Ravens Draft: Q&A Matt DeLima, FF Toolbox

Q & A With Matt DeLima, FFToolbox.com 

Matt DeLima, sports writer, is here to answer some questions related to the Ravens draft. Matt joined us in March for our first segment of draft Q&A‘s and we fortunate to have him back for another round of questions.

Matt De Lima is a recognized Fantasy sports writer and blogger. He was a finalist for the 2011 College Sports Writer of the Year, an award presented by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. When he’s not busy talking in the third person, he is the editor of TheDugoutDoctors.com and contributes his Fantasy sports insight to FFToolbox.com and 4for4.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattkdelima

 PART I (Segment Two)

Q1. BGR: Do you think the Raven strategy may change some knowing they re-signed center Mat Birk?  Meaning they could draft a linebacker in round one and a center in round two or three. A young center could step into the guard position vacated by Ben Grubbs, while also learning behind veteran Birk. The last part of the equation would be, Is there a center that is worth selecting past round one?

A: Matt DeLima- “Bringing Birk back into the fold doesn’t rule out Konz or any other center in the first few rounds. Birk is at the very end of his playing days. It certainly gives Baltimore some extra time to find an adequate replacement though. There will be at least 3 QBs and 1 RB off the board by the time the Ravens pick, possibly six between the two positions. Every QB and RB that comes off the board before the Ravens pick is a good thing. That pushes guys like ILB Dont’a Hightower, OLB Courtney Upshaw and S Mark Barron further down the board. If Hightower is available, I think he’d be a great value selection. ILBs with a first round grade don’t come around often. At best there is usually one per year and they go in the Top 15. After Cal’s Mychal Kendricks, the drop off is huge at ILB which is why I like Hightower’s value if he’s there.

As far as elite centers go, they are even more rare. Naturally you can groom a OL to become a C, but that takes time. After Konz, it’s slim pickings. The next best centers are Michigan’s David Molk and Georgia’s Ben Jones. After that, it’s unlikely any other centers are even drafted. Molk and Jones are looking like 4th to 5th round selections at best. I don’t think Konz survives past the first round so it just all depends if Baltimore thinks they’d be okay if Birk were to get hurt. If they have a decent enough backup, then drafting a center can wait.”

 

Q2. BGR:  The stock of players rise and fall. It seems Peter Konz, Center, WI has fallen out of first round consideration by some analysts. What’s your take?  What has changed?

A: Matt DeLima- “This is simply a symptom of positional value. Center is one of the least valuable positions in the NFL draft. If you’re drafting a center in the first round, he better be a sure thing and Konz doesn’t quite live up to that. He’s close, but he’s not a lock.”

 

Q3. BGR: Which linebacker in the draft could be an eventual heir to Ray Lewis? And would that player make it down the board to 29?

A: Matt DeLima-  “Well, needless to say, there likely won’t be another player like Ray Lewis for a long time. That said, ILB is always a top heavy position in the draft. There are three ILBs that I feel will be drafted in the first two rounds: Luke Kuechly and the aforementioned Hightower and Kendricks. I don’t think any of those guys compare to Lewis, but Kuechly is a Top 10 prospect for a reason. He’s pretty much a can’t miss prospect. I like Hightower’s all-around game and I like Kenricks’ speed but no, there really isn’t anyone at 29 who makes sense as an ‘heir.’ 

One guy I will mention is the much-maligned Vontaze Burfict. The guy is a knucklehead but if he ever learns to play with discipline and commit to the game, he could be great. As it stands, he’s a character issue guy who has likely slide into the middle rounds.”

– Part II of this interview to follow soon! –

 

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