Baltimore Ravens: Offseason Needs
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Rd 1, Pick 26 (26)
Rd 2, Pick 26 (58)
Rd 3, Pick 26 (90)
Rd 4, Pick 26 (123)
Rd 5, Pick 33 (164)
Rd 5, Pick 34 (165)
Rd 6, Pick 15 (180)
Rd 6, Pick 26 (191)
Rd 7, Pick 22 (225)
1. Corner back: The Ravens CB’s were the weakest part of their defense last season and would need some help regardless. That basic need is compounded by the fact that 3 of the Ravens top corners, including Chris Carr and Josh Wilson, are free agents. Baltimore could look for a corner in the first round and should definitely land one by round 2.
2. Offensive line: The Ravens offensive line went from being great to good last season with T Jared Gaither’s holdout/injury. Now the Ravens could potentially lose Gaither, his replacement Marshall Yanda, and Yanda’s replacement Chris Chester to free agency. The Ravens could withstand one loss, but two or three of those guys leaving could really devastate their line. Picking up some good young players in the mid-rounds would be key for Baltimore.
3. Wide Receiver: The Ravens receivers last year were solid with the additions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but I don’t think they had the impact the Ravens were hoping for. Far too many games did they disappear, and them along with Derrick Mason and Donte Stallworth represent one of the oldest receiving corps in the league. With Housh and Stallworth set to be free agents this year, and Mason maybe having one more season in him, look for the Ravens to add 2-3 receivers this offseason. At least one will probably be someone who can stretch the field for them, and take over a starting role in 2012 when Mason leaves.
4. Running back: The Ravens are set with starter Ray Rice as their number 1 tailback, but with Willis McGehee on his way out the door Baltimore could use a quality backup. I don’t think they will make it a huge priority, but it wouldn’t shock me to see them grab one in the 4th or 5th round.
5. Inside Linebacker: Ray Lewis is still one of the better middle linebackers in the league, but contrary to the myths he can’t play forever. The Ravens should look at investing one of their mid-late round picks on an eventual successor.
6. Defensive End: While the Ravens have a very good defensive line, led by DE Haloti Ngata, they are a pretty thin unit at the end position. Last year Baltimore spent a late rounder on a solid prospect Arthur Jones and I’d expect them to take the same strategy this season.
7. Fullback: Le’Ron McClain is a free agent this offseason and I’m guessing he will look for a situation where he can get more carries/catches, meaning the Ravens will need to find a new FB. They resigned Jason McKie after the season, but he is nothing better than a stopgap option at best. Look for Baltimore to spend a late round pick in the draft upgrading the position.
The Ravens don’t have any major needs (depending on free agency), but they need to cover their bases with so many key players free agents at CB, OL, and WR. After that they just need to focus on depth, and/or grabbing guys who fall for one reason or another.