While the draft is 70 plus days away it’s never too early to predict what player the Ravens could draft in the first round. The Ravens have many needs so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ozzie Newsome trade out of the first round like he has done so many times before.
Here are several players that I think the Ravens will have the opportunity to draft in the first round.
Manti Te’o: linebacker, Notre Dame.
What a season for Te’o. He had a career year and was a Heisman finalist. But as we all know, his draft stock has collapsed because of the fake girlfriend hoax and his poor performance in the national championship.
It would be difficult to see Te’o falling all the way to pick 32. Pittsburgh has the 17th pick in the draft and the Steelers have a need at inside linebacker. Other teams in the 20’s that have a need at inside linebacker include the Chicago Bears at 20, the Bengals at 21, and the Packers at 26.
If none of these teams select Te’o, the possibility of Te’o suiting up for the Ravens in 2013 is a real possibility.
Like all draft prospects with character issues, Te’o could be a good fit with the Ravens because of the leadership within the locker room.
Arthur Brown: linebacker, Kansas State.
Brown is one of the more versatile defenders in this draft. Despite his size – 6’1” 228 pounds – Brown is a complete linebacker with exceptional speed. Obviously, that speed translates to his pass coverage ability, which is above average.
Brown would be a good fit because his speed allows him to run sideline-to-sideline and make plays. If the Ravens lose their best coverage linebacker, Dannell Ellerbe to free agency, Brown’s pass coverage ability would become that much more valuable.
Tavon Austin: wide receiver, West Virginia.
If you are going to pay Joe Flacco, why not give him toys to play with? Austin is the ultimate weapon because he can play multiple roles in an offense.
Austin is a poor man’s Percy Harvin. He did a little bit of everything at West Virginia, including contributions on special teams. Austin would make the Ravens offense much more versatile, and would be a much more attractive option to the Ravens if Anquan Boldin is cut.
Kevin Minter: linebacker, LSU
Minter is one of my favorite players in the draft. While he lacks elite athleticism, he is adequate in pass coverage and excels against the run.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson is what pushed Minter into a first round projection. Minter finished with 19 total tackles and when he wasn’t making a tackle, he was somewhere around the ball.
Minter would be a great fit for the Ravens but with so many teams having a need at inside linebacker, Minter might not make it to pick 32 in the first round.