Guest post by Syreeta Hubbard . You can follow her on Twitter @theNFLchick.
With the start of the NFL Draft less than 24 hours away, everyone’s getting out their final mock drafts for all 32 teams. While mock drafts are insightful to read and fun to create (if you’re a college football fanatic and/or a draft geek), they hardly ever pan out.
Instead of compiling a list of the 12 players the Ravens could choose with their draft picks (which I expect to be pointless, because I envision a trade or two sometime this weekend), I decided to write about 4 players of need that I’d love to see donning the purple and black this September:
Kevin Minter, LB – LSU
Forget about Manti Te’o. I think after watching head coach John Harbaugh’s body language at the NFL Combine, it’s safe to say he’s not coming to Baltimore. Just take a look at this:
Aside from that disappointment, Kevin Minter is the LB I want on my roster. The junior from LSU has been an intricate part of Les Miles’ stout defense. With 130 total tackles in 2012, he doubled his number from just a year ago (61 tackles in 2011). Playing against the fastest and the best players in the country, Minter has excelled at his position and would fit in nicely in Charm City.
If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I love my Florida Gators almost as much as I love my Ravens. I’ve watched Elam in all 13 games last season. Elam is the real deal and would be a great way to heal the pain of losing Ed Reed this off-season, and here’s why.
In 2012, Elam averaged 18.3 return yards in his 4 INTs. Elam is also a great special teams player who could contribute if the Ravens decided to leave Jacoby Jones to kickoffs only. Elam can also tackle very well. He’d start immediately if drafted by the Ravens.
Menelik Watson, OT- FSU
Normally, I’d look to the Big 10 for offensive lineman since they’re the best in the college football business. But as I was talking to my good friend, KZ of FansFantasy, we both agree that Watson would be a good sleeper pick for the Ravens, preferably in the 2nd round or later.
The problem is, would he be there when all is said and done?
Watson has a ton of upside at 6’5″, long arms and solid weight which gives him the potential to be great. The reason why he’s not a 1st round pick, at least to me, is his lack of experience.
Watson has only played one full year at the tackle position in the FCS level. He’s extremely raw and I find him to be a work in progress, but if he’s still on the board when the Ravens pick in Rounds two and three, it would be a miracle.
When people talk about Clemson wide receivers, Sammy Watkins is usually the first person that comes to mind. But Hopkins has been productive from the moment he stepped onto the college football field.
Hopkins’ junior year was nothing short of great, with over 1,400 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. In the Chick-Fil-A Bowl against big, bad LSU, Hopkins had 13 receptions for 191 and 2 scores.
Hopkins likes the middle and isn’t afraid of contact. He isn’t the fastest guy in the draft, but his body size is just right to make hard catches and protect the ball against his frame. Sounds familiar?? Possible Boldin replacement? Could definitely be if he bulked up just a little.
This could be a great pickup for the Ravens, two-to-three seasons from now as he develops.