2012 NFL Mock Draft: Baltimore Ravens Look for Successor to Safety Ed Reed
The Baltimore Ravens' first two selections in the 2011 NFL Draft were savvy picks, grabbing a top corner in Jimmy Smith and a potential diamond in the rough in Maryland receiver Torrey Smith.
In the 2011 draft, the Ravens could have very well filled two starting positions in one to two years time.
But there are still questions to be answered.
How long can Terrell Suggs keep playing? When he departs, will the Ravens even have a pass rush, ranked 27th in sacks last season?
Where is the defensive end/outside linebacker help down the line?
And isn't longtime Ravens safety Ed Reed 32 years old? And shouldn't the Ravens do something about finding a potential replacement?
In the 2012 NFL Draft, I expect the Ravens to answer one of these questions first and foremost, and that's what to do when Reed retires.
It's almost as hard to see the Ravens without Reed as it is to see them without middle linebacker Ray Lewis. The two have been staples for the Ravens' defense for years.
But all good things must come to an end, and with the 27th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, I see the Ravens drafting Alabama safety Robert Lester as a possible replacement.
Right now, it looks like Lester, at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, could be the second safety selected in the 2012 draft, behind Miami safety Ray-Ray Armstrong.
Lester became an impact player for the Crimson Tide in 2010, displaying eye-opening straight-line speed and the instincts to project as an NFL safety down the road.
As a sophomore last season, Lester had eight interceptions, run back for a total of 108 yards. He also had 52 tackles and a sack on the year.
Given another year under his belt, Lester is shaping up to be a first-round prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft.
And the Ravens couldn't be happier, potentially not having to reach for a safety prospect.
Of course, it also doesn't hurt to have Reed teaching the youngster as he develops in the NFL.
|1. Carolina Panthers: Quinton Coples |
2. Washington Redskins: Andrew Luck
3. Denver Broncos: Matt Barkley
4. Arizona Cardinals: Matt Kalil
|17. Kansas City Chiefs: Manti Te'o|
18. New York Giants: Zach Brown
19. Jacksonville Jaguars: Vontaze Burfict
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cliff Harris
|5. Tennessee Titans: Jerel Worthy |
6. Buffalo Bills: Donte Paige-Moss
7. Seattle Seahawks: Dre Kirkpatrick
8. Cincinnati Bengals: Trent Richardson
|21. St. Louis Rams: Justin Blackmon|
22. San Diego Chargers: Keenan Robinson
23. Indianapolis Colts: Jeff Fuller
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Travis Lewis
|9. Cleveland Browns: Alshon Jeffery |
10. Minnesota Vikings: Jonathan Martin
11. San Francisco 49ers: Stephon Gilmore
12. Oakland Raiders: Janoris Jenkins
|25. New England Patriots: Andre Branch|
26. Cleveland Browns: Mike Adams
27. Baltimore Ravens: Robert Lester
28. Pittsburgh Steelers: Kelechi Osemele
|13. Miami Dolphins: Landry Jones |
14. Detroit Lions: Luke Kuechly
15. Dallas Cowboys: Jayron Hosley
16. Houston Texans: Ray-Ray Armstrong
|29. Chicago Bears: Michael Floyd|
30. New York Jets: Brandon Jenkins
31. New England Patriots: Jared Crick
32. Green Bay Packers: Chase Minnifield
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