2014 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Sleepers The Baltimore Ravens Should Target
5 Late-Round Sleepers The Baltimore Ravens Should Target
After winning the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens had a rather disappointing follow up season in 2013. They ended up making a late-season push, but ultimately, the Ravens failed to make the playoffs in a rather mediocre AFC Conference. Of course, after losing so many veterans from its championship team, a significant drop off should have been expected from the Ravens in 2013. Baltimore started its rebuilding effort in last year’s draft, and they’re going to have to continue it in the 2014 NFL Draft in order to keep up in a rather competitive AFC North division.
Baltimore’s list of offseason needs appears to be rather extensive, and includes needs on both sides of the ball. On offense, the Ravens could use another wide receiver, as the absence of Anquan Boldin was felt throughout the 2013 season, while the offensive line needs a lot of work as well. Defensively, Baltimore needs to keep getting younger, especially in the front-seven where there could be some holes to fill. Obviously, the Ravens will look to fill their most pressing needs early in the draft, but this is a year in which Baltimore must make efficient use of all of its draft picks.
In order for this to be a successful draft for the Ravens, they have to find quality players in every round, and that means identifying late-round draft picks that end up playing like first and second round picks. Here are five late-round sleepers that fit Baltimore’s needs that they should be targeting in this year’s draft.
5. WR Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest
The Ravens definitely need some help at wide receiver, and while they have some decent size at that position, a slot receiver such as Michael Campanaro could give the Baltimore offense an added dimension. He doesn’t have elite speed or athleticism, but Campanaro has great hands, knows how to find the soft spot in the defense, and had a productive 2013 season despite being the focal point of every opposing defense.
4. LB Ronald Powell, Florida
Ronald Powell won’t come off the board until day three of the draft because of injuries he suffered in college, but he was one of the best players in the country coming out of high school, so there’s no doubt that he has talent and can become a productive pro if he can stay healthy. He has great pass-rushing skills, and even though there’s some risk in picking him, he could bring great value if he can stay healthy and become productive.
3. DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida
There’s plenty of risk by taking Aaron Lynch, but he may be the best athlete of any player that will be selected on the third day of the NFL Draft. With his size, he should fit at defensive end in Baltimore’s 3-4 defense, and if he can find some motivation, he can be an impact player.
2. S Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt
The Ravens could use a little depth in the secondary, and while he’s not the most physically intimidating or gifted player, Kenny Ladler brings a lot of intelligence to the table and is great at diagnosing plays. He has enough speed to cover ground in the secondary and he had a productive college career in the SEC, so he should be ready to contribute in the NFL. Ladler is also someone who can contribute on special teams, which is something teams should be looking for on the final day of the draft.
1. OT Matt Patchan, Boston College
Baltimore may need to draft multiple offensive tackles in this year’s draft, which means they may be looking for one in the late rounds, where Matt Patchan would make a great fit for them. Injuries hampered him throughout his time in college and hurt his stock, but he has the size of an NFL offensive tackle and possesses the athleticism necessary to pass protect against NFL edge rushers. He may not be trustworthy on the blind side, but he has the ability to be a solid right tackle in the NFL.
Former Cardinals' Welter Deserves NFL Coaching Gig
Jen Welter's tenure with the Arizona Cardinals has finished as her internship has come to an end. Find out why she deserves a full-time job. Read More