Full Baltimore Ravens Scouting Guide for 2013 East-West Shrine Game
This year's game features a lot of great talent, with multiple players looking likely to go in the mid-to-high rounds.
The Baltimore Ravens will be sure to examine all the talent closely, but a couple of positions stand out.
Expect them to take a close look at the linebackers, where they will need to both replace Ray Lewis and look to increase the pass rush as well.
The defensive and offensive lines will also be of interest to the Ravens, specifically the left tackle and nose tackle positions. The interior offensive line could also be worth checking out.
Finally, the secondary and wide receiver positions could also be of interest. You can never have too many players at either position.
Of course, the Ravens will take note of any great performances at the game. Here are the players you should be checking out.
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There is no way that the Ravens will draft a quarterback to actually play quarterback. That means guys like Matt Scott and Colby Cameron are going to be roundly ignored by the Ravens' scouts, as they feel secure with Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor.
One guy the team might have interest in is Collin Klein, who might have the ability to play receiver in the NFL.
Klein has ideal size for the position at 6'5" and 226 pounds, and his speed and athleticism should be good enough for a possession receiver. He would also bring some solid power after the catch as well.
Obviously, the transition would be difficult, and seeing Klein play quarterback will not alleviate those concerns. At the very least, though, the Ravens will want to see if Klein has the athleticism to make the switch.
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Like the quarterback position, the Ravens will not be looking too deeply at running backs. With Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce forming a potent one-two punch and Anthony Allen and Bobby Rainey waiting in the wings, the Ravens are set.
Of the running backs at the game, Ray Graham from Pittsburgh is the best of the bunch. He has a similar skillset to Ray Rice, and he could be an upgrade over Allen and Rainey.
The Ravens have other, more pressing needs, though.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
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The Ravens could look for some developmental talent at both tight end and wide receiver. Anquan Boldin has just one more year on his contract, while Dennis Pitta is a restricted free agent this offseason. While neither position is pressing, both could be worth a look.
The top prospect at either position is Joseph Fauria of UCLA. The talented tight end has excellent size at 6'7" and 255 pounds, which he uses well as a blocker and as a goal-line target. His athleticism is also top-notch. He could be worth a look as a specialized goal-line and blocking tight end with upside.
The other tight ends at the game will include Lucas Reed from New Mexico and Chris Pantale of Boston College. Both are big, talented blockers and goal-line targets. The Ravens could look at them as fliers in the later rounds.
I don't see the Ravens taking too hard of a look at the receivers in this game. They have plenty of developmental talent, and that's all this group offers. I expect the Ravens to wait until the Senior Bowl and Combine to start seriously looking at receivers.
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There are no real stand-out talents along the offensive line in the Shrine Game, but there are plenty of depth guys who will ultimately end up on NFL rosters.
For my money, the top guy for the Ravens to look at is South Carolina Center T.J. Johnson. Johnson has the requisite size and strength, and he helped pave the way for one of the nation's better running attacks. With Matt Birk on the verge of retirement, Johnson could provide some competition for Gino Gradkowski.
Tanner Hawkinson, a tackle from Kansas, could also be worth a look. He needs to develop some size and strength for the NFL, but he has the requisite footspeed and quickness. He could be a nice developmental prospect who could be a starter down the road.
Keep an eye on this group in general for standouts. They're all very close, so a standout performance at the game and in practices could give a few of these guys a big boost.
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In terms of physical size, this is an imposing group of defensive linemen.
Defensive tackle William Campbell of Michigan is an interesting prospect. He has ideal size to spell Haloti Ngata or Pernell McPhee, and he is quick enough to play outside.
Perhaps the top prospect in terms of draft stock is South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor. Taylor is an enormous prospect at 6'8", and he has Calais Campbell-type potential. He is very raw, however, so he'll need time to develop in the NFL.
Finally, Travis Johnson out of San Jose State has the ideal skill set to be a 3-4 edge rusher. His 13 sacks this year put him near the top of the nation, as he was a true difference maker for a surprising Spartan team. If he displays some burst, he could be worth a look.
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Two linebackers lead the pack this year in terms of draft-value.
A.J. Klein, a linebacker from Iowa State, is the kind of high-intensity player that the Ravens typically love. He would immediately be a valued special teams contributor and possibly a developmental starter at inside linebacker.
The real crown-jewel of this group, though, is Gerald Hodges from Penn State.
Hodges was a leader for a fantastic defensive unit at Penn State. Considering the circumstances surrounding the Nittany Lions this season, Hodges deserves a lot of credit for helping this team grow.
On the field, Hodges is just as impressive. The linebacker had 109 tackles and 8.5 tackles for a loss on the season, helping key the Nittany Lions' run defense. He is also solid in pass coverage, with excellent athleticism. That would be important for the Ravens, who have seen Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain struggle in coverage this season.
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The Ravens need help at both cornerback and safety, and thankfully this position will be deep on Saturday.
Micah Hyde of Iowa and Terry Hawthorne of Illinois stand out as the top talents in the secondary, as both have the ability to play corner or safety.
The two Big Ten corners have the size for safety and the speed for corner, which would make them a nice fit for the Ravens. Both are worth a look on Saturday.