NFL Draft Prospect Watch (Part 5)

April 25, 2013 | Brett Dickinson

NFL Draft Prospect Watch (Part 5)

My final lists will take a look into prospects who would be ideal fits for the Ravens with their first five picks.  The draft is unpredictable and the reigning Super Bowl Champs may develop their board completely different, but these players make a lot of sense to fill holes left in a rough free agency.  Though it may take a little maneuvering by Ozzie Newsome, moving around their bevy of picks via trades (something he has mastered in the past), the Ravens could acquire all five players.

 

Kevin Minter (LB LSU)

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 246 lbs.

2012-2013 Stats: 130 Tackles, 4 Sacks, 1 Interception, 1 Forced Fumble

Draft Projection: Rounds 1-2

Minter may be overshadowed by the bigger names on the LSU defense, but he was a stalwart for the Tigers.  He is a thumper in the middle of the defense, who uses his physical nature to make tackles all over the field. He is a solid MIKE (middle linebacker) who fits into any scheme, willing have enough speed to be a three down LB.

Questions arise about how productive he would have actually would have been if stuck in a less talented defense.  But Minter proved not only to be a sure tackler, with good instincts but a leader on a defense that supports several high draft picks.

Though Minter is not the highest rated LB on the board, he is the best fit for the Ravens scheme, where he will be asked to fill holes in the middle of the field.

Player Comparison: DeMaco Ryans (LB Philadelphia Eagles)

Interesting Fact: Minter was named to the All-SEC First team, as well as LSU’s MVP for the 2012 season.

 

Barrett Jones (OL Alabama)

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 306 lbs

Draft Projection: Rounds 2-3

Jones is one of the most decorated offensive lineman in the history of the NCAA, winning the Outland Trophy, as the nation’s best lineman in 2011 at LT and the Remington Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top center, in 2012.  He is the most versatile trench player in the draft, while being a leader for the National Championship Crimson Tide.  Jones proved he would never back down, when he got in to Alabama’s QB (and his roommate), A.J. McCarron, face in the second half of the blowout versus game Notre Dame.

Though his position is unclear in the NFL, Jones will be an instant starter for any team that would take him.  Jones is a smart player, who has enough athleticism to reach the second level, while adequate strength to take on man-to-man blocks.

He is the exact type of lineman Ozzie Newsome looks for, as he can fill holes at different positions, once the coaching staff figures out the best line alignment.

Player Comparison: Marshal Yanda (OG Baltimore Ravens)

Interesting Fact: Jones is the only player in NCAA history to start and win a National Championship at three different positions.

 

Baccari Rambo (S Georgia)

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 211 lbs

2012-2013 Stats: 73 Tackles, 3 Interception, 3 Forced Fumbles

Draft Projection: Rounds 3-4

Though he served a four game suspension for the start of the 2012 season because of a failed drug test, Rambo is still a high character player and natural leader.  Even with his off-field issues, he was still nominated as a team captain for the Bulldogs last season.

Rambo is a turnover machine, evident in his All-American junior season, which he notched eight interceptions.  He is a natural fit as a centerfielder, giving the opportunity to roam the middle of the field.  He uses his great instincts and exceptional ball skills to put fear into opposing QBs, as a player that can change the game in a single play.

The Ravens could fill the void lost by Ed Reed’s departure, with Rambo’s ball-hawking skill set at the safety position.

Player Comparison: Jarius Byrd (S Buffalo Bills)

Interesting Fact: After his child was stillborn early in the 2011 season, Rambo made two interceptions the following game just ten days later, dedicating his spectacular junior season in honor of his late son.

 

Stedman Bailey (WR WVU)

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 193 lbs.

2012-2013 Stats: 113 Catches, 1627 Yards, 25 Touchdowns

Draft Projection: Rounds 3-4

Bailey was overshadowed by his WR counterpart, Tavon Austin’s game-changing plays, throughout his career at West Virginia.  He was ultra-productive in the up-tempo style offense of Dana Holgorsen, steadily improving each season in Morgantown. He is a much more polished wide out than Austin, who runs crisp routes and knows how to get open in tight spaces.

Though his size is underwhelming, Bailey still had a knack for finding the end zone, more than doubling his touchdown totals in each of the past three seasons.  He also does not have blazing speed, but utilizes his quickness to find open spaces in the defense.  Bailey’s most important skill may be his sure hands, rarely dropping passes for the Mountaineers.

The Ravens should look to use Bailey as a replacement for Anquan Boldin’s role in their offense; excelling in underneath routes to balance their passing attack.

Player Comparison: Jeremy Maclin (WR Philadelphia Eagles)

Interesting Fact:  Bailey was a first team All-State selection as a senior in high school, while catching passes from college QB teammate, Geno Smith.

 

Ricky Wagner (OT Wisconsin)

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 308 lbs.

Draft Projection: Rounds 4-5

Wagner was a three year starter on a consistently good offensive line, which had several players become high draft picks.  He has good athleticism to play either tackle position, as well as decent size to hold up against bigger pass rushers.  Wagner displays good feet and a strong push in both the pass and run games.

Though his strength is in the rushing attack, he has the ability to grow into a great pass blocker with some grooming.  Wagner excelled playing in space, protecting mobile passer, Russell Wilson (current Seahawks starting QB), starting on the left side of a BCS Bowl team.

He is a durable lineman, missing only one game in the past three seasons.  The Ravens could look to Wagner as a middle-round option, as a developmental starter, at either of the tackle position, in the not-too-distant future.

Player Comparison: Sam Baker (OT Atlanta Falcons)

Interesting Fact: Wagner earned a scholarship as a walk-on player, after an 8 game suspension (due to an alcohol related incident) caused him to miss out on garnering offers from big name schools in basketball and football.

*All photos courtesy of NFL.com.*

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