The Baltimore Ravens came off of their Super Bowl win with a plan to get younger, releasing and not re-signing a number of their long-term veterans. Though the rebuilding process began in free agency, it will continue in earnest when this month's NFL draft begins.
With so many positions to fill and the scrutiny closer than ever, there's a lot of ground to cover when it comes to the Ravens' pre-draft process. To make it easier to keep track of everything, we've provided you this one-stop shop for every Ravens draft and trade rumor, an updated seven-round mock draft and a look at some of the team's biggest draft-day storylines.
OT D.J. Fluker is among the players the Ravens have worked out.
April 22: Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times says that USC wide receiver Robert Woods is among the players draft experts believe the Ravens could be interested in for their first-round draft pick.
April 22: Jeff Zrebiec and Monique Jones of the Baltimore Sun reports that recent free agent addition Rolando McClain was arrested this weekend in Alabama, which could impact the Baltimore Ravens' draft decisions.
April 20: Sam Farmer of the Baltimore Sun compiled all first-round draft picks predicted by beat writers for all 32 NFL teams; his colleague, Aaron Wilson, says the Ravens will select LSU interior linebacker Kevin Minter.
April 17: Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun compiled the latest first-round draft picks for the Baltimore Ravens made by the biggest draft experts around. Popular names include linebacker Manti Te'o and wide receiver Keenan Allen.
April 17: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun says that the likelihood is high that the Ravens draft a wide receiver this year but very low that they nab another tight end. Two receivers they could be taking a closer look at include Tennessee's Justin Hunter and Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins.
Aprili 16: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, assistant GM Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh each have no reservations about inside linebacker draft prospect Manti Te'o, considering that Te'o's issues have nothing to do with off-field concerns or arrests.
April 11: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun says that the Ravens met with Florida safety Matt Elam at the Scouting Combine.
April 10: Garrett Downing of Ravens.com says that free agent inside linebacker Rolando McClain will be getting a one-year deal from the team; if McClain projects to be a starter (he believes he'll be taking over Ray Lewis' job) that buys the Ravens significant breathing room in the first three rounds of the draft.
April 9: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Ravens met with Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and have been in touch with him since then. Hopkins is considered to be a late first-round prospect.
April 6: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Ravens worked out Ohio State defensive end/outside linebacker Nate Williams.
April 4: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Baltimore Ravens hosted around a dozen players for a private pro day workout. Those invited included West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin and Virginia Tech wide receiver Corey Fuller. All those who attended are players who hail from the Baltimore area.
April 3: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Ravens worked out Mississippi State defensive lineman DeWayne Cherrington.
April 3: Matt Zenitz of the Carroll County Times says that ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr., does not believe that inside linebacker Manti Te'o will still be on the board by the time the Ravens pick at the end of the first round.
April 2: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Ravens worked out Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker.
Jonathan Cyprien could fill the hole at strong safety.
The Baltimore Ravens have roster holes to fill, but with 12 picks in this year's draft, they should be able to find enough quality players.
In addition to their full seven rounds' worth of picks, they also have an additional sixth-rounder for trading wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers, as well one compensatory pick in rounds four through seven.
Here's my latest Ravens mock draft (updated April 15).
Round 1, Pick 32: S Matt Elam, Florida
Round 2, Pick 32 (62 overall): CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut
Round 3, Pick 32 (94 overall): ILB Kiko Alonso, Oregon
Round 4, Pick 32 (129 overall): WR Aaron Mellette, Elon
Round 4, Pick 33 (130 overall, compensatory): OG/T Justin Pugh, Syracuse
Round 5, Pick 32 (165 overall): DE/OLB Michael Buchanan, Illinois
Round 5, Pick 35 (168 overall, compensatory): S Josh Evans, Florida
Round 6, Pick 31 (199 overall, from 49ers): DT/DE Damion Square, Alabama
Round 6, Pick 32 (200 overall): CB Steve Williams, California
Round 6, Pick 35 (203 overall, compensatory): ILB Cornelius Washington, Georgia
Round 7, Pick 32 (238 overall): WR Marcus Sales, Syracuse
Round 7, Pick 41 (247 overall, compensatory): DT T.J. Barnes, Georgia Tech
The Anquan Boldin trade is probably the only one they make prior to the draft.
The Ravens aren't likely to pursue any trades for players prior to the draft. They have 12 picks and certainly don't particularly need more, unless they come in earlier rounds, which will mean they'd have to give up a valuable player in return.
The one option is that the Ravens trade some of their own draft picks in a package in order to get more early-round picks. If that happens, however, it won't be until the draft has begun.
Kevin Minter may be the Ravens' first-round choice.
This may be one of the more unpredictable first rounds in recent NFL draft history, which means that the Ravens' 32nd overall pick could go one of a number of ways.
Interior linebacker seems to be a good direction and a smart use of a late first-round pick, but that raises the question of who they could take. A majority of draft experts have mocked an inside linebacker to Baltimore with that pick, with the options including Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, Georgia's Alec Ogletree and LSU's Kevin Minter. ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr., however, does not think that Te'o will be available at 32 and says that Minter would be the best use of the pick.
There are other positions the Ravens need to address, however, and they could reasonably do so in the first round. They include safety—perhaps to pick up Florida's Matt Elam or Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien—as well as wide receiver, with possibilities including California's Keenan Allen or, according to ESPN's Todd McShay, Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech.
Depending on what the Ravens choose to do about free agent Bryant McKinnie, they may also be interested in an offensive tackle in the first round. The issue, however, is that the draft's top prospects at the position will be off the board perhaps within the first 10 picks.
They'd have to find someone who has a first-round grade at an incredible value—which may not be possible. In that case, they'll probably push the position into later rounds and grab a right tackle at that point.
The Baltimore Ravens need to find a starter to take over for Anquan Boldin, whom the team traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick. While that player may already be on the roster—they have Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams, David Reed and Deonte Thompson all behind Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones—those four players combined for just 411 snaps in 2012, with Doss leading the way with 223.
Though one of those four could ultimately prove himself worthy of Boldin's old starting spot once training camps get underway, it would best-serve the Ravens' immediate needs to draft a receiver early on and get him ready to compete for the job.
Among the top draft experts, two (CBS Sports' Rob Rang and NFL.com's Charles Davis) recently have the Ravens selecting California's Keenan Allen in the first round, despite recent reports that Allen may have failed a drug test at the Scouting Combine.
Regardless of that concern, Allen still projects to be a first-round selection. He had 61 receptions for 737 yards and six touchdowns last year before missing his final three games with a knee injury. He has great size and speed, but most importantly, he's very physical, a trait for which Boldin was best-known.
However, the Ravens have other first-round needs that they may be more willing to address other than receiver. Allen won't be available when they pick in the second round, but that doesn't mean they cannot find someone talented enough to win a starting job.
USC's Robert Woods may intrigue the Ravens in the second round. Though his 2012 production was affected by an ankle injury—he had just 846 yards on his 76 receptions but made up for it will 11 receiving touchdowns—he certainly possesses great route-running and hands as well as speed, which all make up for his lack of physicality.
If the Ravens want to push receiver back even further, they could go after Elon's Aaron Mellette anywhere between Rounds 3 and 5 depending on how strong the demand for the position is around the league. Mellette has the physical style of play that echoes Boldin and is faster than he first seems.
Mellette had 97 catches for 1,398 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012, but it must be remembered that he played at a smaller school and didn't take on the kind of top-tier talent that Allen and Woods faced. His production may have been elevated by this somewhat, but it doesn't take away from his impressive accomplishments over the past two seasons.
In fact, Mellette could be a huge bargain for the Ravens—a mid-rounder who turns into an instant starter is just the thing all teams are on the lookout for in the draft.