It's tough to predict who will be available at any position in the draft, but towards the end of round one it becomes just that much harder. Team needs become less obvious as we get to more talented teams with less glaring holes and the second and third tiers of prospects start to get more difficult to distinguish.
The Hightower pick from a needs perspective should be obvious. Ray Lewis is headed into his 17th NFL season and Jameel McClain is an unrestricted free agent. Even if McClain is back, picking Dont'a Hightower is still a strong option. But will he be available?
There's plenty of teams that need a good linebacker, but those teams have other glaring issues. Pittsburgh is a good example of this. Can they ignore offensive line issues to pick a linebacker that won't start right away? Probably not.
You may be thinking, well the Ravens are in the same boat buddy, what's your point? My point is that Pittsburgh picks at 24, where Center Peter Konz (Wisconsin) and Guard/Tackle Cordy Glenn (Georgia) will likely be available. They likely won't be available just five picks later for the Ravens, especially with Green Bay recently not re-signing Center Scott Wells.
That could mean that the best player available that fills a need will be Dont'a Hightower. It's tough to think that any other guards aside from Cordy Glenn and David Decastro (Stanford) would warrant the 29th pick and it's hard to imagine the Packers passing on a future franchise center from Wisconsin. I have my fingers cross that Konz could fall to us at 29, but I'm becoming less and less hopeful.
That being said I wouldn't be surprised to see us take a hybrid outside linebacker like Andre Branch (Clemson) or Nick Perry (USC) in this spot either should one of them still be on the board.