The Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens are certainly not without need in next month’s NFL Draft. The talking heads have surmised that the purple and black will try to solidify the middle on the defense. The positions of need being tackle, safety and linebacker. I am sure Ozzie Newsome and the front office will address all these needs, but I believe the most pressing is inside linebacker. With the departure of Ray Lewis, serious injury to Jameel McClain and the contract situation with Dannell Ellerbe, the Ravens at the very least will need to add depth at this position.
This year’s linebacker class is certainly highlighted by Notre Dame stand-out and temporary media darling, Manti Te’o. Due to some off field issues that don’t need mentioning and a bevy of missed tackled in the National Championship, Manti Te’o might be dropping down to the Ravens’ neighborhood. Alec Ogletree (some suspicion as to whether he will play inside or outside) is also a supreme talent who’s been in news for the wrong reasons. All the pundits have the same players in the top three of the ILB class, but the order in which they are picked is certainly up for debate. Te’o and Ogletree have been profiled above, so let’s look at Kevin Minter, the last of the top three ILBs.
Kevin Minter, LSU (late 1st round): Kevin Minter has spent a lot of his career in the shadows of Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu and Barkevious Mingo, but he is now one of the LSU defensive stallwarts in the spotlight. By all accounts, Minter is a top three inside linebacker in this draft alongside Te’o and Alec Ogletree. He has good size at 6’ 2" 245 pounds, which is plenty big to play the position at the next level. He was a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award, which commemorates the nation’s top collegiate linebacker, and the leader of the nation’s 8th ranked defense. Minter was voted as a captain by his teammates and started all 14 games this year including the Chick-Fil-A Bowl appearance against Clemson. His season was highlighted by two unbelievable performances against Texas A&M and Florida. LSU’s defense, led by Minter, held Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel to his worst offensive game of the entire year, where he did not account for a single touchdown. Minter had 12 tackles, a sack and an interception. In "The Swamp" versus Florida, Minter recorded, a ridiculous, 20 tackles, 17 of them being solos. Minter’s final season at LSU culminated in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, where he posted 19 tackles and later was named the LSU Tiger’s Most Valuable Player for the season. Kevin Minter has the accolades, talent and leadership ability to be a great asset on the Ravens for years to come.
Ravens Could Find Depth at Linebacker in the Draft
Baltimore Beat Down | Feb 24