Baltimore Ravens Face Uncertainty At Linebacker Positions
The Baltimore Ravens certainly face uncertainty at the linebacker positions. The Ravens cut Daryl Smith to save cap space. Nobody knows what to expect from Terrell Suggs who suffered his second major leg injury. With that in mind, Elvis Dumervil will we see? The Dumervil experience in 2014 included 17 sacks but in 2015 he had just six.
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Clouding matters even more is the incident Terrell Suggs was involved in. Suggs had a minor car accident. According to reports nobody was hurt but Suggs was driving with a suspended liscence and may have left the scene. At first I decided not to write about it, it did not seem overly relevant to football. But if Suggs is suspended this is more than just another example that our heroes are not perfect.
The Ravens are very likely to draft a linebacker in the 2016 NFL Draft. Before the roster cut of Smith, it seemed like a lock that the Ravens would draft a pass rusher. Now inside linebacker becomes an option. If the Ravens don’t draft an interior linebacker, it is a vote of confidence in either Arthur Brown or Zachary Orr. Brown was expected to be a star when the Ravens traded up to get him in the second round. Brown has struggled to get on the field while Orr has gotten some valuable experience. Orr racked up 22 tackles and 1 sack in limited playing time in 2015.
One thing the Ravens know is that they have two great players in C.J Mosley and Elvis Dumervil. If Suggs joins them with no lingering effects from his injury the Ravens have three great players in the second level of their defense.
There is a misperception that Dumervil’s dip in production is a result of a dip in performance. The truth is that the only thing that changed were his circumstances. With Suggs on the other side, Dumervil could pin his ears back and focus solely on crushing quarterbacks. Without Suggs he had to be a more rounded player and do all the things that Suggs did for them. The question is can the Ravens put Dumervil back into a spot where he can be a force to be reckoned with?
Courtney Upshaw, an unrestricted free agent needs to go. Upshaw had his big chance to shine when Suggs went down. Instead of just being a run stuffing outside linebacker the Ravens asked him to be an every down outside linebacker. He was asked to do it all. Upshaw was rather unimpressive in the 2015 season. While he showed promise in his rookie year, Upshaw never developed the way the Ravens had hoped.
Upshaw could come back at the right price. He isn’t a bad football player, he just isn’t a particularly great one either. It would probably be better for the Ravens to replace him with a rookie than to pay a premium for a veteran linebacker who often shows up to camp overweight.
Next: 2016 NFL Draft Profile: Myles Jack, LB UCLA
The Ravens have problems all over their defense. This is a defense that was far from dominant this past season. Regardless of their improvement in the second half of the season, the Ravens defense needs to be given more talent. With uncertainty all around the Ravens defense, especially at the linebacker positions, this must be a focus for the Ravens.