5 reasons Baltimore Ravens could have best defense in the NFL in 2023

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Ravens are a team known for their defense. Their Super Bowls are both with key defenders in big roles. However, all of the talk this offseason is about the offense. Lamar Jackson is signed, Ronnie Stanley is healthy, and the skill players are as good as we have seen.

However, as always in Baltimore, the defense will be what this team is all about. While the offense may finally be on the same level, this defense has a chance to be the real deal as well. Why will the Ravens' defense be one of the best in the NFL?

5. The Baltimore Ravens defense dramatically improved with Roquan Smith

A pretty quick switch flipped the second that the Baltimore Ravens traded for Roquan Smith. He came into the middle of the defense, and things changed. They were an average defense early in the season, but they closed the year as one of the best in the NFL.

The reality is that Smith had a huge impact on all of the players around him. He took so much mental pressure off of Patrick Queen that he finally was playing free again and began to make more impact plays. With Queen flying around, the team was able to get more versatile with their secondary defenders in the nickel and dime looks.

Beyond that, Smith was the man in the middle, stout against the run but also in the passing game. The crazy thought is that he did this all while being traded in the middle of the season. What is his encore going to be when it comes to year two?

The Ravens were also aided by the schedule towards the end of last year, but they did not draw the worst schedule either knowing that they have the NFC West and AFC South this year. When you add in that the schedule will not be daunting, and now Smith is in year two, the stats from the second half of the season may be right where they were.