Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is one of the best in the league when it comes to the draft and owes a lot of his success to the time-honored tradition of picking the best player available despite the team's needs. The club seems to be a contender year after year thanks to a constant influx of talent, and the stacked 2014 NFL Draft represents a big opportunity for the team to find the right pieces that get them back to the playoffs.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah is on record saying Balitmore has needs along the offensive line and at safety that they'll want to address in the draft if they can. Another position that team officials have acknowledged they will be targeting in the draft is at running back.
"The Ravens are still expected to select at least one, possibly two running backs in this draft," NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said on "NFL Total Access". "That is a decision they made before, I'm told, Ray Rice's incident."
Rice's legal issues are still pending and the team has no clue how the league office will handle the matter despite his recent not guilty plea to assaulting his fiancée. In addition to bringing in a back who can compete with backup Bernard Pierce, Newsome likely heads to New York City this week armed with a plan to get an additional middle round pick that he can use to draft another tailback as insurance for Rice's return.
The team holds the 17th overall pick and NFL.com mock drafts believe the Ravens could be in prime position to snatch the draft's second-ranked safety in Louisville's Calvin Pryor. Newsome might not stand pat at 17 however and may use the first rounder as leverage. For teams looking to get a premiere wide receiver, the Ravens are in a perfect spot in the first round to attract offers with a position just ahead of the wideout-needy New York Jets.
"We've already gotten some calls about teams wanting to move up," Newsome said Wednesday.
While it's doubtful the Ravens would be able to pick up an additional second round pick to target someone such as LSU running back Jeremy Hill, a bonus third or fourth rounder would allow the team to be in a position to draft local star Terrance West from Towson.
West doesn't have the top end speed that other backs in the class do but he's a tough runner between the tackles who was dangerous in the red zone. Most consider the FCS workhorse to be a late second or early third day pick and could be just what the team is looking for at the running back position.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.