The Ravens' biggest need on the roster is, as most have projected through the entire draft process, inside linebacker.
The team just signed Jake Ryan, and has L.J. Fort on the roster already, which gives the team two players at the position with starting history. After that, though, the depth falls off. Or, at the very least, is unproven.
Baltimore’s backups are Chris Board and Otaro Alaka, both of whom have never started an NFL game. Last season, the Ravens relied heavily upon safety Chuck Clark in the box as a de facto starting inside linebacker. Odds are, the team doesn’t want a repeat of that in 2020.
And, in perhaps the two most popular selections for the Ravens are LSU linebacker Patrick Queen and Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. But if those two aren’t on the board, or the Ravens decide to pass on the talented linebackers, here are a few players that could make sense.
Zack Baun, Wisconsin
Baun was previously listed on the edge players portion of this series, but he’s versatile enough to where he would fill two needs.
Baun, who made 63 and 76 tackles, respectively, in the last two seasons as a Badger, would likely be an inside linebacker on first and second downs while moving down to the edge rusher position in passing situations.
At 6-foot-2, 238 pounds, Baun could fill a big hole at inside linebacker.
Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
Brooks is one of the more athletic inside linebackers in the class and could fill the rangy sideline-to-sideline player look the Ravens are searching for.
At 6-feet and 240 pounds, Brooks ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and is one of the more explosive linebackers available to the Ravens in the draft.
He tallied 108 tackles in 2019 and was a four-year starter for the Red Raiders. In terms of stylistic fit, Brooks could be the best option in the mid-rounds.
Troy Dye, Oregon
Dye was a four-year starter at Oregon and could fill some depth at the inside linebacker spot.
At 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, he’s a more-typical modern-day linebacker and fits the prototype for what teams are looking for in a linebacker.
He made 84 tackles in 2019 and was named to the Second Team All-Pac 12 in three straight seasons and could certainly be a useful rotational piece for the Ravens’ linebacking corps.
Davion Taylor, Colorado
If the Ravens want athleticism, Taylor is the guy.
At 6-feet tall and 228 pounds, Taylor ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, emphasizing his status as one of the most athletic players in the class.
He’s just a two-year starter and made 69 tackles in 2019, so he could still use some development in terms of becoming a well-rounded linebacker. But if the Ravens look for speed in the later rounds, Taylor makes a lot of sense as a player who can come in and immediately contribute.
Malik Harrison, Ohio State
Harrison fits the mold of an old-school linebacker and is physical at the point of attack — all aspects of a linebacker the Ravens desire and require. Still, Harrison could help the Ravens’ run defense on first and second downs despite not being best suited in space.
While he won’t be asked to cover much in the NFL, he made a name for himself at Ohio State and made 75 tackles, which led the team and was named First Team All-Big Ten in 2019.
At 6-foot-2, 247 pounds, he doesn’t fit the athletic prototype of a linebacker in today’s game but is still an NFL starter with a strong nose for finding the football.
In terms of defending the run, there aren’t many players better than Harrison is — and the Ravens can have him in the second or third round.
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