With the 35th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected Courtney Upshaw, an outside linebacker from Alabama. Upshaw, who's 6-foot-1 but weighs 273 pounds, was a key cog for the unstoppable force that was the Crimson Tide defense last year. He's ranked as the top outside linebacker and 11th player overall by Mocking the Draft.
Here's what the good people at Mocking the Draft had to say about him:
Pass rush: Upshaw gets low coming off the line of scrimmage. As a pass rusher, Upshaw gets most of his pressure standing up cutting around the corner. Shows a strong rip move to work to the inside. Is better, though, using a bull rush to close the pocket. Difficult to block. Possesses a good burst off the line of scrimmage, but doesn't have an elite first step. Has a nice variety of moves. Often lined up on the weak side and didn't have to deal with extra blocking from a tight end.
Pursuit: Relentless. When Upshaw gets held up on blocks, he doesn't stop on the play. He's always moving his hands or legs to close on the ball. Is a fundamentally sound tackler who uses good technique and has long arms. Sinks his hips and fires through the ball carrier. Has experience playing on special teams.
Final word: If there is an NFL team looking for the next LaMarr Woodley, they have it in Upshaw. For a 3-4 team, Upshaw could make an immediate impact on three downs. He's a powerful pass rusher who is hard to block for any period of time. As a senior, Upshaw had 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He often came up big in Alabama's biggest games, eating defensive MVP honors in the national title game against LSU. A 4-3 team will probably look at Upshaw as an end, a position he's being used at during Senior Bowl practices. He may not have the mobility required in a 4-3 linebacker.
This was the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft for the Ravens. They traded away their first-round pick.