Feeling the draft: Four ILBs the Ravens could target

March 28, 2011|By Matt Vensel

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 inside linebackers.

Remember, I'm not saying the Ravens will take an inside linebacker with their first-round pick. I'm just giving you a player whom they might consider if they decided to go that route and select a player in April’s draft to be Ray Lewis’ understudy. Here are four inside linebackers they could have in their sights:

Round 1: Martez Wilson, Illinois. Wilson starred at the combine, posting the fastest 40-yard dash time among linebackers, and he is expected to be selected somewhere late in the first round or early in the second. Speed and versatility are two of his biggest assets, and depending on who you ask, he is projected as an inside linebacker or an edge rusher in a 3-4 defense. Both are needs for the Ravens heading into 2011 and beyond.

Rounds 2-3: Casey Matthews, Oregon. Matthews, the brother of Packers All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews, met with the Ravens at the Senior Bowl and at the scouting combine. Casey Matthews didn’t wow at his workouts, but he was a productive player at Oregon, notching 229 tackles in his four-year career. He is viewed as a mid-round prospect, but he will go sooner than that because of his surname.

Rounds 4-5: Colin McCarthy, Miami. The Ravens turned to “The U” for a sidekick for Lewis three years ago when they drafted Tavares Gooden, but he hasn’t been durable enough to lock down a starting spot. Might they turn to another Hurricanes linebacker to groom for the future? A special-teams standout as a freshman who worked his way to a strong college career, McCarthy is a pretty good athlete with heart and great instincts.

Rounds 6-7: Alex Wujciak, Maryland. The hard-working leader of the Maryland defense, Wujciak has limitations athletically but he has an excellent motor, good size and solid instincts. He won’t be a star in the NFL, but he could be a valuable role player and contributor on special teams at the next level.

OK, your turn: Which player, if any, should the Ravens target at this position during draft weekend?

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