With the thirty-first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama.
Next we address the 32nd pick in the draft - The Baltimore Ravens are on the clock.
#32 Baltimore Ravens. Needs - S, C, DT. The Baltimore Ravens, thanks to the stellar play of QB Joe Flacco, his re-shuffled O-line, and excellent red zone defense, ended their season with a victory in Superbowl XLVII. The Ravens were underdogs in their final three playoff games. In fact, the Ravens became the first NFL team to win back to back road playoff games while being a double digit underdog in each game.
Baltimore was unspectacular, and wildly inconsistent on offense during the regular season. At home, Flacco and Co. were hard to handle, averaging 32 points per game, but on the road they were a different team, averaging only 18 per game. The end result was a middle of the pack offense that finished 15th in passing, 11th in rushing, and 16th overall. Fittingly, the Ravens finished just a notch above the 49ers in scoring, averaging just under 25 points per game on the season. Baltimore gave up a disappointing 38 sacks during the regular season, which is what caused them to re-shuffle their O-line heading into the postseason. It was an unusual and risky move that solidified that unit and helped the Ravens claim their 2nd Lombardi trophy. It serves as an excellent example of how important the play of the O-line is to the overall success of an NFL team.
The once formidable Baltimore defense began to show it's age in 2012. 20th vs. the run, 17th vs. the pass, 15th in takeaways, and 15th in sacks. Not the numbers usually associated with the Ravens defense. But, by playing the best red zone defense in the NFL last season, the Ravens managed to finish a respectable 12th in points allowed, giving up just over 21 per game.
So what do the Champs have to do to stay on top? In case you missed it, MLB Ray Lewis is retiring. His presumed replacement Dannell Ellerbe is a free agent. Ed Reed will be 35 this year and is also a free agent. NT Ma'ake Kemoeatu, who has outplayed the highly touted "Mount" Cody, will be 34 and is a free agent. The team leader in sacks, OLB Paul Kruger is a free agent. LT Bryant McKinnie will be 34 and, you guessed it, is a free agent. Major contributors Ed Dickson (TE) and Cary Williams (CB) are also free agents. Center Matt Birk will be 37 in May and could retire. Oh, and Superbowl MVP and franchise QB Joe Flacco is a free agent who is asking for $23 million per. And to top it all off, the Ravens are significantly over the 2013 salary cap. Wow. So who do they pick to close out the 1st round?
Picks so far:
#1 Kansas City Chiefs - Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
#2 Jacksonville Jaguars - Bjoern Warner, DE, FSU
#3 Oakland Raiders - Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
#4 Philadelphia Eagles - Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
#5 Detroit Lions - Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
#6 Cleveland Browns - Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
#7 Arizona Cardinals - Geno Smith, QB, WVU
#8 Buffalo Bills - Mike Glennon, QB, NC St.
#9 New York Jets - Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
#10 Tennessee Titans - Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio St.
#11 San Diego Chargers - Eric Fisher, OT, CMU
#12 Miami Dolphins - Keenan Allen, WR, California
#13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi St.
#14 Carolina Panthers - Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
#15 New Orleans Saints - John Jenkins, NT, Georgia
#16 St. Louis Rams - Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
#17 Pittsburgh Steelers - Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
#18 Dallas Cowboys - Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
#19 New York Giants - Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
#20 Chicago Bears - Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
#21 Cincinnati Bengals - Kevin Minter, MLB, LSU
#22 St. Louis Rams - Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
#23 Minnesota Vikings - Terrance Williams, WR,Baylor
#24 Indianapolis Colts - Dion Jordan, DE/OLB,Oregon
#25 Seattle Seahawks - Sam Montgomery, DE,LSU
#26 Green Bay Packers - Johnathan Cooper, G, UNC
#27 Houston Texans - DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
#28 Denver Broncos - Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
#29 New England Patriots - Tavon Austin, WR, WVU
#30 Atlanta Falcons - Shariff Floyd, DT, Florida
#31 San Francisco 49ers - Jesse Williams, NT, Alabama