The Ravens hammered away at their offensive needs but they didn’t ignore the defense in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Baltimore Ravens certainly focused on the offense in the 2018 NFL Draft. Lamar Jackson is expected to be the successor to Joe Flacco. The offensive line got a big addition in Orlando Brown Jr. and the Ravens drafted two tight ends. While the Ravens main priority in this draft was fixing the offense, the Ravens helped their defense as well.
The Ravens ended up drafting three defensive players. They added to their secondary later on in the draft by taking Anthony Averett and DeShon Elliott. Averett is a scrappy cornerback from Alabama while Elliott is a safety with ball skills and toughness. The Ravens secondary is now loaded to the point where it may be the strongest area of the team.
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At cornerback the Ravens have Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey as their main two cornerbacks. Smith is an elite cornerback when he is on the field, and he is on pace to be ready for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills. Marlon Humphrey showed that he has the chance to become an elite pass defender as well in his rookie year.
Averett makes the Ravens six cornerbacks deep. Depth at that position is a good thing. Jimmy Smith is an injury prone player, it’s a passing league and secondary depth has burned the Ravens in the past. The Ravens shutdown cornerbacks in their top two spots, but Tavon Young and Muarice Cannady have proven to be playmakers as well.
At safety the Ravens have Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson. That’s a respectable duo and it could yield elite results if the Ravens new defensive coordinator, Wink Martindale, uses Jefferson better than Dean Pees did. Elliott figures to be the next in line at free safety once Eric Weddle retires. Elliott has upside and could prove to be a steal in the sixth round. He has time to develop which helps him. In the meantime he should become a solid contributor on special teams.
The Bottom Line:
The Ravens also added to the defense with the addition of Kenny Young in the fourth round. Young gives the Ravens an awful lot of athleticism at the inside linebacker position if he can earn Zach Orr’s old spot. The Ravens defense hasn’t been the same since Orr was forced to retire due to injury. Young is a player to watch once the preseason gets underway. If he can start the Ravens defense could get faster at the linebacker position.
In a draft where the Ravens managed to take care of the offenses biggest needs the defense got some help as well. Every way you look at it, the Ravens got the job done in the 2018 NFL Draft.