Ravens Didn’t Draft An ILB For A Reason

Baltimore has Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, Brendon Ayanbadejo and more inside.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

The Ravens addressed needs on the offensive line, running back, safety, outside linebacker and wide receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft.

One position they didn’t add a prospect at was inside linebacker.

That’s because General Manager Ozzie Newsome sees no pressing need. Newsome was asked what led to him not selecting an inside linebacker.

“I think Jameel McClain, Albert McClellan, Dannell Ellerbe and Brendon Ayanbadejo had a whole lot to do with that,” he said.

While the discussion of finding an heir apparent to Ray Lewis came up once again this year, Baltimore hasn’t drafted an inside linebacker since 2009. The player pegged as a possibility, Alabama’s Dont’a Hightower, went to the New England Patriots.

The Ravens have several other options beside or behind Lewis heading into the 2012 season.

McClain was re-signed to a reported three-year deal this offseason, showing the Ravens see him as a major future contributor. He has been a starter the past two seasons.

He’s backed up by Ellerbe, who has signed his second-round tender. Ellerbe struggled with injuries last season, but has shown his potential.

Baltimore brought back Ayanbadejo on a three-year deal. The special-teams ace has also worked his way into certain Baltimore defensive packages.

McClellan was in the mix at outside linebacker, but it sounds as if he’ll move back inside with the addition of second-round pick Courtney Upshaw.

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