NFL Draft 2011: 7 Players the Baltimore Ravens May Select in Round 1
With all of the talent in the upcoming 2011 NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens must decide who they think will be available when their 26th overall selection rolls around. The Ravens, like every other team, have areas of need that they will look to address through the draft.
The Ravens have made many successful selections in the drafts of previous years. The most notable of those selections was in the Ravens' first NFL draft in 1996, when the Ravens used their 26th overall pick to select a linebacker from the University of Miami by the name of Ray Lewis.
Lewis has become arguably the greatest middle linebacker in the history of football. He was selected with the exact same pick the Ravens will have in the 2011 draft. That goes to show that great players aren't always selected in the top half of the first round of the draft, and it is certain that the Ravens have an excellent chance of finding an outstanding player with their 26th overall pick.
1. Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Jimmy Smith is quite a controversial player. While he has the talent to be a top-15 pick, his various issues off the field, as well as his attitude issues, have caused him to slide down draft boards and have even caused some teams to remove him from their draft boards altogether.
Smith is exactly the kind of corner the Ravens need. He is big—6'2" and 211 lbs.—and he is physical, excelling in man coverage.
The Ravens shouldn't be too concerned with Smith's attitude issues. Locker room leaders like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs would all be good influences on Smith and should be able to keep him on the right track.
With all but one of the Ravens' corners under 6'0", the Ravens would be wise to add a big, physical corner like Smith.
Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas
2. Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
Maryland product Torrey Smith is another controversial prospect, but not for his attitude. Smith is regarded by some as the third-best WR in the 2011 draft, behind A.J. Green and Julio Jones, while others believe that Smith would be a reach in the first and should be avoided until the second round.
Smith has speed, which the Ravens could use to stretch the field across from Anquan Boldin or Derrick Mason. He has a solid build—6'1" and 201 lbs.—and good hands.
The Ravens would be better off going after a receiver later on in the draft in my opinion, but if they really like Torrey Smith, they will have to use their 26th overall pick on him, because I highly doubt he will be around for long if they skip over him.
Titus Young, WR, Boise State
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
3. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
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With Jared Gaither unlikely to return, the Ravens need to solidify their offensive line, which struggled without Gaither in 2010. Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi would fit their needs perfectly.
I like Gabe Carimi. I think he is one of the top three offensive tackles in the 2011 draft, if not the best OT in the draft. Yet many believe he will slide down the draft board until the end of the first round.
If Carimi fell to the Ravens, Baltimore would be wise to take him. Carimi could develop into a long-term starter at OT for the Ravens across from Michael Oher.
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
4. Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
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Cameron Heyward is one of many talented defensive linemen in the 2011 draft. Heyward plays at 3-4 DE, which is exactly what the Ravens could use.
Heyward has great size—6'5" and 294 lbs.—as well as good athleticism and instincts. Heyward would be perfect across from Haloti Ngata, and he would be a great addition to the Ravens' strong defensive line.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
5. Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
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As if the Ravens-Steelers rivalry isn't strong enough, imagine if the Ravens drafted Mike Pouncey. Mike Pouncey and current Steelers center Maurkice are twins. If the Ravens drafted Mike, the twins would be facing each other twice a year and would be a part of the greatest rivalry in the NFL.
Mike Pouncey isn't as highly regarded as his brother was last year, but he is still considered one of the best offensive guard prospects in the draft.
While the Ravens don't need a guard, they could certainly use a center with Matt Birk contemplating retirement after the 2011 season. Mike Pouncey would be a great addition to the Ravens offensive line, and it would be really neat to have one of the Pouncey twins on each side of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.
Ben Ijalana, OG, Villanova
Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
6. Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia
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Justin Houston is a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid. His abilities allow him to perform effectively with his hand in the dirt or dropping back.
Houston would be a great pickup for the Ravens. The combo of Houston and Terrell Suggs would strike some fear in the hearts of opposing quarterbacks.
Suggs would have fewer double-teams to worry about, and the Ravens pass rush would get an instant boost with the addition of Justin Houston.
Akeem Ayers, DE/OLB, UCLA
Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona
7. Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
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Rahim Moore is the highest-regarded safety in the draft. Moore is a ballhawk, like Ed Reed, who has mentored Moore recently through pre-draft workouts.
Moore would be an excellent addition for the Ravens, especially if Reed retires within the next few years. Moore could have some time to learn under Reed before stepping into his spot when he retires.
Moore has a knack for finding the ball, recording 14 interceptions throughout his career with the UCLA Bruins. Moore would be an excellent acquisition for the Ravens.
Aaron Williams, CB/S, Texas
Who Will They Select?
The Ravens have many options at 26th overall. Cornerback, wide receiver, offensive tackle, defensive end, linebacker, safety—the list goes on and on.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has a knack for finding talent, regardless of which picks he has to use to find the talent. I cannot wait to see which future Baltimore Ravens star the Ravens select in the 2011 NFL draft.