2014 NFL Draft Sleepers Who'd Fit Perfectly with Baltimore Ravens
In the weeks leading up to the NFL draft, much of the focus is on who will go in the first round and which direction all 32 teams will go with their picks.
The Baltimore Ravens are no different, as they have several needs that must be addressed early in the draft. Fortunately, they've got plenty of ammunition to do so.
Because they've got an extra compensatory pick in the third round, the Ravens have four top-100 picks.
But there are also players the team could nab in the latter rounds who are flying under the radar and could make a significant impact for the Ravens.
Here is a look at three sleepers who could make an impact in Baltimore.
Antone Exum, CB/S, Virginia Tech
The Ravens would like to boost their cornerback and safety depth, so why not do it with one player?
Virginia Tech's Antone Exum was projected to be one of the top cornerbacks in college football coming into the 2013 season, but he tore his ACL in the offseason while playing in a pickup basketball game.
Exum missed the first seven games of 2013 while returning from ACL surgery and then missed the last three with an ankle injury. Though his final year of college was marred with injuries, Exum is a quality player capable of making an impact at the NFL level.
Exum has nice size (6'0", 213 lbs) and versatility after playing both safety and corner for the Hokies, but injuries are the main concern NFL teams have with him. Mike Huguenin of NFL.com writes:
Exum's draft stock has taken a big hit because of the injuries. At one time, he was seen as a potential first-round pick; now he looks more like a mid-round pick. Still, when healthy in 2012, he was one of the most physical corners in the nation.
Exum doesn't have elite speed, but he is fast enough to be effective in press coverage. At times, he was too aggressive in 2012; the flipside is that his aggressiveness was one reason he was so effective.
If Exum is back to his old self, he could be a great value pick in the middle rounds.
Exum is a physical corner who can handle bigger NFL receivers, but his lack of speed and quickness have teams worried he'll get burned too often if he can't jam his man at the line of scrimmage.
That's why some, including Ian Wharton of B/R, believe he could play safety at the NFL level. The Ravens need help at both of those positions, which is why Exum should be someone they could consider late in the draft.
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
Cornerback is a big need of the Ravens', and Division II Lindenwood's Pierre Desir has been garnering some attention. He drew rave reviews from scouts during the practices leading up to the Shrine Game, and that earned him a late invite to the Senior Bowl.
Desir also impressed scouts that week with his length and ability to cover bigger-bodied receivers expected to get drafted, per NFL.com's Mike Huguenin.
Desir didn’t get much attention coming out of high school as a senior and ended up accepting a scholarship offer from Washburn in Topeka, Kan.
He would go on to lead the MIAA conference in interceptions with seven and pass deflections with 13. Desir also finished seventh in forced fumbles and received first-team All-MIAA and second-team All-American honors.
Desir left Washburn before the 2011 season and didn't get back onto the field until 2012 when he transferred to Lindenwood.
He got right back to making an impact, grabbing nine interceptions in 2012 to again lead the MIAA.
Desir also tied the NCAA Division II lead that year in pass deflections with 18. He finished the 2013 season with 33 tackles, four interceptions and 12 pass deflections.
Desir is still a name you don't often hear mentioned among the top cornerback prospects in this draft, but he's someone to watch for on Day 2 or 3 for the Ravens.
Towson RB Terrance West
West was also among several local draft prospects who were invited to work out for the Ravens at their training complex, and he admitted it was a great experience, via Wilson:
It was amazing, I felt like I was home and that I was wanted, ... Everybody already knew who I was when I got there and was excited to meet me. It felt pretty good, like a dream come true.
It's safe to say that West is a prospect drawing a lot of interest from the Ravens, and he would be a good fit with them.
West, who rushed for 4,585 career yards and 86 touchdowns, could sit on the bench next year while Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce get the majority of snaps.
But both of those players dealt with injuries in 2014, and Rice even missed one game. West could provide the Ravens insurance in the event Rice and/or Pierce are injured again in 2014.
West is someone the Ravens should look at on Day 3 of the draft, and while he's not getting the same recognition as other running back prospects this year, West could be a great fit with the Ravens.
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