The top prospects: Alabama's Mark Barron is the top strong safety prospect in the draft. He has good size and was stout against the run for the Crimson Tide. Notre Dame's Harrison Smith projects as a safety who can do a little bit of everything. He is fast enough with good instincts and cover skills. There doesn’t appear to be a consensus top free safety in April’s draft, but that could change once someone steps up at the combine.
- NFL scouting combine preview: outside linebackers
- NFL scouting combine preview: cornerbacks
- NFL scouting combine preview: inside linebackers
- Texans 25, Ravens 13
- Mike Preston grades the Ravens' 25-13 loss to the Texans
- 2014 Ravens cheerleaders
See more photos »
- Baltimore Ravens
- Mark Barron
See more topics »
Grading the class: Other than Barron, there doesn’t appear to be any other elite prospects who could go in the first round. There are some solid strong safety prospects, but no free safeties stand out heading into the combine. Given the underwhelming top-end talent and a lack of depth, I’d grade the safeties as a D-plus.
Fitting the Ravens: The Ravens expect Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed to play in 2012, so finding a replacement isn’t an immediate need. But it’s something they should soon take care of given Reed’s injuries and his past statements about retirement. Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski are free agents, so if they don’t return, the Ravens will have to replace them, but they could choose to do it in free agency opposed to doing it in this year's draft.