According to Kevin Byrne, The Ravens VP of Public and Community Relations, Ozzie Newsome has narrowed his first round view to a group of just 9 players. 9 players doesnt sound like very many but it is actually more than they were looking at with pick 26 last year. Now that we know the number of players, we can take an educated guess at the group. These are in no particular order.
1. Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama- would be a day one starter at OLB(at least a situational player), replaces Jarret Johnson, one of my top 15 players in the draft
2. Donta Hightower, ILB, Alabama- Eventual replacement for Ray Lewis, would challenge Jameel McClain for the ILB starting spot and Paul Kruger for the Sam LB starting spot.
3. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech- Long term replacement for Anquan Boldin, would be no.3 WR from day one and take over as a starter when Boldin leaves, the most physically gifted player on this list and maybe in the entire draft.
4. Cordy Glenn, OG/OT, Georgia- Starts at LG from day one on, some beleive he could be a LT with a few years at LG first.
5. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin- Would challenge Reid for the LG spot, long term answer for Birks retirement, has major injury trouble
6. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina- Surprised? dont be. would be long term solution for Boldin, has great height and jumping ability, can be a deep threat despite lacking Elite Speed.
7. Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise St.- The Media was late to catch on but McClellin has been a first rounder for months, probably wont make it mast New England and Green Bay if he even makes it that far.
8. Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin – Immediate Starter at LG, he is a 10 year starter and is a pure road grader in the running game. Many teams have been working him out at Center as well.
9. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford- could start at LG right away but long term would replace Bryant McKinney at LT or Oher at RT if Oher goes back to playing LT.
Some Notable exceptions
Mark Barron: wont make it past 13
Kendall Wright: to simular to Torrey Smith, passing attack needs diversity.
Dontari Poe: will be long gone and might not have good enough tape for Ozzie and co.
Chandler Jones: Word on the street is that if he lasts into the 20s he will NOT make it past the Browns at 22, not a great scheme fit
Dre Kirkpatrick: would have been my next pick, he is the one i struggled the most to leave off my list.
Some of the guys on my list are second round graded players, but Ozzie mentioned that he would be pretty surprised if at least 4-5 of his guys were not available at 29 which makes me think he has some players graded higher than the rest of the league has them(Alshon and Zeitler).
Do you have a list of 9 of your own guys? let me know!.
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Tags: Alshon Jeffery Baltimore Ravens Courtney Upshaw Donta Hightower Dontari Poe Draft Eric DeCosta Gordy Glenn Jonathan Martin Kendall Wright Kevin Zeitler Mark Barron NFL NFL Draft Ozzie Newsome Peter Konz Ravens Shea McClellin Stephen Hill