The Baltimore Ravens already boasted a talented secondary, but the addition of safety Earl Thomas gives them claim to being the best unit in the entire NFL.
When Ed Reed retired, it was fair to question how the Baltimore Ravens would ever replace him, or at least fill the void he left at safety. The NFL Draft has always been the team’s best friend, but too many times they’ve swung and missed on safeties. Guys like Matt Elam and Terrance Brooks haunt Baltimore for their failed attempts.
The one area the Ravens have had success at adding safety talent is via Free Agency. In 2016, the team added Eric Weddle, who was recently cut within the last week but gave Baltimore three pro Bowl seasons. Then in 2017, the Ravens signed Tony Jefferson, who has since become a mainstay and leader on defense. Now in 2019, Baltimore has added the biggest name of all: Earl Thomas.
When it comes to debates over who the top safety in the NFL is, it starts and ends with Earl Thomas. Since being drafted 14th overall in 2010, Thomas has put the fear of God into opposing quarterbacks as a ball-hawk and hard-hitter. Although he’s getting long in the tooth now (turns 30-years old on May 7th) and is coming off a season in which he broke his leg, Thomas remains among the greats of the last decade.
Thomas is no stranger to good secondaries, captaining the Seattle Seahawks legendary “Legion of Boom” throughout the mid-2010s. While there, Thomas played leader to a defense full of talent, including two potential Hall of Famers in cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor.
Now in Baltimore, Thomas might feel right at home again.
The new lock-down secondary:
The Ravens not only host a talented secondary, but it is beautifully put together with both youth and versed players. Thomas joins the aforementioned Jefferson to form a dominant safety duo, and Anthony Levine, a.k.a. the Co-Captain, is as good a nickel-safety as you’ll ever find. The cornerback group is deadly, with underrated stars Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young taking command. Behind them are incredible veterans like Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr, as well as a developing, young talent in Anthony Averett.
With the combination of these eight players, and potential contributors in the form of guys like DeShon Elliott, Cyrus Jones, Chuck Clark and others, it’s hard not to fall in love with this secondary. After losing key players in the front-seven in linebacker C.J. Mosley and edge rushers Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith, it becomes pivotal that this secondary becomes the defense’s biggest difference maker.
Over the next few months, the Baltimore Ravens will continue to add talent to its defense to fill in holes left from Free Agency departures. Linebackers and edge rushers are needed now more than ever. However, a good secondary can mask weaknesses on a defense, and the Ravens secondary is loaded with talent; enough to warrant the claim to being the best in the entire NFL.