For the first time in as long as I can remember, the Ravens have some serious question marks at the inside linebacker position.
L.J Fort and Josh Bynes played admirably after being thrown into the mix in the middle of the season, but there is not a long-term option on the roster right now. Josh Bynes is coming off of a good year, but he is a pending free agent and will be 30 at the start of the season, so the Ravens need to start searching for replacements. Here are some options the Ravens have in 2020.
Option number 1: Acquire Kenneth Murray in the 2020 NFL Draft.
There has been a ton of buzz regarding Kenneth Murray possibly becoming a Baltimore Raven in 2020. The hype is well deserved though, Murray looks like he could come into the NFL and immediately be one of the faster linebackers. The term “shot out of a cannon” is very applicable to Murray as he does have very impressive sideline to sideline speed. He had a very solid career at Oklahoma and will be a sought after player come draft time.
There are concerns with Murray though. The downside to being an athletic linebacker is that overrunning the play or running yourself out of a play can become an issue. According to pro football focus, Murray missed 50 tackles in three years. That is extremely troubling and will not work at the NFL level. It also might suggest that Murray will need some time to develop more in the NFL, but given the situation, the Ravens are in at inside linebacker he will probably be asked to start right away. As Ravens fans have seen this year with Patrick Onwausor, inside linebacker is a tough position to play and having a rookie start might make some fans uneasy.
The upside for Murray is undeniable though. He has the physical traits that NFL teams look for in linebackers, Murray has the speed and length that fit the mold of the modern linebacker. Covering will be a huge ask of Murray, and though he has the physical tools to cover, actually doing it has been more challenging. In his three years at Oklahoma, Murray did not have an interception and only broke up four passes. If he wants to succeed in the NFL he will need to become more proficient against the pass. I do like Murray as a prospect, but I think that he will need some time to grow into his role. If the Ravens do select Murray with their first-round pick, I think that he will start, but Chuck Clark will continue to wear the green dot and make the calls on defense until Murray is ready.