Ravens Mock Draft: Rounds 1-7

Dev Panchwagh tries to forecast which players the Baltimore Ravens will ultimately draft on April 26th.

Needs going into the Draft: Besides the tight end and inside linebacker positions, the Ravens could use depth or starters at every other position on the team. The four biggest positions to fill are quarterback, defensive line (either a top defensive end or nose tackle), wide receiver and right tackle.


Draft Picks: The Ravens have a total of 11 picks. The club has the tenth pick overall in round one and a top 8-to-12 pick within each of the other six rounds of the draft. In addition, the Ravens have four compensatory picks--  an extra fourth, fifth and two seventh round selections.


First Round Pick: Byron Leftwich, QB, Marshall


(Ravens trade their first round draft pick, which is the tenth pick overall, along with a third round choice, seventh round choice, and future fourth-round pick to Minnesota, for the Vikings first round pick: the seventh overall selection).


Strengths: Leftwich is the most accurate passer out of the 2003 draft class. He scans the field well and goes through his reads quickly. Has a rifle for an arm and can place any pass where he so chooses. Leftwich passes the ball so his receivers can catch it while in stride. The 6'6 QB plays with tremendous confidence and poise, which rubs off on his teammates. Is cool under pressure and has strong leadership qualities.  


Weaknesses: Although he weighs 230 pounds or so and is a load in the open field, Leftwich is not a nimble player. Leftwich's footwork is somewhat choppy and his passes lose accuracy when he throws on the run. Durability is a concern, considering that he has broken his leg twice. The Marshall quarterback can also have too much confidence in his arm, throwing passes in extremely tight and dangerous spots on the field.


Overall: The only reason that Leftwich's stock dropped, is because he suffered a broken leg during the season and some scouts are concerned about his ability to move outside of the pocket. However, as a pure passer, there haven't been many quarterbacks to come along that are as polished as Leftwich is. Simply put: He can make all of the throws and his decision making skills are precise.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: If he becomes a Raven, Leftwich, would have to sit this year out and bide his time as the backup behind Chris Redman. That said, Leftwich would be pegged as the franchise quarterback and depending upon his learning curve, could assume the starting position by 2004.



Second Round: George Foster, OT, Georgia


Strengths: Foster has the size, at 6'5, 320-pounds, to anchor either the right or left tackle positions in the NFL. Is a quick player who can pull and trap as a run blocker. Also has the feet to slide and glide in space. Has strong upper body strength and will be able to handle the bull rush. If Foster gets his hands on opposing defensive ends, they are usually stalemated.


Weaknesses: Doesn't always get tremendous leverage, because he will play too upright at times. Foster will need to improve his technique. Overall, he is still learning the ropes both as a run blocker and pass protector. Due to suffering a number of injuries throughout his career, he has only started 11 games for Georgia.


Overall: Foster is a first round talent but may slide to the second, because he has major durability questions to answer. That said; he is a strong player who won't lose many one-on-one battles at the next level, if he can get his hands on opposing ends. Foster can handle edge and bull rushers alike, and he is a versatile run blocker. He's got the complete package you would look for out of an offensive tackle.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: Clearly, with the signing of Orlando Brown, the Ravens aren't looking to start any rookie at the right tackle position. If Foster is indeed drafted by Baltimore, he would probably be the main backup at the right tackle position and take over Brown's starting spot in 2004.



Fourth Round: Kenny King, DE/DT, Alabama


Strengths: At 6'2, 280 pounds, King has the frame to add weight and at his size, should fit in perfectly as a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme. King's strongest attribute is his elite quickness. He is refining his pass rushing skills and has the power and speed to rush from the five technique position. Is a physical player who has the versatility of playing inside or outside in either defensive fronts.

Weaknesses: King still needs to improve his ability to hold up at the point of attack. He's not that strong in the lower body, yet, which leads to him losing some leverage battles. He will need to improve his run/pass recognition if he is to thrive in the 3-4 set. King is not the sharpest player in the world, although he tries hard.


Overall: Playing in the 3-4 defense probably best suits King's game. He took a lot of abuse as the nose tackle in Alabama's scheme and a lot of the weaknesses in his game can be alleviated, to some degree, by working from the five technique position. Given his tremendous quickness, he could become a force as a pass rusher.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: Compared to Leftwich and Foster, King would have a better shot at cracking the starting lineup in his first year with the team. However, it's more likely that he would start off as a wave tackle and eventually take over the starting role, opposite of Anthony Weaver.



Fourth Round (Compensatory Selection): Charles Tillman, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette


Strengths: Tillman has the ideal combination of size (6'1, 190 pounds) and speed (ran a 4.4 time in the 40) that teams crave from their cornerbacks. He can handle playing in bump and run and will jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. Tillman is a playmaker, who can leap and challenge for jump balls. He is physical and tackles well all over the field.


Weaknesses: May have trouble handling smaller, quicker receivers at the next level. Like Gary Baxter, Tillman is someone who has a tough time coming out of his backpedal and could be turned on play-action passes. His ability to play in zone coverage is questionable, as well.


Overall: Much like Ravens' corner Gary Baxter, Tillman is a versatile player who can play either the safety or corner positions in the NFL. He would better project as a CB, though. Has the speed to handle deep coverage responsibilities and recover in coverage. Although he played at a Division 1-AA school, Tillman was a playmaker who stands out.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: Tillman may start out as the team's No.5 corner, if the Ravens re-sign James Trapp after the draft. However, because Tom Knight is only under contract through this season, and Trapp is getting older, Tillman would have his chance to handle slot coverage duties in 2004. With a little time, Tillman could become a sleeper starter as well.



Fifth Round: Anthony Davis, OG, Virginia Tech


Strengths: The former left tackle for Virginia Tech, will likely make the conversion to the guard spot at the next level. Davis is versatile enough to play three positions: left tackle, guard and right tackle. Has pretty good quickness and won't get beat by quicker tackles, unless he loses his focus. Has the size and strength to become a mauler and he can pull in open space.


Weaknesses: Coaches will need to light a fire under his feet. Davis does everything leisurely and his work ethic is poor, for the most part. At times, Davis will play too high and he is slow out of his stance. Doesn't have a mean streak or play with too much emotion.


Overall: If Davis could improve his work habits and play with a better drive, he could become a solid starting guard at the next level, because he has all the physical tools you would ideally want out of that position.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: Davis would be the Ravens' most multitalented player along the offensive line, because he can play three different positions if need be. Like Foster, it's doubtful that Davis could come in and start right away, although he is a more physically gifted player than Bennie Anderson. But the coaching staff would need to monitor his intensity level, before projecting him as the starting right guard in 2004.



Fifth Round (Compensatory Selection): Quentin Griffin, RB, Oklahoma


Strengths: Griffin is at his best in the open field, where he has the juke moves and the suddenness to make defenders miss. He is cutback runner who is also surprisingly stout in the short area and has the vision to find holes. Griffin also flashed some nice pass catching skills in college, which should translate well at the next level. Although he is a pint sized player, he is good at picking up the blitz.


Weaknesses: He is very undersized, weighing in at around 195 pounds. Griffin lacks great speed and won't get a lot of separation from defensive backs in the open field. Is clearly not a back who can handle carrying the ball too many times. His strength is making people miss; not breaking tackles.


Overall: Griffin is the type of player you love to have on your team; because he does all of the intangible things well and is a hard worker. Although he's not the biggest player, Griffin should find his niche in the NFL as a backup or third down back who could double as a kick returner.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: With Lewis and Taylor firmly entrenched as the Ravens' top two running backs, Griffin would become a solid No.3 option for the team, and would become a valuable special teams contributor.



Sixth Round: Langston Moore, NT, South Carolina


Strengths: There is no need to tweak Moore's game, because he played the nose guard position at South Carolina. Once he gets into position, Moore is tough to move around, because he has a squatty build. At 6'0, 300 pounds, Moore is able to stay low and will win most leverage battles. Has the leg strength to keep moving and is just a tough player, who takes a licking and keeps on ticking.


Weaknesses: Doesn't have many pass rushing moves. Moore is a phone booth player who doesn't move around laterally. Has nice quickness, but he doesn't have much speed. Moore has worn down during his career, and he might not be able to stay on the field on a lot of snaps.


Overall: Moore is a true nose guard who plays with very good leverage and strength. This is the type of player who slips through the cracks because he doesn't fit most 4-3 schemes, but he's a perfect two-gap tackle who can anchor the middle of a 3-4 line.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: Initially, Moore would start out as the team's main backup behind Kelly Greg and Ma'ake Kemoeatu. Given some time to develop, though, Moore could supplant either player as the starting nose guard.



Seventh Round (Compensatory Selection): Aubrayo Franklin, NT, Tennessee


Strengths: His game is nearly identical to Moore's. Franklin is a two-gap tackle, who stuffs the middle of the line and plays with solid leverage. At 6'0, 285 pounds, Franklin can get nice pad level against interior lineman. He is tough to move and fights off blockers.


Weaknesses: His size is somewhat of a concern, as he will need to add another 20 pounds to his frame. Franklin doesn't have much experience as starter and he will need to work on improving his lateral movement.


Overall: Franklin is raw player who like Moore, is a very nice developmental project for the nose guard position. If he can add some bulk, Franklin could become a dependable backup nose guard in the NFL.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: Franklin would be a practice squad player for Baltimore, who would need to compete for a backup role in 2004.



Seventh Round (Compensatory Selection): Chad Lee, OLB, Louisville


Strengths: Lee is an edge rusher, with great speed (4.6) and size (6'2, 256 pounds). He is a classic tweener that will need to make a shift to the outside, in all likelihood. He has the straight line speed to turn the corner and is someone who can be a very good situational pass rusher.


Weaknesses: His coverage skills aren't honed, yet. Lee will need to learn how to drop back and use his feet to slide in coverage situations as a linebacker, and get off blocks against the run.


Overall: Whether Lee will last till the end of the seventh round is questionable, because he's an explosive edge rusher with great speed and nice potential, overall. But like many players with his size, Lee is a player without a position, so teams may not want to take a chance on him.


Short/Long Term Role with Ravens: With Cornell Brown re-signed and the possibility that Jamir Miller will be added to the roster, Lee would not be able to log much playing time in 2003. But he should make the team as a backup linebacker and would be a solid special teams contributor. If he can improve his coverage skills, Lee could become a starter down the road.

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