Thursday, April 26, 2012
Are Ravens targeting WR Stephen Hill?
By Jamison Hensley
There's been a strong buzz recently that the Baltimore Ravens are considering Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill with the 29th overall pick.
This is a little surprising because Hill is a unpolished prospect who needs time to develop as a route runner. But the Ravens appear intrigued by his downfield playmaking ability. And, as you saw last season with Torrey Smith, quarterback Joe Flacco can get the ball downfield when receivers can outrun or outleap defenders.
As I've mentioned before, the Ravens could be thinking ahead at wide receiver. This could be Anquan Boldin's final season with the Ravens. If that's the case, Baltimore could groom Hill for a season before asking him to become a starter.
I believe the Ravens are interested in Hill, but I think Alabama linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw are rated higher on Baltimore' board. Hightower would be the eventual replacement for Ray Lewis, and Upshaw would fill the void left by Jarret Johnson.
Of course, the Ravens' interest in Hill could be a moot point. Unless the Ravens trade up to the No. 20 spot (held by the Titans), they have to hope Hill makes it past two division rivals -- the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 21 and the Cleveland Browns at No. 22.
Here are some notes and numbers for the Ravens heading into the draft, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:
- Total picks: 8 (29th, 60th, 91st, 130th, 164th, 169th, 198th, 236th)
- Of the 31 draft picks under coach John Harbaugh, 19 have been offensive players
- Ravens selected guard Ben Grubbs with 29th pick in 2007 (only time drafting 29th)
- All eight 2011 draft picks appeared in at least 3 games for team last season
- Multiple fifth-round picks for fourth consecutive season