PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
ESPN’s Todd McShay spends the entire year analyzing the NFL draft landscape.
But even McShay, regarded as one of the top draft analysts, is struggling to determine what the Ravens will do in the first round this season.
McShay said he’s losing some sleep trying to figure it out.
“I started this [mock draft] project late the other night and I didn’t finish until five in the morning,” McShay said on a recent conference call. “I really think the Bills and the Ravens cost me about an hour and a half.
“There are a handful of needs they can address, some more pressing than others. You look at their needs, and I’ve got guard, outside linebacker, left tackle, defensive end, inside linebacker.”
McShay isn’t the only one with uncertainly about the Ravens’ pick, as the most recent round of mock drafts vary significantly with what the Ravens might do.
Todd McShay, ESPN.com Published March 28 S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
Senior; 6-foot-5, 215 pounds; 90 tackles, 10 pass break ups
With no offensive linemen worth drafting, fast-rising Smith is a good value pick who could provide long-term security at safety with the clock ticking on Ed Reed. The Ravens also could consider a defensive tackle such as Connecticut’s Kendall Reyes at this spot.
Mel Kiper, ESPN.com Published April 4 C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Junior; 6-foot-5, 348 pounds
Sticking with this one from the previous mock. As I’ve said before, Matt Birk will need a replacement at center at some point (soon), and Konz is the best one available. The Ravens will want to get younger in some spots on defense, but they simply have to be better along the offensive line, which was a liability for much of last season.
Don Banks, SI.com Published April 4 LB Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
Junior; 6-3, 266; 85 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception
If the Ravens don’t get lucky and land Barron as the heir apparent to Ed Reed, they’d still be delighted to find Ray Lewis’ heir apparent in Hightower waiting for them. If neither of those possibilities unfold, the best available guard, or Wisconsin center Peter Konz are options.
Wes Bunting, National Football Post Published April 4 C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Konz has the ability to play both center and guard at the next level and gives the Ravens a real upgrade inside at a spot of need.
Chad Reteur, NFL.com Published April 6 C Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Ravens right guard Marshal Yanda had 23 bench-press reps at his pro day, the same number that Konz put up at his workout this week. Strength might, therefore, not be an issue for him if projected to start at guard in 2012 with veteran Matt Birk playing the pivot. Note that Yanda was asked to switch from tackle to guard early in his career.
Brian Baldinger, NFL.com Published April 4 DE/LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Senior; 6-foot-2, 265 pounds; 52 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks
GM Ozzie Newsome can’t resist a fellow Crimson Tide product who is a pure football player. The Ravens find ways to best utilize tough guys.
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com Published April 2 C Peter Konz, 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.
Rob Rang, CBSsports.com Published April 4 DE/LB Courtney Upshaw
The loss of free agents Ben Grubbs (OG) and Jarrett Johnson (OLB) will test Baltimore’s depth at these two important positions. There are several interior offensive linemen who would make sense here but General Manager Ozzie Newsome has made a career out of finding good football players who, for one reason or another, slid into his lap. Upshaw could slide out of the first because he didn’t look as athletic as his peers during combine workouts. The Ravens might be willing to look past Upshaw’s shortcomings in drills because he’s a proven on game day.