The 2012 NFL scouting combine wrapped up on Tuesday, which means that many draftniks throughout the blogosphere promptly released their revised mock drafts on Wednesday. The looming free agent period, which starts in two weeks, will shake up these mock drafts even more. But in the meantime, here is a quick roundup of the NFL prospects the Ravens are being linked to in these post-combine first round projections.
--- Peter Schrager, FOX Sports: Peter Konz, C/G, Wisconsin. “With Ben Grubbs’ future unknown, the Ravens could have a bit of work to do on their offensive line this offseason. I like Konz, the anchor of a very good Wisconsin offensive line that straight up mauled opponents throughout the 2011 season. Though the Ravens defense isn’t getting any younger, they’d be wise to draft Konz, another young, talented offensive lineman to protect Joe Flacco.”
Vensel’s take: Schrager is not alone in this projection. More than half of the mock drafts I found had the Ravens picking Konz at No. 29, which made it a challenge to find other players for this roundup. But Konz would make sense, even if Matt Birk is with the Ravens in 2012. They aren’t the kind of franchise that waits until a need is pressing; they are always a step ahead and would be wise to draft a center early in April’s draft.
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--- Chad Reuter, NFL Network: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama. “The Ravens need depth at linebacker, and Upshaw could fill multiple roles in that scheme because of his strength in the run game. He showed average speed and flexibility in Indianapolis, but teams will review the tape again when they return to their office and see that he’s just a solid football player.”
Vensel’s take: I would be surprised if Upshaw lasts until the Ravens’ pick, but if so, I would imagine they would give him some serious consideration. Jarret Johnson, 30, is a free agent and Sergio Kindle hasn’t lived up to expectations. Plus, like Johnson, Upshaw played at Alabama, the alma mater of Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome.
--- Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State. “Bryant McKinnie did a decent job at left tackle this year, but he'll be 33 in September, and with his skills eroding, he can't be counted on much longer. Despite a sub-par showing at the Combine, Mike Adams is arguably the top prospect on the board, so Baltimore could select him to be the long-term bookend tackle across from Michael Oher.”
Vensel’s take: If the Ravens can get a long-term left tackle at No. 29, they should jump at the opportunity as McKinnie is a stopgap solution and Oher has settled in at right tackle. Adams disappointed in spandex at the scouting combine, especially on the bench press, which could cause his stock to drop. But the Ravens have always relied on game tape and scouting to tell a player’s story, so if they think Adams can play, they will take him.
--- Steve Wyche, NFL.com: Mark Barron, SS, Alabama. “He's is a big hitter at 213 pounds, but he also has some coverage skills, which are needed in this division featuring so many receiving threats with the Steelers and Bengals.”
Vensel’s take: The Ravens usually stick with the best-player-available philosophy and the obvious Alabama ties are here, too, but if they are going to take a safety early in the draft, it should be a free safety as Ed Reed turns 34 this year. Still, if Barron -- seen by many as a top-20 talent -- drops, the Ravens could break his fall.