We are now up to pick No. 31 in the 2013 Niners Nation NFL mock draft. Later this morning I will put together a post with a first round recap, along with the justifications for each pick.
Explanation: The Ravens will try and shore up their defense and receiving core through this years draft. There are a lot of different directions the Ravens can go with #32 overall but I think they use this pick on Matt Elam.
Elam is a guy who can fill the shoes of Bernard Pollard and make a presence on the field from day 1. With the signing of Michael Huff to play FS, Elam is able to transition to SS for the Ravens where he is projected to be better suited in the NFL. He played in a very diverse defense at Florida lining up all over the field. His ability to make open field tackles and put his body behind the blow will help a Ravens defense which ranked 20th in rushing last year in the NFL.
He may need to work on his man coverage, but his ability to jump short routes while in zone coverage and provide the occasional safety blitz is a good fit for Baltimore. Not to mention, this is a guy with good football knowledge, leadership skills (FL Team Captain as a Junior), and someone who shows passion for the game. These are the sort of intangibles the Harbaughs look for in their prospects. Look for Elam's name to be called last on Day 1.
Other Possible Picks: Eric Reid, Manti Teo
Trevor Woods: The Ravens are replacing Bernard Pollard here with another safety who hits very hard. Elam would actually be an improvement over Pollard in the coverage department, even though Elam has some work to do there as well. Safety makes a lot of sense here, but they could also draft a receiver to replace Anquan Boldin. I do not see the Ravens taking Te'o.
Nick Chiamardas: The Ravens will be looking to fill quite a few wholes in this draft after losing S Ed Reed, S Bernard Pollard, MLB Ray Lewis, OLB Paul Kruger, and WR Anquan Boldin. I've been adamantly against Elam being a first rounder for some time. However, with signing of rangy Micheal Huff at FS, Elam would be a nice compliment at SS for the Ravens. He is, perhaps, the most physical safety in the draft and arguably the biggest hitter. He would immediately become the physical presence on defense lost with the departure of Pollard an Lewis. He'd be a tremendous asset against he run and over the middle. He'll still need to work on deep coverages but may not be asked to do much of that in the revamped Ravens defense.
Niners Nation Mock Draft, Round 1
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah [Explanation]
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Oakland Raiders -- Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon [Explanation]
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M [Explanation]
- Detroit Lions -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan [Explanation]
- Cleveland Browns -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama [Explanation]
- Arizona Cardinals -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas [Explanation]
- Buffalo Bills -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU [Explanation]
- New York Jets -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama [Explanation]
- Tennessee Titans -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida [Explanation]
- San Diego Chargers -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma [Explanation]
- Miami Dolphins -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina [Explanation]
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State [Explanation]
- Carolina Panthers -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- New Orleans Saints -- Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri [Explanation]
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama [Explanation]
- New York Giants -- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia [Explanation]
- Chicago Bears -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia [Explanation]
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State [Explanation]
- St. Louis Rams -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Keenan Allen, WR, Cal [Explanation]
- Indianapolis Colts -- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA [Explanation]
- Minnesota Vikings -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington [Explanation]
- Green Bay Packers -- Damontre Moore, DE/OLB [Explanation]
- Houston Texans -- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee [Explanation]
- Denver Broncos -- Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State [Explanation]
- New England Patriots -- Margus Hunt, DE, Southern Methodist [Explanation]
- Atlanta Falcons -- Tank Carradine, DE/OLB, Florida State [Explanation]
- San Francisco 49ers -- Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International [Explanation]
- Baltimore Ravens -- Matt Elam, S, Florida