The defense for the Baltimore Ravens has been a hallmark since the 2000 season, and Ozzie has carried that tradition on into 2017. The Ravens spent most of their 2017 draft picks on defense, even though the offense needed a bit more help. The franchise still have a bad taste in their mouths from their last-minute loss to the Steelers in which they drove down the field to win the game and secure a playoff berth. The additions they made in the offseason are a message that scenario will not happen again.
Defensive Line: Brandon Williams, Bronson Kafusi, Brent Urban, Michael Pierce
Practice Squad: Carl Davis, Chris Wormley, Patrick Ricard
Cut: Willie Henry
The Ravens defensive front could be one of the best in football this season. Bronson Kafusi has played great this preseason, and that is a positive sign, considering he is recovering from a torn ACL that occurred 2016. Brent Urban looks like he’s ready to take the spot previous stocked by Timmy Jernigan and Pernell Mcphee. Carl Davis had a great game against the Saints in the final preseason game, but his previous outings in preseason haven’t caught anyone’s eye, as he seemed missing from most of the action. Chris Wormley is a project at this point, and he would only get on the 53-man roster if Pierce wasn’t already there; so I expect for the Ravens to sharpen him up, and he should be good to go next season.
Edge Rushers: Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon, Za’Darius Smith, Tim Williams, Tyus Bowser
Practice Squad: None
Cuts: Brennen Beyer
This is going to be the most crucial unit for the Ravens defense to succeed in 2017. The additions of Tony Jefferson, Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr to the secondary are great, but without a solid pass rush, this unit will struggle to stop the passing game. Terrell Suggs is in the twilight of his career, and that means it’s time for the new blood to put their stamp on this defense. Matthew Judon looks to improve on his rookie campaign after tallying four sacks in 2016 and take the spot vacated by Elvis Dumervil. Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser will likely get more time to play as Suggs will probably not play every down. The Ravens have a lot of talent at this position, and the depth should provide no reprieve for opposing offenses.
Linebackers: C.J. Mosley, Patrick Onwuasor, Kamalei Correra
Practice Squad: None
Cut: Bam Bradley, Boseko Lokombo, Donald Payne
Injured: Albert McClellan
Before the offseason got into full swing, it appeared that this position was pretty much locked down. Zach Orr’s surprising retirement changed all of that; so it was expected that Correra was the next man up to play next to Mosley. However, a former practice squad member appears to be taking that role. Onwuasor has been all over the field making tackles and forcing fumbles, and has spent more time with the first team than Correra. For the Ravens, this is a good problem to have, as Onwuasor will likely be the next undrafted player to make an impact on this defense.
Defensive Backs: Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey, Jaylen Hill, Ladarius Webb, Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Anthony Levine
Practice Squad:Sheldon Price
Cut: Brandon Boykin, Daniel Robertson, Reggie Porter,
Injured Reserve: Maurice Canady, Tavon Young
For the first time in a long while, the secondary for this team is stacked with experience and youth. The loss of Tavon Young hurt because he was expected to take the next step this season but the emergence of Jaylen Hill has helped to quell some of those issues. Jimmy Smith’s previous health issues are of concern but the addition of Carr and Humphrey should provide enough depth to cover an issue if it should arise this season. The Ravens secondary was a big reason they didn’t make the playoffs last season but if they stay healthy, they could be able to draw up the spirit of Ravens defenses of old.