Just like that, the Ravens 2nd Lombardi Trophy gets placed in the trophy case, becomes a part of history, and it’s now time to turn our attention to the Ravens future. Drawing up a blueprint for defending our title. ESPN’s resident draft experts, Mel Kiper Jr and Tood McShay, weigh in with their latest mock draft predictions. Spoiler alert, there is no offensive linemen to be seen.
Mel Kiper Jr picks: Kevin Minter – LSU, Middle Linebacker. 6’2″ 244lbs
Scouts Grade: 90. Positional Rank: 3. Overall Rank: 26.
Word is the Ravens will be down an interior linebacker next season, and they should be thrilled if Minter is still around at this point. In fact, I can see Minter climbing higher, and maybe occupying the spot where Te’o goes, pushing Te’o down into this range. Minter is instinctive, shoots gaps, can play sideline to sideline and is particularly hard for blockers to line up. He’s a steady tackler, and a good quarterback for your defense. The Ravens need a new one, finally.
A lot of these predictions are going to change based on the players the Ravens hang on to for next season. I think O-Line depth should be a priority, but if McKinney returns, and Ellerbe is a cap casualty, I could see Baltimore going this route. Trying to find as close to the next Ray Lewis as possible. Manti Te’o is currently slotted to go 13th to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Mel Kiper’s draft board. It sounds like he is hinting around the fact that if Minter jumps up to 13, Te’o could fall to the Ravens here. Kiper doesn’t place any other MLBs between picks 13 and 32. I could see Te’o fall because teams may be weary about facing the media circus that will come with him.
Kevin Minter is a Junior, but he’s 22 years old. Check out his profile here. The game that sticks out the most is 10/6/12 against the Florida Gators. Minter recorded 20 tackles, 17 of them solo, and two sacks.
Todd McShay picks: Jessie Williams – Alabama, Defensive Tackle. 6’3″ 320lbs.
Scouts grade: 86. Positional Rank: 8. Overall Rank: 41.
The newly crowned Super Bowl champs would love to find a future left tackle to groom, but probably won’t with the last pick in the first round. Possible replacements for MLB Ray Lewis and S Ed Reed might also be reaches at this point. General manager Ozzie Newsome is an Alabama guy and knows Williams well. He’s not flashy, but Williams is the kind of big, tough, selfless defensive linemen who can occupy blockers and make average linebackers and safeties look much better as run defenders.
Interesting note, Kevin Minter doesn’t show up on McShay’s first round board, while Kiper likes him to possibly move up. Jessie Williams doesn’t show up on Kiper’s first round board. Tough to tell since the Ravens are on the border line if either guy likes the other guys pick early in the second round. If one of these guys are on the Ravens radar, don’t be surprised to see them trade down a pick or two or three, out of the first round, to get one of them at a second round price and save a few dollars.
I don’t think defensive tackle is on any of our radars here in Baltimore. If McShay is right on the fact that a guy like Williams can make Ellerbe, McClain, who ever may step into Ed Reeds spot play better, this might be a decent pick up. Terrance Cody, Courtney Upshaw, Jarrett Johnson, LeRon McLain, all Alabama prospects that Ozzie Newsome has brought here. He loves some Bama.
My concern here is that it is just not a hole on this team. Arthur Jones has really stepped his game up, and McPhee is holding his own. Still have Cody. So where does Williams fit and who is the odd man out? Cody I would think. Check out the rest of Williams profile here.
You can check out both of these young men on Monday, February 25th, during the third day of the NFL Scouting Combine, designated for defensive lineman and linebackers.