Ravens could grab a CB in the 1st

Although we won't know whom the Ravens will take with their 1st round pick until April 20th, a defensive player is be a good bet. The Ravens have needs at the RT, CB, LB, S, RB, WR, DE, and NT positions coming into the 2002 NFL draft. However, the 2 positions that stick out like a sore thumb are RT and CB. The Ravens currently have no one on the roster that can start at either position.

Jonathan Ogden has been the team's only 1st round selection at the OT position since 1996, and it doesn't appear that the ravens will buck that trend with this year's 1st round pick.


"I think any position on defense could be a benefit to us," said Phil Savage, the Ravens' director of college scouting. "Safeties and linebackers traditionally taken in the 20s and early 30s have been more of a safer pick than an offensive lineman. A lot of times offensive linemen get bumped in the tail end of the first round and really are not qualified to be rated that high."


CB is also a need the Ravens will look to address in the early rounds, preferably in the 1st. The team made a strong attempt to bring back Duane Starks, but he ended up signing to a long-term deal with the Arizona Cardinals.


Lito Sheppard (Florida) and Mike Rumph (Miami) are the 2 best CB prospects that could be available when the Ravens make their selection in the 1st round. Both players are also scheduled to visit with the Ravens this week.


Sheppard is the better prospect of the two. He is rated on most draft boards as the 3rd best CB in this year's draft, and is one of the better pure cover corners available. 


While "[Sheppard] didn't get as many balls thrown his way because he had six interceptions last year," said Phil Savage, the Ravens' director of college scouting. "He's a fluid athlete. He's not the hitter Duane Starks was but is bigger and a little more muscular. He always seemed to do something with the ball when he intercepted it."


That "something" is the reason for Sheppard being held in such a high regard. Like Starks, he's a serious playmaker with the ball in his hands. Sheppard has the ability to take an interception to the house or become a big time punt returner at the next level.  His lack of concentration can be a problem at times, and similar to Starks, he will take his chances in coverage.  


Rumph has the ideal measurables you look for in a CB. His listed height is at 6'1 and he has weighed in at around 200pds. Rumph is a CB that can jam WRs at the LOS and his long extension will make it hard for QBs to throw over him. He's solid against the run and has good speed for a man his size.


However, Rumph isn't nearly as fluid in coverage as Sheppard is. He is similar to CB Bobby Taylor from the Philadelphia Eagles, although Rumph is a more physical player.


No matter which CB the Ravens could potentially select first, that player will have to become a starter right away.  

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