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2013 NFL Offseason: Baltimore Ravens

Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents



Baltimore Ravens (Last Year: 10-6)

2013 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
C A.Q. Shipley, DE/DT Chris Canty, DE/DT Marcus Spears, DE/OLB Elvis Dumervil, ILB Rolando McClain, CB Cary Williams, S Michael Huff.
Early Draft Picks:
S Matt Elam, ILB Arthur Brown, NT Brandon Williams, DE/OLB John Simon, FB Kyle Juszczyk, OT Ricky Wagner. Ravens Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
FB Vonta Leach, WR Anquan Boldin, C Matt Birk, G Bobbie Williams, NT Maake Kemoeatu, DE/OLB Paul Kruger, ILB Ray Lewis, ILB Dannell Ellerbe, ILB Brendon Ayanbadejo, CB Chris Johnson, S Ed Reed, S Bernard Pollard.

2013 Baltimore Ravens Offense:
Joe Flacco told the media prior to the 2012 season that he's the best quarterback in the NFL. Everyone laughed at him. Eli Manning proclaimed something similar the year before, but he had at least won a Super Bowl. Flacco had done a good job of winning some playoff games, but his statistics were above average at best. Who was he to say that he was the best signal-caller in the NFL?

Well, Flacco ended up having the last laugh. His regular-season numbers weren't overly impressive - 3,817 yards, 22 yards, 10 interceptions, 7.2 YPA, 59.7% - but he was completely dominant in the playoffs. During his magical postseason run, Flacco compiled 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions to go along with a YPA of 9.0 in four contests. He was both lethal and mistake-free. He was the best quarterback in the league - at least in those five weeks.

What happened to Flacco then? How did he improve so much? He was exceptional, but his supporting cast deserves a ton of the credit. Flacco's pass protection was so much better in the new calendar year. He took just six sacks in the playoffs (1.5 per game) compared to 35 in the regular season (2.3 per game - excludes Week 17 because Tyrod Taylor played). The difference was left tackle Bryant McKinnie. A 34-year-old in September, McKinnie barely played prior to the postseason because he was out of shape. He finally dropped the weight and took over on the blind side, pushing Michael Oher to right tackle. He stymied every pass-rusher there, including Denver's Elvis Dumervil. McKinnie sat on the free-agent market for a while, but Baltimore brought him back for a 2-year deal that includes much-needed weight clauses.

McKinnie's presence is huge because it allows Oher to stay at right tackle and Kelechi Osemele to remain inside. As a second-round rookie, Osemele was overmatched at right tackle, surrendering seven sacks there, but he didn't allow a single pass-rusher to sack Flacco when he was stationed at left guard. Osemele will play inside along with right guard Marshal Yanda, who's an absolute stud, and one of two centers who will take over for the retired Matt Birk: Gino Gradkowski or A.Q. Shipley. Gradkowski, chosen in the fourth round in the 2012 NFL Draft, is considered the favorite right now, but Shipley performed well last season while subbing for an injured Samson Satele in Indianapolis.

Anquan Boldin was also big for Flacco's playoff emergence. The veteran wideout hauled in 22 receptions for 380 yards and four touchdowns in those four contests. Unfortunately for Flacco, the front office traded Boldin away to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick. That leaves the top three receivers to be the speedy Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, who caught the famous, 70-yard Mile High Rainbow, and someone named Deonte Thompson. The former Gator ran a 4.32 at the Combine a year ago and happens to be a good route-runner. General manager Ozzie Newsome wouldn't have dealt Boldin away without a backup plan.

With Boldin gone, Flacco is expected to lean on his tight ends more frequently. This could mean more targets for Ed Dickson, but the main beneficiary will be Dennis Pitta, whose stats grew as the 2012 campaign progressed, maintaining a 7-125-2 line in Week 15. Pitta also snagged three of Flacco's 11 touchdowns in the playoffs.

Of course, Flacco's main weapon will be Ray Rice again. Rice actually had the lowest carry total he's maintained in three years because of Bernard Pierce's presence on the team, but he was still very effective when carrying the football. Rice rushed for 1,143 yards and nine touchdowns to go along with 61 catches for 478 receiving yards. Pierce can take over and be a strong starter in the event of an injury, but Rice has proven himself to be very durable; he's played all 16 games in the past four seasons.





2013 Baltimore Ravens Defense:
Baltimore was always about Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. They were the heart and soul of the team, and along with a couple of other defenders, they carried the squad for a long while. Well, for the first time, the offense did most of the work last season, and it resulted in a Super Bowl victory. Lewis and Reed clearly weren't as effective, and now they won't even be on the roster anymore. Lewis announced his retirement, while Reed walked away and signed with the Texans.

Lewis and Reed's exodus, along with the departures of other players at their position - Dannell Ellerbe, Bernard Pollard - prompted casual fans to declare that the Ravens were completely finished. With so many losses, how could they possibly rebound? Well, that's why Ozzie Newsome is the top general manager in football. He didn't panic and overpay in the perennially overrated free-agent market. Instead, he patiently waited for great deals and then made tremendous value picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Newsome selected second-rounder Arthur Brown to be Lewis' successor. Brown had first-round talent according to most draft analysts, but he fell to the second round because of injury concerns. He had a shoulder issue and is currently recovering from a sports hernia, but he's expected to be ready for training camp. Likewise, Daryl Smith, who will be a two-down player next to Brown, played in just two games in Jacksonville last year because of a groin injury. Smith was exceptional in 2011 though, so if he's healthy, he'll be a very important piece in Baltimore's defense. Jameel McClain is the top reserve.

The situation looks even better at safety. An early selection was also used on the position - Florida's Matt Elam at No. 32 overall - while the other starter will be Michael Huff, who was acquired in free agency. Huff was released by the Raiders as a cap casualty, but he was a solid performer last year who was an unbelievable bargain at just three years, $6 million. Huff will likely relish the opportunity of being on a winning organization for the first time in his career; he's been marooned in Oakland since Al Davis drafted him in 2006.

The Ravens incurred some other losses this offseason, most notably Paul Kruger, who had a team-leading nine sacks during the regular season and then 4.5 in the playoffs. Watching him sign with the Browns must have been a tough pill to swallow for Baltimore fans - until the team lucked into signing Elvis Dumervil. Thanks to Faxgate, the Broncos were forced into releasing Dumervil, who has accumulated 37.5 sacks in the past three seasons, including 11 in the 2012. Dumervil is more proven that Kruger, so this actually has to be considered an upgrade. Factor in that Terrell Suggs will be 100 percent in 2013, and the Ravens' pass rush has been upgraded - a notion that would have seemed silly back in mid-March.

There are two other notable veterans who walked away from the Ravens. The first was nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu. Still floating around in free agency, Kemoeatu's departure obviously isn't a huge deal. To compensate for this, Baltimore signed a pair of former Cowboy defensive ends: Chris Canty and Marcus Spears. The latter can help in run support, while the former is coming off a down year, thanks to a nagging knee injury. If Canty can get healthy, his presence will be a big boost to the pass rush.

Having Canty and Spears on the roster - to go along with the solid Arthur Jones - will allow Haloti Ngata to play nose tackle. Now the top defender on the roster, Ngata is a force in terms of stuffing the run and getting to the quarterback. He can play anywhere on the defensive line, though Newsome is likely hoping that either bust Terrence Cody or third-round rookie Brandon Williams steps up at nose tackle, which would allow Ngata to stay outside.

The second notable departure was cornerback Cary Williams, who signed with the Eagles. Williams was a decent starter, but not overly talented. Baltimore's top corners are now Lardarius Webb, who is coming off a torn ACL, and Corey Graham, who did a decent job once Webb went down in November. There isn't much behind the two, so the Ravens could be in trouble if more injuries occur. They'll need 2011 first-rounder Jimmy Smith to step up. Smith has been a bust thus far, but he has the talent to turn his career around.





2013 Baltimore Ravens Schedule and Intangibles:
John Harbaugh has done a terrific job of maintaining a dominant homefield advantage during his tenure as Baltimore's head coach. The Ravens are an outstanding 35-7 as hosts since 2008, including a perfect 9-0 in 2011.

The Ravens dumped Billy Cundiff because he choked in last year's AFC Championship. Rookie Justin Tucker did a great job of replacing him, going 30-of-33, including 4-of-4 from 50-plus. Best of all, Tucker was actually clutch.

Sam Koch tied for seventh in net-punting average and ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of attempts placed inside the 20.

Thanks to Jacoby Jones, the Ravens scored three special-teams touchdowns compared to none for their opponents in the regular season. However, they surrendered two touchdowns to the Broncos in the second round of the playoffs.

Baltimore has a very taxing schedule. Its season opener at Denver is just the beginning; it's one of seven contests the Ravens have against teams that made the playoffs last year (Broncos, Texans, Packers, Vikings, Patriots, Bengals twice). They also have to deal with the Steelers twice, and those are always difficult battles.



2013 Baltimore Ravens Rookies:
Go here for the Ravens Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.



2013 Baltimore Ravens Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):

Quarterbacks
Offensive Line
Secondary
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams
Receivers
Linebackers
Coaching


2013 Baltimore Ravens Analysis: The demise of the Ravens has been greatly exaggerated. They lost some key veterans, but they made shrewd moves during the offseason and still happen to be one of the top teams in the AFC. As long as they can overcome the distractions that come with winning a Super Bowl - and considering how many players left, that shouldn't be a huge issue - they'll once again contend for a playoff spot and hope to recapture their postseason magic.

Projection: 11-5 (Tied 1st in AFC North)


2013 Fantasy Football Rankings


More 2013 NFL Season Previews

*** 2013 NFL DRAFT GRADES, OFFSEASON NEEDS BELOW COMMENT BOARD ***


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Ron 04-14-2014 11:55 am xxx.xxx.xxx.178 (total posts: 1)
0     0

Re:Re:Mr. Money, Lesser QBs? You say that like it's obvious or something. Some of the guys you just mentioned (Excluding Jay Cutler, and Tony Romo) consistently post better passing numbers than Flacco and it's not even close. Stafford and Ryan are always league leaders and run offenses that at times seem unstoppable. Flacco may have won a Super Bowl, but then last year he just returned to mediocre form. He's not consistent. He's basically another Trent Dilfer. There's no shame in that, but he's not better than 2 of the league's best playmakers.
Re: @Re. Mr. Money 03-24-2014 04:45 am xxx.xxx.xxx.103 (total posts: 2)
5     0

They did indeed enter the 2014 season with ~28 million in cap space. This was after cutting Leach and McClain and extending Suggs, and before the Pitta resigning. Here is a quote from March 2 from an article discussing our cap situation at that time:

"According to Over the Cap, the Ravens had $28 million of salary cap space to work with following those moves."

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1970746-breaking-down-ravens-salary-cap-situation-heading-into-nfl-free-agency

They then signed Pitta, Monroe, Jacoby, Smith, and some other guys. After the Zuttah trade, they now have just under 5 million. Zuttah may also be extended, freeing up some cap space.

My point was that Flacco's contract in no way hindered the Ravens from making offseason moves, as Mr. Money had suggested. Quite the contrary, it allowed them to resign Monroe, Pitta, and everyone else important.
@Re: Mr. Money 03-23-2014 09:54 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.160 (total posts: 1)
0     1

How do you figure $28 million cap space? I would love it if we did have that much, but from what I've heard it's more like 4 mil. http://overthecap.com/calculator/?Team=Ravens
Re: Mr. Money 03-23-2014 12:39 am xxx.xxx.xxx.103 (total posts: 2)
3     1

The Ravens entered the 2014 off-season with about $28 million of cap space, so Flacco's cap hit of 14.8 million hasn't really been an inhibiting factor.

To the uninformed fan, Flacco's $120 million is a seemingly astronomical figure, yet the guaranteed money of $52 million is on-par with lesser QBs like Tony Romo (6yr/108mil/55gtd), Matt Ryan (6yr/104mil/59gtd), Matt Stafford (5yr ,76.5million,41.5gtd), Jay Cutler (7yr,126.7,54gtd).

Now that the rookie pay scale is in full effect, veterans are going to get paid more money especially at the QB position. Flacco, Romo, Ryan, Stafford, and Cutler are just the first wave to take advantage of this new pay scale. To judge any non-rookie contracts in this day and age by comparing numbers to older contracts is simply a failure to take into account the changing financial landscape of the NFL.

Also keep in mind Flacco was an unrestricted FA coming off a SB MVP season in which he set record postseason numbers at the QB position (4 games: 73 for 126, 1,140 yards, 11 TD : 0 INT, 57.9 completion %, 9.0 YPC, 117.2 passer rating); this team was not going to let him go, and franchising him would have ruined their ability to participate in free-agency that year.

Finally, Flacco had a disappointing season the following year, but you would be remiss to not contribute some of the failure to the O-line. The O-line was composed of 3 starters among the bottom 15 at their position (per PFF), and the running game was averaging 3.1 ypc beind this O-line. Exacerbating the problem was the loss of Pitta, their only real chain-mover when entering the season. These problems will hopefully be mollified through the draft, FA, and with the presence of superior playcalling by our new OC, Gary Kubiak.
Mr. Money 03-20-2014 02:23 am xxx.xxx.xxx.167 (total posts: 1)
105     107

The Ravens main problem is money. They gave way too much of it to Joe Flacco. Flacco is obviously not on the same level as the people who are paid the kind of money he earns. If you cut his deal of $120 million, $52 million guaranteed in half it would have been fair. I know that extending him would have been pretty impossible if they were negotiating that amount, but the fact is they rushed the deal. The timing of it was so terrible. He just came off a hot 4 game span meaning that the expectations were higher than the mediocre play that he had the rest off his career. If you look at what he did the rest of that season it wasn't that great. In contrast, Drew Brees signed a very similar contract, but threw 1360 yards and 21 TDs more than Flacco that season. Comparing it to other season performances by Brees, Brady, Manning, and Rodgers (Who all have around $100 million contracts) the deficit is just about as large. It isn't rocket science to figure out that Flacco is not as good as those guys. Waiting a year to extend Flacco would have been the smarter move in hindsight. Instead they gave him $52 million guaranteed. Now that he's 29, nearing 30, and declining. If the Ravens need to cut him loose they can't because then they would have gigantic dead money. Worst contract in franchise history. Basically, Flacco is overrated, overpaid, and for what remains of his career he will weigh the Ravens down more than he will help them. That is from a completely objective and financial standpoint because I'm really indifferent about this team anyways.
Calamity 03-05-2014 10:29 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.113 (total posts: 1)
1     83

Really Walther...Jim Harbaugh is on the other side of the country in the other conference.
Matt Elam 03-01-2014 12:34 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.144 (total posts: 1)
1     1

I wouldn't say he disappointed. He was playing out of position as we had nobody on our roster that played like a FS. He actually improved as the year went on too. If we get a FS so he can be a SS, he will be much better.
alec baldwin's hair 02-11-2014 01:11 am xxx.xxx.xxx5.17 (total posts: 1)
12801     19000

i wonder how long to you realize flacco didn't deserve that albatross of a contract and it was your D and a lucky WR signing that won the SB

ironic flacco will sink the ravens
Baron 02-08-2014 12:25 am xxx.xxx.xxx1.18 (total posts: 1)
3     2

Just needed to speak up that I saying Ihedigbo was a weak spot is just looking for a scapegoat without any analysis. Ihedigbo had some mistakes, but was incredible this year despite his deficiencies in previous years at the position. Ihedigbo really dominated some games and the secondary was great. The front was ok, but couldn't force as much pressure as was expected later. Elam was fine as well, but it's likely they slide Elam into Strong Safety next year and Omar Brown or someone new takes the FS spot.
Allen 02-07-2014 09:47 pm xxx.xxx.xxx8.40 (total posts: 1)
4     3

You know, if you actually spent more time proof-reading your work instead of running that Greg "Mr. Dependable" Little joke into the ground or treating Michael Vick like he's Voldemort (he whose name cannot be spoken), you would realize that JOHN Harbaugh is the Raven's head coach, not Jim. Just throwing that out there.
Miho 01-02-2014 02:56 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.123 (total posts: 1)
2     2

YOU ARE A MORON. Not a Ravens fan at all but drawing a red line on an image in a satright line and having the ball on the other side of that red line is not evidence AT ALL.. That photo has no sense of depth of where the football is, maybe by the time the ball is on the other side of that line the ball had already gone through the uprights. But you can't tell that from the photo or the video..Stupid people are stupid
Erwin 01-02-2014 04:10 am xxx.xxx.xxx1.32 (total posts: 1)
2     5

I dunno the numbers QBs are getitng paid now are becoming truly crippling to their franchises, I wouldn't be surprised if a QB like Rodgers takes the sensible approach and only opts to make a ridiculous some of money rather than a ludicrous sum. To the TRULY elite QBs, getitng paid isn't nearly as important as their legacy. Rodgers could be HoF bound so he needs good players around him to try and cement it. Flacco takes the money because he knows he's just pulled one over on the Ravens and with how mediocre he is he knows he'll never be in Canton! :D Of all the -ocres, he's the mediest. I'd put him on the same level I put Schaub. Then again Rodgers does look a food with his discount double check maybe he is ruled by the dollar *shrugs*
Jacoby Jones 12-05-2013 07:30 pm xxx.xxx.xxx46.8 (total posts: 1)
13     14

Alright, it's 2014. You don't have the money to pay me so I'm gone. Later Bmore
zimmerman 07-26-2013 02:53 am xxx.xxx.xxx.199 (total posts: 1)
6     20

ray lewis is a filthy ape
Christoph 07-06-2013 06:14 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.251 (total posts: 1)
36     8

'If John Simon were bigger and faster he would have been a 1st rd pick.' Hahahahahaha
Somehow you always manage to make me laugh. I will fade all of your NFL picks again next year Cherrypinsky.

Christoph





2013 NFL Draft Grade: A-

Please note that the overall grade is not an average of all the individual grades. Other things are taken into account like team needs and goals.

Goals Entering the 2013 NFL Draft: The Super Bowl champions lost some key members of their franchise this offseason. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are the obvious ones, but Bryant McKinnie and Anquan Boldin's absences might be felt most. McKinnie's outstanding play in the postseason gave Joe Flacco the pass protection he needed, while Boldin reemerged as an awesome possession target. All of these players have to be replaced.

2013 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It appears as though the reports of the Ravens' demise have been greatly exaggerated. After losing many key veterans, all the media could talk about was how much Baltimore regressed. That was an obvious story angle, given the departures of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and other players of renown. However, what people seemed to forget was that Ozzie Newsome is one of the elite general managers in the NFL.

Newsome made some solid signings in free agency and then was able to complement those with a terrific draft class. Baltimore's first three picks were a work of art. Matt Elam is a perfect fit in the Ravens' defense. Second-rounder Arthur Brown, was seen by many as a first-round prospect, is very talented and fully capable of replacing Lewis. Meanwhile, Brandon Williams was another steal at No. 94. Seen by many as a second-rounder, Williams can be the long-term solution at nose tackle.

The Ravens didn't stop there. They made numerous quality third-day picks, such as John Simon, who should blossom into an effective pass-rusher. Aaron Mellette and Marc Anthony were both steals at Nos. 238 and 247, respectively.

Baltimore came away with one of the league's top draft classes. The only thing keeping this from being an A+ is that the team didn't target a receiver or a left tackle earlier. It could have done so where a fullback was taken (No. 130), but then again, who am I to question the great Newsome?



2013 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

32. Matt Elam, S, Florida: B+ Grade
Patient Ozzie Newsome gets his way again. He was targeting Matt Elam among other prospects and got his man without panicking. Elam fills a big need at safety across from Michael Huff. He also fits the range and could have gone a bit earlier than this.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

56. Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State: A+ Grade
This is the best pick of the second round. Arthur Brown may have been chose in the 20 range had he been completely healthy. He'll heal up, and Ozzie Newsome will end up with another draft-day steal. Brown is as best of a successor to Ray Lewis as Baltimore could have obtained in the 2013 NFL Draft.

94. Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern: A- Grade
Brandon Williams dominated the Senior Bowl, so there was speculation that he would be drafted somewhere in Round 2. That apparently was not the case, but the Ravens are not complaining because they were able to land another great value. Baltimore signed Marcus Spears and Chris Canty this offseason, but neither is the long-term solution on the defensive line.

129. John Simon, DE/OLB, Ohio State: B+ Grade
You can never have enough pass-rushers, so while John Simon doesn't fit an immediate need, he could be useful down the road or in the wake of injuries. He was seen by some as a third-round prospect (I had him in the fourth), so this is yet another good value pick by Ozzie Newsome.

130. Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard: C+ Grade
I think this is a bit early for a fullback, considering that some teams don't even use one. The Ravens do, but Vonta Leach is pretty expensive. They want someone to challenge him in order to save some money.

168. Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin: B Grade
The Ravens needed some tackle depth, so this selection makes sense for both a needs and a draft range perspective. He's a right tackle only though, so he's definitely not a replacement for Bryant McKinnie.

200. Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE/DT, Notre Dame: B Grade
Like the 49ers, Baltimore had so many draft picks that it could draft someone it could redshirt. Kapron Lewis-Moore would have gone higher than this had he not suffered an injury in the championship. He'll be useful down the road once Chris Canty and Marcus Spears move on.

203. Ryan Jensen, G/OT, Colorado State: B Grade
Ryan Jensen, widely considered a Round 6-7 prospect, should be able to provide some solid interior line depth.

238. Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon: A Grade
Ravens steal, yadda, yadda, yadda. I had Aaron Mellette in the fourth round, so this is tremendous value for him.

247. Marc Anthony, CB, California: A Grade
Ravens steal, yadda, yadda, yadda. Marc Anthony was a fourth- or a fifth-round projection, and Baltimore needed some cornerback depth.



Season Summary:
Congratulations to the Ravens for winning Super Bowl XLVII! They were hardly the best team all year, but once they got several players healthy in late December and January, they were able to go on a tear. Unfortunately, it's bittersweet because Baltimore will have to move on from Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and some other long-time veterans.






Offseason Moves:
  • Ravens cut FB Vonta Leach
  • Ravens sign OLB Daryl Smith
  • Ravens acquire C A.Q. Shipley from Colts for a conditional 2014 pick
  • Ravens re-sign OT Bryant McKinnie
  • Ravens sign ILB Rolando McClain
  • Ravens cut ILB Brendon Ayanbadejo
  • Ravens sign S Michael Huff
  • Ravens sign DE/OLB Elvis Dumervil
  • Titans sign S Bernard Pollard
  • Texans sign S Ed Reed
  • Ravens sign DE/DT Marcus Spears
  • Ravens re-sign CB Chris Johnson
  • Eagles sign CB Cary Williams
  • Ravens cut S Bernard Pollard
  • Ravens sign DE/DT Chris Canty
  • Dolphins sign ILB Dannell Ellerbe
  • Browns sign DE/OLB Paul Kruger
  • Ravens re-sign OT Ramon Harewood
  • Ravens re-sign S James Ihedigbo
  • 49ers acquire WR Anquan Boldin from Ravens for 6th-rounder
  • Ravens tender TE Dennis Pitta
  • Ravens tender TE Ed Dickson
  • Ravens tender DE Arthur Jones
  • Ravens cut G Bobbie Williams
  • Ravens re-sign QB Joe Flacco
  • Ravens announce retirement of C Matt Birk
  • Eagles sign QB Dennis Dixon


    Team Needs:
    1. Quarterback: Retaining Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco is Baltimore's top priority this offseason. Re-signed Joe Flacco

    2. Inside Linebacker: Ray Lewis is retiring. If that's not bad enough, Dannell Ellerbe is a free agent. Oh, and Jameel McClain is coming off a spinal cord contusion. Alec Ogletree will be an option for Baltimore if he falls to the very bottom of the first round. Drafted Arthur Brown; signed Daryl Smith and Rolando McClain

    3. Wide Receiver: Despite his brilliant performance in the playoffs, Anquan Boldin was traded. An early pick could be used on a wideout.

    4. Two Safeties: Like Lewis, Ed Reed isn't expected back. He's a free agent. If he goes, the Ravens have to find a worthy substitute. Bernard Pollard was also cut, so two safeties are needed. Matt Elam will be an option in the first round this April. Signed Michael Huff; drafted Matt Elam

    5. Left Tackle: Flacco was able to maintain the best playoff touchdown-to-interception ratio in NFL history because his offensive line had improved tremendously. The catalyst for this was Bryant McKinnie, who actually got into shape for a change. McKinnie is a free agent, however. Re-signed Bryant McKinnie

    6. Nose Tackle: Ma'ake Kemoeatu, who took the starting nose tackle job away from bust Terrence Cody, is a free agent. The Ravens have to find a replacement if they plan on giving up on Cody. Signed Chris Canty and Marcus Spears (Haloti Ngata to NT); drafted Brandon Williams

    7. Rush Linebacker: Paul Kruger was the team's top pass-rusher down the stretch. He's a free agent who will be highly sought-after if he's allowed to hit the market. Signed Elvis Dumervil; drafted John Simon

    8. Cornerback: Depth will be needed here if Cary Williams leaves via free agency.





    2013 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Elvis Dumervil, DE, Broncos. Age: 29.
      Signed with Ravens

      Elvis Dumervil has 63.5 sacks in six NFL seasons (he missed all of 2010 with an injury). This includes 11 sacks in 2012. He can be a liability in run support, but his tremendous ability to get to the quarterback makes up for that.

    2. Daryl Smith, OLB, Jaguars. Age: 31.
      Signed with Ravens

      Daryl Smith has never received much attention from the media, but he's been one of the top 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL over the years. Unfortunately, he played in just two games this season because of a groin injury, and he'll be 31 in March, so his skills are in the process of eroding.

    3. Michael Huff, S, Raiders. Age: 30.
      Signed with Ravens

      Michael Huff is a cap casualty; the Raiders couldn't afford his $4 million salary in 2013. Huff is still a quality safety who is versatile enough to play cornerback effectively.

    4. Chris Canty, DE/DT, Giants. Age: 30.
      Signed with Ravens

      Chris Canty served as a solid interior pass-rusher prior to 2012, but was ineffective last year because of a nagging knee injury. Perhaps he'll be able to rebound next season, but he'll be 31 in November, so his best days are behind him. He can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4.

    5. Rolando McClain, ILB, Raiders. Age: 24.
      Signed with Ravens

      The positive for Rolando McClain: He's a strong run defender who will be just 24 in July. The negative? He was used on just two downs in 2012 because he can't cover. He also has major work-ethic issues, though these could be fixed if he's brought into a strong locker room.

    6. Marcus Spears, DE/DT, Cowboys. Age: 30. -- Signed with Ravens (2 years)



    Baltimore Ravens Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Ravens (6 years, $120.6 million)

      I had this prepared prior to his playoff run: "Joe Flacco considers himself elite, but he's way too inconsistent to be on that level. He's a good starter who still has the potential to take the next step, but he has yet to do that." Well, Flacco has proven that once again, he steps up when it counts the most. He deserves a big contract.

    2. Paul Kruger, DE/OLB, Ravens. Age: 27.
      Signed with Browns (5 years, $41 million)

      Paul Kruger notched nine sacks during the regular season and then three more against the Colts in the playoffs. He also was solid in coverage.

    3. Vonta Leach, FB, Ravens. Age: 31.
      Vonta Leach will be 32 in November, but he's still one of the top run-blocking fullbacks in the NFL. Ray Rice will miss him.

    4. Ed Reed, S, Ravens. Age: 34.
      Signed with Texans (2 years)

      Ed Reed will turn 35 in September, but he still played at a high level for the Ravens this past season despite battling an injury.

    5. Dannell Ellerbe, ILB, Ravens. Age: 27.
      Signed with Dolphins

      Dannell Ellerbe was the top inside linebacker on the roster this past season - even when Ray Lewis was healthy. He had a strong second half, emerging after Lewis went down.

    6. Dennis Pitta (RFA), TE, Ravens. Age: 28.
      Tendered by Ravens (2nd round)

      Dennis Pitta really grew at the end of the season to become one of Joe Flacco's more reliable targets. He finished the year with 61 catches, 669 yards and seven touchdowns.

    7. Bernard Pollard, S, Ravens. Age: 28.
      Signed with Titans (1 year)

      Bernard Pollard isn't particularly good in coverage, but he's awesome in run support and has a knack for knocking out opposing players - especially if they happen to be New England Patriots.

    8. Bryant McKinnie, OT, Ravens. Age: 33.
      Re-signed with Ravens (2 years)

      Bryant McKinnie can still be a quality left tackle if he keeps his weight under control, but that's been a big issue for him. He was awesome during Baltimore's Super Bowl run, but can he maintain his motivation?

    9. Cary Williams, CB, Ravens. Age: 28.
      Signed with Eagles

      Cary Williams had some rough outings in 2012, but mostly played solidly at corner for the Ravens, holding down the fort after Lardarius Webb was lost for the year.

    10. Arthur Jones (RFA), DE/DT, Ravens. Age: 27.
      Tendered by Ravens (original)

      Arthur Jones broke into the starting lineup in the middle of the season and performed well, stopping the run effectively and getting to the quarterback on occasion.

    11. Ed Dickson (RFA), TE, Ravens. Age: 26.
      Tendered by Ravens (2nd round)

      Ed Dickson has lots of potential, but he's never developed into the type of receiving threat the Ravens hoped he'd become when they took him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

    12. Ramon Harewood (RFA), OT/G, Ravens. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Ravens
    13. James Ihedigbo, S, Ravens. Age: 29. -- Re-signed with Ravens (1 year)
    14. Ryan McBean, DT, Ravens. Age: 29.
    15. Maake Kemoeatu, NT, Ravens. Age: 34.
    16. Dennis Dixon, QB, Ravens. Age: 28. -- Signed with Eagles (2 years)
    17. Billy Bajema, TE, Ravens. Age: 30.
    18. Bobbie Williams, G, Ravens. Age: 36.
    19. Brendon Ayanbadejo, ILB, Ravens. Age: 36.
    20. Sean Considine, S, Ravens. Age: 30.
    21. Ricky Brown, ILB, Ravens. Age: 29.
    22. Chris Johnson, CB, Ravens. Age: 33. -- Re-signed with Ravens
    23. David Reed (RFA), WR, Ravens. Age: 26.


    2013 NFL Free Agent Positions:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades

    NFL Free Agents - April 17


    2015 NFL Mock Draft - April 17


    2014 NFL Mock Draft - April 16


    Fantasy Football Rankings - March 28


    2014 NBA Mock Draft - March 26


    NFL Picks - Feb. 2



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