Do the Baltimore Ravens need to add a defensive lineman

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens offense is going to be better, and no one can argue that. However, the defense that was nearly elite last season is starting to face more questions. One big question will be along the interior defensive line.

Are Baltimore Ravens thin on defensive line?

The plan for the team is typically to keep six interior players along the defensive line, then have five active on gamedays. As they stand right now, the top five would be Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington, Michael Pierce, Travis Jones, and Brent Urban.

Then, they would be looking for Rayshad Nichols, Kai Caesar, or Trey Botts to land that sixth job. Still, Nichols was a UDFA last year, and the two others are UDFAs this year, so there will be questions about their development.

Beyond that, the top five is essentially swapping out Calais Campbell for Michael Pierce. Pierce is a known veteran, so it does not look devastating on paper, but that is a pretty big drop-off.

Pierce is also going to be 32, and before missing all of 2022, he was struggling with the Vikings. Beyond that, Washington was asked to step up when Pierce went down, and he did. Still, now he is filling in for shoes that Campbell is wearing as much, if not more than Pierce is. That is asking for another step from him.

They need another step from Travis Jones, especially because there is a real chance he will finish with more snaps than Pierce when all is said and done. Still, Jones was up-and-down last season, and the team needs more out of the third-round pick.

So, we can tell the story where Washington and Jones are better as they get older, and Pierce gives one decent season as a rotational piece. Still, the same story could be that the depth is thin, and they are missing Campbell big time. An injury or setback from Pierce has this team with two UDFAs on the roster.

The Ravens threw a lot of options at cornerback and are hoping for one to stick. It may not be the worst idea to add a veteran who may not be guaranteed a roster spot, but at least could come in and work during training camp. This could push the younger guys, and keep the veterans on their toes as well.

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If the Ravens do not, they probably have a lot of faith in the trio of Nichols, Botts, or Caesar to do something as depth.