By Matt Vensel
7:30 AM PST, March 7, 2011
In the weeks leading up to April's NFL draft, I will highlight four players at each position whom the Ravens could target at different stages in the draft -- from their top pick to their Mr. Irrelevant. In this post, I will focus on safeties.
Remember, I'm not saying the Ravens will take a safety with their first-round pick. I'm just giving you a player whom they might consider if they decided to go that route.
The Ravens are expected to look closely at this year's crop of safeties with Ed Reed in his 30s and Dawan Landry a pending free agent. Here are four safeties they could have in their sights:
Round 1: Rahim Moore, UCLA. Moore solidified his status as the draft's top safety during the combine, and he is expected to come off the board late in the first round or early in the second. That means he should be there if the Ravens want to select him as an heir apparent to Ed Reed, whom Moore considers a mentor. And like Reed, Moore appears to have the ballhawk gene. He picked off 10 passes in his junior year and 14 total in his college career, and scouts rave about his instincts, range and closing speed.
Rounds 2-3: DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson. McDaniel, who made 75 tackles and picked off four passes in his senior year, is an intriguing option because of his versatility. At 6-foot, 217 pounds, he has the size to play strong safety and he can deliver the big hit every once in a while. He also has the speed and athleticism to play free safety. Character is a major concern with McDaniel, though.
Rounds 4-5: Tyler Sash, Iowa. Expected to be a mid-round pick, this underclassman could go as early as the second round or still be around when the Ravens pick in the fourth. A reliable tackler who also excelled in zone coverage, Sash had a productive three-year stint at Iowa, making 216 tackles and picking off 13 passes. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash at the combine -- pretty good for a guy who is six feet tall and 210 pounds.
Rounds 6-7: Jeron Johnson, Boise State. Despite running the fastest forty time among safeties at the combine, Johnson projects as a strong safety in the NFL and should be selected in the later rounds of the draft. He put up impressive stats at Boise State, making 325 tackles, forcing three fumbles and intercepting eight passes in his four seasons in the WAC.
OK, your turn: Which player, if any, should the Ravens target at this position during draft weekend?
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun