Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens lost two key inside linebackers this offseason when Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe left in free agency. While they signed free agent Rolando McClain, his $700,000 2013 salary and recent arrest don't necessarily mean he'll remain on the roster once the season starts. As such, it's a position the Ravens must address, and they could potentially do so in the first round.
If so, then LSU's Kevin Minter is an inside linebacker they'll be considering. A standout on a defense full of them, Minter had 130 tackles, 15 for a loss, four sacks, five pass breakups, a forced fumble and an interception in 2012.
In terms of size and speed, Minter is a perfect NFL inside linebacker. He's fast and physical and rarely misses tackles. He can keep up with tight ends and slot receivers as well as make significant plays against the run—which is exactly what the Ravens need. When a player can stand out, as Minter did, on an all-around good defense like LSU's, you know he'll play well professionally.
There are very few drawbacks to Minter's game, and he seems to be a perfect use of the Ravens' first-round pick. Though he's coverage-capable, he didn't do much of it in college so that may be an area in which he starts slow this year. However, among the inside linebackers the Ravens could take in the first round, none seem to fit Baltimore as well as Minter.