What would draft day be without one last Ravens mock draft to ponder for the next eleven or so hours?
In this one, I decided to include best and worst case scenarios through the early rounds. It doesn't necessarily mean I'm predicting these players in those spots—in fact a lot of picks have a very slim chance of occurring—but I do believe these scenarios to be at least possible if not probable.
Happy draft day, thanks for reading and go Ravens.
Best Case Pick: Courtney Upshaw DE/OLB (Alabama) or Dont'a Hightower ILB (Alabama)
I'm not sure whether Upshaw or Hightower has a more realistic shot of being there for the Ravens at pick number 29. But if either of them makes it that far, it only seems logical that Ozzie Newsome jumps on the opportunity to inject the defense with youth and talent at two positions of need.
Upshaw would obviously fill a more immediate need at outside linebacker, even though Paul Kruger seems confident that he can handle the the role of setting the edge like Jarrett Johnson once did.
Hightower would be the heir apparent to Ray Lewis if he were to be the pick in Round 1, and would certainly give Jameel McClain some serious competition in training camp.
Most Realistic Pick: Peter Konz C (Wisconsin)
It's no secret that the Ravens badly need an immediate starter at left guard and a future replacement for Matt Birk at center, and Konz could fill both of those voids.
There's also a good chance that he'll be available at number 29 and has shown a nasty streak in his play that gives him that "play like a Raven" vibe.
Worst Case Pick: Trade down.
Ozzie Newsome will seldom reach for a player, and this year should be no different. If there isn't a player who he thinks is worth the 29th pick overall, Newsome will likely trade down.
There should be plenty of potential trading partners trying to get back into the first round at that point, so moving down for extra picks should not be a problem.
If Corutney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower, Shea McClellin and Peter Konz are all off the board when the Ravens pick, Newsome will likely start entertaining trade offers.
Best Case Pick: Mohamed Sanu WR (Rutgers)
If the Ravens don't go offensive line in the first round, they may not wait long to address the left guard position.
However, if a value pick like Mohamed Sanu presents itself, it'll be hard to pass.
Sanu seems to be the forgotten talent when it comes to early-round wide receivers, being over shadowed by guys like Stephen Hill, Rueben Randle and Alshon Jeffrey.
At 6'2" 211 pounds he would give Joe Flacco a bigger red zone target, and has shown that he is more than solid when it comes to run blocking.
A 4.65-second forty time at the NFL combine has hurt his stock a bit, which could be good news for the Ravens.
Most Realistic Pick: Kelechi Osemele OG/OT (Iowa State) or Amini Silatolu OG (Midwestern State)
Osemele is a bit raw but his upside and potential ability to play tackle at the NFL level could make him a very realistic option for the Ravens in the second round.
Worst Case Pick: Brian Quick WR (Appalachin State)
Brian Quick will likely be available for the Ravens in Round 2, and could make an immediate impact as a red zone threat considering his 6'4" 220 pound frame and reliable hands.
Best Case Pick: Brandon Brooks OG (Miami OH) or George Iloka S (Boise State)
Even if some talented running backs and safeties are on the board for the Ravens in the third round, I don't think they'll ignore offensive line needs for any longer.
Brandon Brooks would be an ideal third-round pick considering the Ravens' needs, even though many project him as a late-second to early-third-rounder.
Brooks' massive 350 pound frame, long arms, and athleticism has caused his stock to soar, but he is still a little raw. Nonetheless, he would compete right away with Jah Reid for the starting left guard position next season, and may be able to play a little tackle if necessary as he did in college.
If the Ravens don't find an offensive lineman worth taking here, a safety like George Iloka would be a great pick as well. Iloka is more of an early third-round prospect and in a weak safety class will likely be gone here, but if available he may be tough to pass on.
Worst Case Pick: Brandon Washington OG (Miami)
It's far more likely that another guard named Brandon will be available when the Ravens pick in the third round; however, this one played at "the U" rather than "the OH."
Brandon Washington could also use some time to develop but the Ravens may not have the luxury of waiting until a later round to find a left guard.
Best Case Scenario: Joe Adams WR/KR (Arkansas) or T.Y. Hilton WR/KR (FIU)
Do the Ravens really need to draft two receivers in this year's draft?
Well to put it simply, if one of them can't help in the return game, then yes, yes they do.
If you're still not convinced, consider the needs that have already been addressed and the emphasis that John Harbaugh and company have put on making special teams upgrades for next season.
Chances are Joe Adams will be gone by this pick, and T.Y. Hilton could very well be also. But if either one of them does make it to this point, the Ravens will strongly consider pulling the trigger.
Both Adams and Hilton could contribute immediately on special teams as a kick returner while being groomed as a potential slot receiver to take over for Anquan Boldin once he retires or departs from Baltimore.
There probably will be more value as inside linebacker and safety in Round 5.
Worst Case Scenario: Chris Rainey KR (Florida) or Trenton Robinson FS (Michigan State)
If the Ravens are set on taking a kick returner in the mid-rounds Chris Rainey should be available here, but he doesn't bring much additional value as he is too small to play running back at the NFL level.
Trenton Robinson could add some depth at free safety and may be able to become an eventual starter, but there should be some developmental guys with bigger upside available in Round 5.
Best Case Scenario: Miles Burris LB (San Diego State)
I've had Miles Burris in most of my Ravens mocks since they worked him out as an inside linebacker at his pro day.
Burris seems to be able to do everything: set the edge, rush the passer, cover tight ends and blow up screen passes.
If he does indeed end up a Raven, it will be very interesting to see where they plan on using him within the 3-4 defense.
Best Case Scenario: Janzen Jackson FS (McNeese State)
The Ravens typically aren't afraid to take prospects with "character issues" and develop them in a strong locker room.
Janzen Jackson could be one of those prospects.
Out of high school, Jackson was highly recruited, and turned down LSU for Tennessee. But after a fall-out with the coaching staff, Jackson was dismissed from the team and transferred to McNeese State.
He also has had substance abuse problems and was arrested for armed robbery.
However, despite the concerns, Jackson is a natural athlete who plays the ball very well and has seen time at cornerback.
Aside from Ed Reed, the Ravens lack safeties who can cover well, which is definitely Jackson's strong suit.
He has tremendous upside and with the right guidance could be a potential successor for Ed Reed. He could just as easily be a train wreck, but again, his talent may warrant taking a shot on him in the fourth or fifth round, especially in such a weak safety class.
Best Case Scenario: Gino Gradkowski OG/C (Delaware)
If the Ravens pass on Peter Konz in Round 1, they'll surely be looking for a developmental center at some point in this draft.
Gino Gradkowski may not be on many draftnik's "top centers" list, but he's certainly on the radar of NFL GM's, including the Ravens' according to Aaron Wilson of The Carroll County Times.
Gino Gradkowski, the younger brother of NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, had this to say in an interview with Aaron Wilson about the possibility of being drafted by the Ravens:
"Hopefully, I wind up on a team with a veteran guy. Baltimore would be a great situation for me. To learn behind Matt Birk would be awesome and I'd be able to pick his brain."
Gradkowski also put emphasis on his natural athleticism and versatility, as he played all three inside positions during his time at Delaware.
Best Case Scenario: Nick Jean-Baptiste NT (Baylor)
After letting Brandon McKinney sign with the Colts in free agency, the Ravens have absolutely no depth behind Terrance Cody at nose tackle.
Baptiste could be gone by this pick, but in our best case scenario mock he isn't and the Ravens snatch him up.
At 335 pounds, Baptiste has the size and strength to hold down the nose tackle spot, but he's not going to be much more than a space eater. He isn't very agile or athletic and can't really rush the passer.