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7 Players the Baltimore Ravens Should Target in 2013 NFL Draft

Sean FryeFeatured Columnist IIINovember 1, 2016

7 Players the Baltimore Ravens Should Target in 2013 NFL Draft

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    The Baltimore Ravens are the defending champions going into the NFL draft, but the team has a surprising number of holes to fill. Players have left the team either due to free agency or retirement. 

    Currently, the Ravens could use quality prospects at the wide receiver, offensive tackle, middle linebacker and both safety positions.

    The Ravens have 12 picks in the draft, but none of them are above the 31st in each round. The team will draft 32nd in the first round. 

    The draft is filled with viable prospects who could fill the team's needs. Here is a look at some of the players that Baltimore could target in April. 

Tavon Austin, WR

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    Tavon Austin, the standout wide receiver from West Virginia, is considered a mid-to-late first-round pick in most mock drafts. If Austin does indeed fall all the way down to the 32nd pick, the Ravens shouldn't hesitate to draft him. 

    Austin, who is a native of Baltimore and would fill seats, is arguably the top receiver prospect in the draft. He ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the combine and was the top receiver for Geno Smith at West Virginia. In his senior campaign, Austin caught 114 balls for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

    It is unlikely that Austin will be available for the Ravens to draft. But if the Ravens decided to trade up or if Austin falls, he could be a terrific replacement for Anquan Boldin. Boldin was traded this offseason to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a sixth-round pick. 

Kenny Vaccaro, S

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    If the Ravens are looking to replace Ed Reed in the draft early, they need to look no further than Kenny Vaccaro. The standout safety from Texas is projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick, so he may be just out of the reach of the Ravens. 

    At Texas, Vaccaro swarmed to the ball like no other. He averaged over seven tackles per game in 2012 in a defense that struggled throughout the season. He also broke up seven passes and had two interceptions. 

    His stature is what stands out in the eyes of scouts though. He stands at 6'0" and weighs 214 pounds. His wingspan is also impressive at just over 77 inches. 

    Vaccaro will likely be off the board by the time the Ravens select. But if he is still there and Tavon Austin has been taken, Vaccaro would be an excellent pick for the Ravens. 

Kevin Minter, LB

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    It's not easy to dominate on a defense that is loaded with NFL talent. But that's just what LSU linebacker Kevin Minter did last season. The junior earned first-team All-SEC honors and was on many All-American lists at the end of the season.

    Statistically, Minter was dominant throughout the year. He totaled 130 tackles, including 15 for a loss and four sacks. He also got an interception. 

    Minter is also a physical presence, standing at 6'0" and 246 pounds. 

    When Ray Lewis retired, he left a gaping hole at the middle linebacker spot. If Minter is still there in the first round for the Ravens, he could become the heir apparent to Lewis. 

Manti Te'o, LB

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    Manti Te'o could also be solid pick for the Ravens in the first or second round. Te'o's draft stock has fluctuated, but it is presumed that he will go somewhere in the first two rounds. 

    The biggest concern for the Ravens regarding Te'o has to be his offseason. Not only did he deal with the "catfish" hoax, but he also posted below-average numbers at the NFL combine and his pro day. His career at Notre Dame also didn't end well, as Alabama went to town on the Irish defense. 

    However, Te'o's body of work last season was unmatched by anybody in the country. The Heisman runner-up recorded 113 tackles and also had seven interceptions last year. 

    Kevin Minter is certainly a better overall prospect than Te'o in this year's draft. But if he falls off the board before Baltimore can draft him, Te'o may be a good option. If the Ravens go another route with their first pick and if Te'o is available late in the second, the Ravens could take him there as well. 

Robert Woods, WR

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    While Marquis Lee grabbed most of the receiving headlines out of USC, Robert Woods quietly had a successful junior campaign last season. 

    With Matt Barkley tossing him the ball, Woods hauled in 76 passes for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 6'0" receiver also posted solid numbers at the combine, which included a 4.51 40-yard dash. 

    With the Ravens needing a receiver after losing Anquan Boldin, Woods could be the guy to fill that hole. He certainly would be a quality second or third-round pick for the Ravens. 

Tony Jefferson, S

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    One of the more polarizing prospects this offseason has been Tony Jefferson out of Oklahoma. While he put up impressive numbers last season, questions about his character have arisen. 

    Last season, the junior defensive back tallied 119 total tackles and two interceptions. He is also a physical threat, standing at 5'11" and weighing in at 213 pounds. 

    But in late January, rumors began circulating that coaches at Oklahoma had little respect for Jefferson. The coaches at Oklahoma reportedly told NFL scouts about a lack of work ethic from Jefferson. It's never a good thing when a prospect's own coaches might be telling scouts to look elsewhere. 

    However, being a successful safety in the Big 12 isn't easy in the quarterback-friendly league. If the Ravens are willing to take a risk on his attitude, Jefferson could be a steal in the middle rounds of the draft. 

Tanner Hawkinson, OT

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    A workhorse for the Kansas Jayhawks, offensive tackle Tanner Hawkinson never missed a start in the four years he played in Lawrence. 

    Hawkinson earned second-team All-Big 12 honors last season despite his team only winning one game. His team's lack of success on the field may be why Hawkinson is being overlooked by pro scouts. 

    He has impressive size for an offensive lineman, standing at 6'5" and weighing 298 pounds. He also is fast for a lineman, running a 5.07 40-yard dash and a 4.51 second 20-yard shuttle time. 

    With the Ravens losing their starting left tackle, Bryant McKinnie, from last season, the team will certainly look to fill that position in the draft. Hawkinson could be the late-round sleeper that the Ravens might be looking for to fill that need. 

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