I apologize to all of you for not writing more recently. However, I know you will all understand when I explain that it took me an inordinately long time to really even speak about football after the Steelers lost it all, much less invest the time to write about the Ravens following the season. Obviously, the news today about the NFLPA's decision to de-certify is very disappointing and count me among those who believe we won't have a full season in 2011. Even so, we can hope—and right now, the only thing that can be done is to get ready for the draft.
I admit it—I really do not care about which players get picked in the fifth round. I (over)scrutinize the guys at the top of draft boards because that generates more buzz. And to be honest, after you get to the third round or so, it is just difficult to project when certain players will go. One team might have linebacker X rated halfway through the third, while another team has that same guy rated early in the fifth. I haven't been making mock drafts for more than about three or maybe four years, tops, but even my best year, I only had precise "hits" on nine players in the first round. And my second round in that same draft? A whopping two guys exactly correct.
I'll almost certainly be mocking as we get closer to the draft, but I thought I'd shake things up and discuss a few top-tier prospects who the Ravens might decide to target. You know, guys who won't be there unless the Ravens move up to get them. The hype monsters.
As any good Ravens fan knows, it'd be really out of Ozzie Newsome's character to move way up in the draft for any player. In recent years, though, with Baltimore's window to win the second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history closing, Newsome has been more active in the trade market, perhaps the flashiest move being last year's acquisition of Anquan Boldin from the Arizona Cardinals.
I would not expect a similar move in the draft, and if I have learned anything from being a Ravens fan over the years, it is to trust Ozzie's drafting strategy and his draft board. But still...it's the middle of March, and right now, I get to play GM, so...here are five guys I would look at.