Baltimore Ravens 2012 NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds
With the combine finished and pro days underway, big boards are finally starting to solidify around the NFL.
Finally, GMs are starting to feel that they have enough information on these prospects to form a solid judgement.
That means that, finally, it is truly mock-draft time. Players' probable draft positions are becoming clear, and team needs are readily apparent.
For the Ravens, these needs include inside linebacker, offensive line, wide receiver, pass-rusher and safety.
While they'll be very lucky to fill all these spots with good values in the draft, these team needs will guide the Ravens throughout the offseason.
With this in mind, here is a full seven-round mock draft for the Baltimore Ravens.
1st Round—Peter Konz
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Wisconsin center Peter Konz would be the ideal selection for the Ravens for several reasons.
First of all, he's a great prospect. As a run-blocker, he paved the way for Heisman candidate Montee Ball's tremendous season, and he anchored one of the most consistent run-blocking lines in the country.
As a pass-blocker, Konz made life easy for 5'11" quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson had an excellent season, and he owes his offensive line a great deal of credit, especially Konz.
On the Ravens' side, Konz is everything that they will be looking for. Konz could fill the void left by Ben Grubbs' departure, or he could take over the starting center position immediately.
Matt Birk is not retiring and could be retained, which would be great for the Ravens. It would allow them to let Konz settle in for a year at guard before shifting to center, a more mentally demanding position.
Don't let his poor combine showing fool you. Konz is an elite center prospect, and if the Ravens have an opportunity to draft him, he will be a lynchpin on the Ravens' offensive line for years to come.
2nd Round—Juron Criner
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Standout Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner is a unique talent that the Ravens should be looking at in the second round.
Criner has the size and jump-ball ability that Ravens' fans have been clamoring for, as he constantly bailed out quarterback Nick Foles with his ability to snag the ball at it's highest point.
Further, Criner has strong hands and is an excellent possession receiver. His skill set would complement Torrey Smith well.
The Ravens had trouble passing the ball in the red zone, as they lacked a big, jump-ball target who they were comfortable with around the goal line. Criner possesses that ability and would give the Ravens' offense a new dimension in the red zone.
With his combination of size, hands and production, Criner is an excellent prospect in the second round who would fill out the Ravens' receiving corps nicely.
3rd Round—Audie Cole
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The Ravens are going to need to find a linebacker at some point during the offseason, and they should consider themselves blessed to select Audie Cole out of North Carolina State.
Cole has excellent size at 6'4", 248 pounds, and he has room to grow. He shows a knack for disrupting plays and getting into the backfield.
More impressive than his physical abilities are his hustle and determination. Cole regularly displays excellent hustle in pursuit, making plays sideline to sideline and chasing down faster players from behind.
Even if Cole doesn't immediately contribute as a linebacker, he looks like an excellent special teams contributor with his size, speed and motor.
The Ravens will be thin at inside linebacker, as they are unlikely to retain both Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain. That should open the door for Cole to get playing time right away.
5th Round—Miles Burris
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The Ravens' typically take at least one small-school, off-the-radar guy in the middle rounds, and San Diego State outside linebacker Miles Burris fits the bill in the fifth round.
Burris flies around the field, and he really sticks out on tape. He is a relentless player with surprising talent getting after the passer.
With impressive weight-room strength and explosion, Burris is much more than just a hustle player. He is a legitimate talent that constantly disrupts offenses and produces big plays.
The Ravens would be thrilled to find a pass-rusher like Burris in the later rounds, as he will stand out on both special teams and defense.
All in all, Burris is a sleeper prospect that could produce high returns for the Ravens.
6th Round—Jerrell Young
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At some point in the draft, the Ravens will want to find safety depth to develop behind Ed Reed. Southern Florida safety Jerrell Young is an ideal fit who should be available late in the draft.
Young has an ideal blend of athleticism and size. While he is raw and struggles changing direction, he is a talented developmental prospect who should contribute immediately on special teams.
The Ravens would be excited to have a unique athlete like Young on special teams, and he would provide decent depth at safety as well, making this a solid value pick.
7th Round-Matt Conrath
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Virginia defensive end Matt Conrath sticks out as one of the tallest players in this draft, and he is a good fit for the Ravens with their last pick.
Conrath has ideal size to play strong-side end for the Ravens. He is athletic and fluid, but could stand to build strength. His size also illustrates potential on punt and field-goal blocking units.
The Ravens would be happy to have a solid depth and special teams player like Matt Conrath available this late. Picking Conrath would be a nice way to end the draft.