The Baltimore Ravens received a pleasant surprise on Monday, as the team was awarded two compensatory picks for the 2012 NFL Draft.
The picks are for the fourth round (130th overall) and the fifth round (169th overall).
The fourth-round pick is crucial for the Ravens, as Baltimore did not have a fourth-round pick before today, giving up that pick in a trade for wide receiver Lee Evans.
So now that the team has these two additional draft picks, what does it mean?
That's the only route the team should take with these two picks, as depth is the key to winning championships in the NFL. Sure, the first few picks will be spent on impact players, but after that it's all about depth.
The main positions that the team should address depth-wise are the offensive line, safety and the linebacking corp/pass-rush.
Otherwise, any other picks should be made to fill a specific hole at a position or to draft an impact player.
With these added picks, the Ravens are now able to hold off on drafting a receiver until the later rounds (likely fourth or fifth round) as the wide receiver class this year is the deepest in years.
That leaves the early rounds (first-third) for the previously mentioned team needs. In the first round, the pick will come down to offensive line or linebacker, whether it's inside or outside linebacker.
If either Luke Kuechly or Dont'a Hightower are available at pick No.29, the Ravens will likely grab Ray Lewis' heir. If both linebackers are gone, offensive line will likely be the pick. There's a good chance now that either Wisconsin guard/center Peter Konz or Georgia guard/tackle Cordy Glenn will be available, and both would be a solid first-round pick for Baltimore.
In the second round, the team could address the safety position by selecting Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith if he's available. Or, the Ravens can find pass-rush replacements for the recently departed Cory Redding and Jarret Johnson. There are many possibilities here, such Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry, Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones or Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David.
Those are just a few names, but there are many possibilities.
From the third round on, the Ravens can greatly improve the team's depth, as previously suggested. With six picks in the final five rounds, the Ravens can add another receiver, draft a running back to backup Ray Rice, add another offensive guard, pick another quarterback to compete with Tyrod Taylor for the backup job and fill any other needed holes.
The possibilities are endless.
With the re-signing of Brendon Ayanbadejo and the addition of special teams ace Corey Graham, the team is set on special teams coverage, meaning the team can look solely for players to add depth at their natural position, not to be a regular special teams ace.
While these two added picks won't create a tectonic shift in Baltimore's draft plans, they add flexibility, giving the team the ability to address each of the team's needs.