2012 NFL Draft: Players the Ravens Could Pass on Peter Konz for
Peter Konz. Peter Konz. Peter Konz.
If you've been scoping out mocks drafts for the Ravens at all for the past couple of months, chances are you've heard the name.
I should know; I've mocked him at pick No. 29 many times.
But just because he's the consensus pick for the Ravens by draft pundits, ESPN analysts and even diehard fans doesn't mean Ozzie Newsome thinks so.
For years the Ravens have implemented the "best player available" philosophy, and generally it has worked out very well.
There's no doubt that offensive line is the biggest issue for the Ravens this offseason, but if a player of higher value is there when the Ravens go on the clock, chances are they'll take that player and look to address the offensive line in a later round.
Here's a list of five players that I believe could slip to the Ravens, no matter how unlikely it may seem at this point.
Notice that Harrison Smith isn't on the list, but I would like to add Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones and USC defensive end Nick Perry as honorable mentions.
5. Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB (Illinois)
Whitney Mercilus is a bit of a one-year wonder, which could cause him to fall a bit in Round 1.
This is good news for the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome, who has made it very clear that he wants to continue to add pass-rushers this offseason.
Mercilus made it into the starting lineup for the Fighting Illini this past season as a junior, where he recorded 16 sacks and forced nine fumbles. There's a lot of scouts who believe that if he had stayed for his senior season and continued similar production, he could have been a top-five to top-10 pick in next year's draft.
If he's available for the Ravens at pick No. 29 this year, however, they could see him as a developmental outside linebacker with huge upside potential.
4. Cordy Glenn OG/OT (Georgia)
Even if Jason Brown decides to accept the Ravens' offer, they'll still need to continue to add depth along the offensive line.
Bryant McKinnie is coming up on the last year of his contract, and though he has been serviceable, he is more of a band-aid at left tackle than anything else.
There are a lot of scouts out there who believe that Cordy Glenn can play any position along the offensive line aside from center, which could be helpful to a team like the Ravens that have question marks at three of the five offensive line spots.
If the Ravens are one of the teams that believe Glenn can be an NFL left tackle, they could play him at left guard as a rookie and move him outside next season.
However, Glenn has to be available at pick No. 29 first, which seems unlikely with so many other teams needing offensive line help.
3. Stephen Hill WR (Georgia Tech)
As I wrote in an article last week, I do believe that the Ravens will strongly consider Georgie Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill should he be available when they pick.
Yes, he's raw, and yes, he only caught 29 passes last year, but there's good reason for that. He didn't only catch 29 passes in Baylor's spread offense; he did it in Georgia Tech's run-heavy triple-option offense.
You can coach a player to be a better route runner, but you can't coach him to be 6'4", 215 pounds and run a 4.3 40.
2. Dont'a Hightower ILB (Alabama)
The Ravens have re-signed all of their inside linebackers from last season, but with Ray Lewis about to turn 37 years old, you have to wonder how long the Ravens can put off drafting his successor.
Jameel McClain has a new three-year deal and seems to improve every season with an increased role, but who will be playing next to McClain after Lewis retires?
Dannell Ellerbe is a good depth and situational player, but whether or not he can be an every down player remains to be seen.
If Hightower gets past the Steelers and Texans, he'll likely make it to the Ravens. He's already familiar with a 3-4 system and is versatile within it.
1. Courtney Upshaw DE/OLB (Alabama)
Where Courtney Upshaw will end up is one of the biggest question marks of the entire draft. Will he play defensive end in a 4-3 or outside linebacker in a 3-4?
Where he falls will really depend on how teams think he will fit in their system and whether or not they think another pass-rusher may fit better.
If Upshaw were to fall to the Ravens at pick No. 29, however, there's no question that they'd figure out a way to utilize him.