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Team needs: Baltimore Ravens

Arizona Cardinals v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

It won’t be easy to win a second straight Super Bowl in Baltimore.  But with five consecutive playoff appearances, there’s no reason to think the Ravens won’t at least be in contention.  To have a chance at repeating as champs, however, here are the holes that the Ravens should be trying to fill on draft day.

Inside linebacker:  The retirement of Ray Lewis came as no surprise.  The defection of Dannell Ellerbe to the Dolphins did.  That makes inside linebacker a no-brainer need for the Ravens, even though no one should underestimate their ability to reload from within.  (And speaking of “no-brainer,” the recent arrest of Rolando McClain makes the need at inside linebacker even more glaring.)

Safety:  Bernard Pollard was cut.  Ed Reed jumped to the Texans.  Michael Huff represents a short-term stop-gap.  The Ravens need to find the next Ed Reed.

Tackle:  Michael Oher was drafted to become a decade-long left tackle, but he’s never been able to thrive there.  So he stays on the right side, and the Ravens look for ways to handle the left.  If Bryant McKinnie, who remains a free agent, doesn’t return, the Ravens need to find a new left tackle elsewhere.

Center:  Matt Birk has called it quits, after a stellar career.  Even if Gino Gradkowski can get it done, they Ravens need depth at the position.

Receiver:  No draft ever will provide the Ravens a player with the strength, savvy, and box-out abilities of Anquan Boldin.  But the Ravens at least should be looking for someone who could eventually fill that void.

Tight end:  While Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson can get it done for now, neither is under contract beyond 2013.  (Technically, neither is under contract currently.)  The Ravens need to line up a potential replacement for one of them, and then keep the other.

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47 Responses to “Team needs: Baltimore Ravens”
  1. Stiller43 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:25 PM

    “…there’s no reason to think the Ravens won’t at least be in contention.”

    Well, one reason could be the departure of at least 8 of 22 starters during their playoff run, including their two biggest leaders on defense.

  2. ravensfansc says: Apr 22, 2013 9:26 PM

    I agree with all except center, Gino held his own Week 17 against Geno Atkins so he has potential. I personally think we should get a safety or a MLB in the first round since this is a deep receiver class, someone like swope or bailey in the 2nd or 3rd round.

  3. pens5829 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:27 PM

    Add to this list another defense attorney.

  4. talkintrashallday says: Apr 22, 2013 9:28 PM

    Oz shows too much love to Bama boyz. Signing Rolando was a waste of time….and why is Terrance Cody still on the roster??

  5. morganstan100 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:29 PM

    Ravens have made some amazing moves already. No doubt Ozzie and Decosta will wow the critics with some head spinning maneuvers on draft day. Steelers will spend the whole time begging for spare change to get one or two players signed who don’t mind working for peanuts.

  6. classyjacklambert says: Apr 22, 2013 9:30 PM

    This team is in ruins after it got gutted after the super bowl. They need a lot more than they are going to be able to get to make the playoffs.

  7. jamaltimore says: Apr 22, 2013 9:35 PM

    What they don’t need is another Quarterback. I can’t wait to see Flacco run that offense up and down the field this year pushing them to his 6 straight postseason. Little early to start saying repeat but #5 and the revamped young defense lead by Capt Sizz will definitely get them back to the playoffs to defend the World championship!

    BLACK AND PURPLE!

  8. deathonwings410 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:48 PM

    We have a franchise QB, RB and the defense ( on paper at least) should be improved. I think the Ravens will be fine.

  9. cursindaily says: Apr 22, 2013 9:51 PM

    The Ravens need to find the next Ed Reed…? Seriously? Ed Reed is arguably the greatest safety in NFL history. The next Ed Reed is not available in this draft nor free agency, and possibly hasn’t been born yet.

  10. kevingreene160sacknoHOFclub says: Apr 22, 2013 9:51 PM

    I zealously hate the Ravens but one has to admit they’ve had a winning edge for the last half decade. We’d probably be talking dynasty if they’d found a QB sooner. Flacco joined the big-boy club.

  11. randallflagg52 says: Apr 22, 2013 9:55 PM

    Hopefully we can get Barrett Jones in the third or fourth round. Depending on where we play K.O., and Gradkowski’s impact at center, Jones would be valuable at guard or center. Can’t see the ravens spending a pick on TE though.

  12. raqaiw says: Apr 22, 2013 9:58 PM

    I think as long as #5 is slinging it they’ve got a good shot every year.

  13. buzzbeaubank says: Apr 22, 2013 9:59 PM

    Yinz waited a long time for this article, didn’t you?

  14. majormeatcurtains says: Apr 22, 2013 10:04 PM

    Who’s gonna snag Flaccos “close eyes and throw” jump balls? Every DB on the field that’s who.

  15. sschmiggles says: Apr 22, 2013 10:08 PM

    What they really need is more criminals. Recruiting sub-par humans is the Ravens Way. Right now they’re missing that uh, killer instinct, that Ray-Ray brought. We all know that old Sleazzie won’t let that stand.

    I also think they keep Rolando. If everything we hear is true, then he fits into their locker room perfectly.

  16. dickjagger says: Apr 22, 2013 10:10 PM

    There is no, “next Ed Reed” Florio. Just like you admit there is not another Q. However, our GM has a knack for finding awesome talent. He’s drafted three Hall Of Famers” with Offense,Lewis and Reed, and a few more (still playing) who one day may be (Suggs, Ngata, Rice.)

    Lol at the Steeler trolls with the nerve to say the Ravens are in trouble. You need to worry about your own team. I’m serious. You really should be worried. Even the Ohio teams are good enough to sweep you guys now.

    The black and gold should get ready for a black n blue beat-down. Compliments of the rest of the AFC North.

    See you in September!

  17. geemoney713 says: Apr 22, 2013 10:16 PM

    Clearly mostly Ravens fans giving the thumbs up and thumbs down. Reading those team needs above sounds worse than most of the teams I’ve read the last couple weeks.

    I’ll prob get a bunch of thumbs down from Ravens fans that think they won’t have any problem after losing their best receiver and multiple defensive starters only to replace 2 with Dumervil and Huff.

  18. jacktheraven says: Apr 22, 2013 10:39 PM

    Let’s let the Ravens play their games before we bury them. Doubters are more just wishful thinking than anything. Flacco, Smith, Rice, Oher, Yanda, Ngata, Suggs, Pitta, make up the nucleous of a very good team. Ravens and their fans are confident, we’ll see.

  19. jiveturkeygobbler says: Apr 22, 2013 11:04 PM

    I’m actually more scared of the Ravens now. I think John Harbaugh’s abilities will be more pronounced and appreciated now that Ray Lewis isn’t going to be taking all the public credit as thee team mentor.

  20. ppdoc13 says: Apr 22, 2013 11:08 PM

    But we need a lot less than the steelers so likely we will make the playoffs again. In addition, I like our schedule and how it sets up. If u are going to have a thurs game better to have it week 1 and then get 10 days of rest after flying x country. So count me as one raven fan not too pissed off about starting on the road

  21. sowcrates says: Apr 22, 2013 11:11 PM

    Wouldn’t consider Ellerbe such a dramatic loss. Boulware, Sharper, Scott…Newsome has let go more than his fair share of linebackers that never achieved the same success elsewhere. Jameel McClain was ahead of Ellerbe on the depth chart prior to injury, wasn’t he?

    Ngata and Suggs on one side and Flacco and Rice on the other are probably the most essential pieces to Baltimore’s puzzle, and they can find guys who don’t have to be pro bowlers to work alongside these 4 and look pretty good.

    Not trying to say that the margin of error isn’t slight for the Ravens in replacing guys, but when it comes to making the playoffs, their core has to be stronger than Roethlisberger-Woodley-Polamalu and Dalton-Green-Atkins to get into the postseason mix, if only as a 4 seed. I think it’s fairly reasonable to give the Ravens a nod as a projected divisional winner. Once a 4 seed, maybe you start to overachieve at the same time an opposing safety thinks he’s playing ultimate frisbee rather than football and gives you a free touchdown, then things just seem to start rolling…

  22. realskipbayless says: Apr 22, 2013 11:16 PM

    They will be battling it out with the Steelers for second place. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t make playoffs this year.

  23. mackcarrington says: Apr 22, 2013 11:30 PM

    Team Needs: A good dentist to replace Ozzie Newsome’s gold plated teeth, and a display case for Ray Ray’s bloodstained white suit.

  24. melkipershero says: Apr 22, 2013 11:41 PM

    You guys act like the Ravens had the best defense last year. They were 16th in yards per game and 20th in points per game. The Ravens will be fine.

  25. ejlav11 says: Apr 22, 2013 11:41 PM

    silly posters here, doesn’t anyone realize this Ravens D is already better than the Superbowl D> They were average at best, all year…can’t get any worse. Team in ruins coming from “classyjacklambert” LOL Steelers LOL.

  26. mazblast says: Apr 22, 2013 11:44 PM

    classy, why don’t we worry about our team first? As far as I’m concerned, the reports of the Ravens’ demise are premature. Until they are eliminated from possibly repeating as Super Bowl champs, they should be treated with the same respect we expect our Steelers to receive WHEN they win it all.

  27. tsuscrumhalf says: Apr 22, 2013 11:51 PM

    Love the “team got gutted” mantra that keeps getting repeated even though it’s not true….

    Significant upgrade on the DL with Spears & Canty being added, which allows Ngata to move back inside. A very solid 7 man rotation up front now.

    Add Dumerville on one side to Sizzle on the other & the pass rush was significantly upgraded. Kruger was a part time player. Ellerbee wasn’t a starter till Jameel McClain got hurt. We do need ILB’s but have some unknown guys & seem to be LB factory.

    L Webb comes back to join Graham, Smith & Brown at CB. Huff will be a scheme guy, not a freelancer like Ed. No one will ever be Ed Reed, but Ed was being criticized for the last 2-3 years for taking too many chances & leaving his CBs out to dry at times. And, w/his injuries he can’t tackle so while he’s one of my all time favorite players, it was time for him to move on. Was hoping he’d retire. With his neck, I don’t wanna see him in a wheelchair.

    The D is going to be tough. A few ILBs & S will be added & may the best men win. With Haloti, Sizzle & Doom getting after the QB & the DL being much better at run stuffing, we can maintain a vanilla back end and have success.

    The O returns everyone except Birk (was slipping & Gradkowski is good), McKinnie (but he may come back) and Anquan (huge loss, admittedly). But, Pitta will slide out on passing downs to the slot. We’ll have another TE in play. And, there are some young WRs who haven’t gotten to play significant minutes. And, there will be a couple drafted too.

    Was the team gutted? Nope. The D got younger & faster. New leaders will emerge. The weak run D last year is way better w/Haloti being able to move back to NT. Still need a couple players to round out the roster, but there’s still enough talent to win. The D last year was not good by Ravens standards. Not good at all. The D will be better even with all the losses of bodies, but those bodies were mostly (except Ellerbee & maybe Reed) expected to be gone.

    And, the Super Bowl MVP is behind center with Torrey, Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Pitta, Dickson, Jacoby Jones & some new faces. That O will put some points on the board.

  28. ravensdominate says: Apr 22, 2013 11:52 PM

    We don’t need anything other than to keep on being champions. We are all that the redskins and steelers wish they were. Especially the Landover No Names, our little brother to the south who hasn’t won a ring in over 20 years… Lol

  29. jagsfanfromtx956 says: Apr 23, 2013 1:11 AM

    They won’t make the playoffs. Won’t even finish second in division. Lost the biggest things that their team relied on: leadership and depth. Relying on Smith and Jones really?? Who’s playing your middle??? Who’s covering deep?? Who’s helping neutralize the double teams on suggs?? Who is protecting the blindside??? Who’s snapping?? And if Jones is a full time starter, who is returning?? God please don’t try to sell me they are going to be ok. You lost more than you can replace in any draft or free agency period. You lost proven talent and future HOF players. Enjoy the title. You won’t see it for a very long time

  30. watermelon1 says: Apr 23, 2013 2:04 AM

    People…
    They will make the playoffs simply because look at the rest of their division!

    Nobody even tried to get better except the browns. And they were so far off that its negligible.

    If you think the ravens are in bad shape, look at the steelers! And that’s assuming roethlisberger is even able to stay on the field!

  31. ejlav11 says: Apr 23, 2013 6:54 AM

    that makes sense, moron. I have lived in the city for the last 12 years and is great to live in. Outside of downtown can be rough, name a city that isn’t.

  32. ravensbob says: Apr 23, 2013 6:54 AM

    Love the team, not the laundry. Saying goodbye to reed,Lewis,etc. will not deter the Ravens from making the playoffs. When Ravens get A grades after next weekend, they will be the odds on favorites to win the A F C.

  33. ravensfan324 says: Apr 23, 2013 6:55 AM

    Lol you fools (I.E. steeler fans and the rest of you haters) just need to accept the fact that the better team won the Super Bowl this past season. It’s almost been 3 months but I’m glad to see it is still marinating. Come September 5th it will be the start of proving you haters wrong, AGAIN!!!. Cheers from the land of Pleasant Living

  34. twells49 says: Apr 23, 2013 7:35 AM

    Last year all the sports talking heads said the Ravens defense was old. “Reed freelances too much/can’t tackle”, and “Lewis cant get off blocks or drop into coverage leaving the ravens exposed in the middle”. Now that Lewis, Reed and Pollard are gone, the defense has been “purged”. Really, Really, which one is it, you can not have it both ways!

    Bottom line is the defense is now younger and better than our 2012 Super Bowl winning team. Draft will provide good depth to an already strong team which is poised to REPEAT!!!

    ps: the old, tiring posts about murders and felons = Steelers fans with no immediate hope for the future of their team!!

  35. jimmyt says: Apr 23, 2013 8:10 AM

    If you have to hope and rely on teams in your division being bad, your team sucks.

  36. getyourownname says: Apr 23, 2013 8:43 AM

    I’m sorry to see Boldin go, but non-Raven watchers are overestimating his impact. He did not have a stellar regular season, although that was partly due to Cameron’s inflexibility as OC in how to use his assets. A good OC should be able to find a way to use other players to replace Boldin’s production, and if the playoffs are any indication, Caldwell seems to be a good OC.

    Dannell Ellerbe started last season as a backup. Sorry to see him leave too, but I think his production can be replaced. This team knows how to identify LBs and I suspect they will draft a few good ones.

    Their main, and most difficult, issue is securing a reliable LT. Have to see how that pays out.

  37. 52ismycopilot says: Apr 23, 2013 9:28 AM

    “Jump ball Joe” it’s funny when people say that.. Like no other QB’s have receivers go up and get balls. He’s had plenty of balls he’s put on a rope for nice plays and even had a few perfectly thrown balls dropped! (I’m looking at you Lee Evans) I mean for christsakes! One of the greatest plays in history is called “The Catch” where Dwight Clark has to go up and get a “jump ball” from a guy named Joe.

  38. morganstan100 says: Apr 23, 2013 11:32 AM

    I can’t wait to see the Steelers’ withering secondary pointing fingers when Joe does to them what he did to Denver. And Indy. And NE. Did I mention SF? Oh yeah, them too. Yikes!!!!

  39. malvaren18 says: Apr 23, 2013 12:55 PM

    The Ravens are done, this year they should make the playoffs only to be destroyed on the first round, by The Bronco’s who will be 1st seed in the AFC.

  40. ftomasic1961 says: Apr 23, 2013 2:13 PM

    yeah, jump ball joe, the only reason was a blown coverage by denver/poorly played on a wobbly desperation heave….other than that, you are done and out again….pure luck……

  41. twells49 says: Apr 23, 2013 3:25 PM

    Broncos and their old, broken down QB who the Ravens destroyed in 2012, are going no where in 2013!!

    Ravens Repeat!!!

  42. jiggy3198 says: Apr 23, 2013 4:12 PM

    There only need is another championship

  43. rushg says: Apr 23, 2013 5:02 PM

    Reavensdominate wants to live in DC. Not one negative comment from a skins fan on this post; yet he still has us on the mind!!! What a loser!!! Smfh

  44. rushg says: Apr 23, 2013 5:05 PM

    He called us the landover no names: I bet more people know who the Redskins are than the Reavens, and y’all just won the SB… Pure loser

  45. tombstoned says: Apr 23, 2013 5:14 PM

    I can’t wait to see the Steelers’ withering secondary pointing fingers when Joe does to them what he did to Denver. And Indy. And NE. Did I mention SF? Oh yeah, them too. Yikes!!!!

    ———————————–

    Yeah, me too. Perhaps we can spot them a few kick return TD’s like we did in Denver. You know, just to make the game appear closer than it actually is.

  46. lovefootball4life says: Apr 23, 2013 6:21 PM

    Probably the shortest “team needs” article I’ve read. Love the moves already made. Jury still out on Rolando however. A few smart moves in the draft and Ravens are in great shape. Can’t wait for the start of the season even being in Denver. It will be an epic battle but Ravens won’t likely spot them 14 special teams points. Yeah folks who say we were luckily to get out with a win, I say Denver was lucky to be in it.

  47. morganstan100 says: Apr 24, 2013 10:51 AM

    Broncos are going to be a mess. They’ll be so nervous about trying to avenge what they THINK was a close game and stopping Dumervil from embarassing them. Plus, Peyton Manning will be desperate to prove he’s still got it. No one needs that kind of baggage going into week 1 on your home turf in front of a bunch of unruly fans. Double Yikes!

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