draft class.
Before the Ravens opted to trade out of the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night, they watched their three AFC North rivals make moves that appear to make them better heading into the 2012 season.
The Ravens have a handful of needs. Most are not pressing. They have yet to address the offensive line this offseason and will be forced to do it in the draft. Even with the emergence of Torrey Smith a year ago, they are looking for another game-changer at wide receiver. Terrell Suggs lacks a true sidekick. And then there is the annual question about whether this is the year they need to prepare for life after Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. In my fifth and final first-round mock draft, I give you a semi-educated guess at whom the Ravens will select with the 29th pick. Is it still Wisconsin center Peter Konz? Read on to find out.
Every weekday until tomorrow, the day before the first round of the NFL draft, The Sun will examine 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. Today is defensive backs.
The 2012 NFL draft is now just over a week away. Free agency has died down, and teams are shifting their focus to the draft to round out their rosters. The Ravens are no exception. Their primary needs are still the same as they were entering the offseason: offensive line help, a pass rusher and a receiver. This mock draft -- the fourth of five I will do before the draft -- doesn't account for trades. And remember, these are called "mock" drafts for a reason. Try not to take them too seriously, folks.
The 2012 NFL draft is three weeks away, and though most teams have solidified their draft boards barring a few tweaks after prospects visit, the "silly season" of draft rumors is really starting to heat up. Need an example? How about the rumblings that the Colts are undecided about the first pick? But hey, I love mock drafts as much as you do, so allow me to contribute to the silly season with my third mock draft of the offseason.
After a wild first week in free agency that was punctuated with Peyton Manning signing with the Denver Broncos, we have a better idea of what needs teams will address in April's NFL draft. So now seems like a good time for our second mock draft of the offseason. (This mock draft does not account for potential trades.) And remember, these are called "mock" drafts for a reason. Try not to take them too seriously.
This year's NFL scouting combine begins Wednesday, unofficially marking the start of draft speculation season. Before the prospects are poked and prodded, though, staff writer Matt Vensel has taken his first crack at predicting the first round of April's NFL draft.
The NFL scouting combine starts Feb. 22. In advance of the annual meat market in Indianapolis, staff writer Matt Vensel will examine each position and give Ravens fans the 4-1-1. In this post he looks at cornerbacks.