Baltimore Ravens: Top Five Needs For the 2010 NFL Draft
After their elimination from the playoffs by the Indianapolis Colts, the Baltimore Ravens head into the off season needing to fill some depth at certain positions.
Being a playmaker or two from being a true elite contender, the Ravens will focus to the draft, where these needs are usually filled.
Baltimore had one of the better draft classes, with players such as Michael Oher and Lardarius Webb making a name for themselves.
What do the Ravens need to focus on in the draft to help them in the present, along with the future?
Number 5: Middle Linebacker
It's an unfortunate thing to hear if your a Ravens fan, but sooner rather than later Ray Lewis is going to hang up the cleats.
Replacing a future hall of famer will not occur overnight, and the staff needs to realize that. There is always depth at the line backer position after the first round, which can maybe help in the Ravens process.
A few years of being mentored by Ray Lewis can go a long way for the future of this franchise.
Number 4: Free Safety
Just like the Ray Lewis situation, the likelyhood of Ed Reed retiring in a year two looks to soon be a reality.
With a current young and inexperienced secondary, the Ravens need to draft an acrobatic safety who can have some of the skills Reed has possesed his entire career as a Raven.
With the top two impact safeties to be taken much before the Ravens pick, another gem may have to be found in the later rounds.
The overall secondary is the biggest weakness on this Ravens team, and it starts with the corners. Off to a disappointing start at first, the tandom of Dominique Foxworth and Lardarius Webb finished strong.
However, Webb tore his ACL in mid-December, and the possiblity of him being ready for opening day is still up in the air.
Dominique Foxworth played up to his potential of being the top starter, but more depth is needed around him.
Ozzie Newsome drafted Webb in the mid-rounds of last year's draft, so don't be surprised if another stud is found at that period of time.
2. Defensive End
The defensive line finally became an issue this past season. Being one of the older groups in the NFL, the production showed as they were near the bottom of the league in sacks.
Haloti Ngata had a great season, making it to his first Pro Bowl. However, Suggs doesn't seem to be the most dominant defensive end, while Trevor Pryce and Kelly Gregg are quickly aging.
Last season, Paul Kruger was drafted in the second round, but injuries plagued his season. A young, athletic defensive end will need to find his home in Baltimore, for the defense's sake.
Number 1: Wide Receiver
There were questions months before the off season as to what the biggest need was on this Ravens team. The receiver position was always considered a weakness, but was thought of not being the biggest issue on this team.
However, after it's playoff exit, I think the front office has finally realized the receiver is the biggest need. Derrick Mason is continuing to age, while the other receivers just can't step up their game enough to be a threat down the field.
This offense is not a feared one, but with a receiver selected, Joe Flacco may see much more help in the future.
With 3-4 receivers possibly being taken in the first round, look for the Ravens to either stay at their spot and take the best left, or a trade can possibly be made to make a move on a receiver.