Despite the defensive casualties the Ravens have suffered due to free agency it doesn’t appear this team is ready to back down from its inherited title of being one of the most proficient defenses in the NFL.
When Baltimore decided to pick up safety Matt Elam at the end of the first round it became clear that a highly touted defense was the desired hallmark for this team to fulfill its desire to still be an intimidating force on the field.
While Elam may lack an imposing stature, he more than makes up for this weakness with his quickness and his ability to make open field tackles consistently. On top of that, his versatility to play both strong and free safety allows him to compete with the recent free agent acquisition Michael Huff. This type of competition will foster a new sense of defensive urgency and fortitude that will allow Baltimore to be more durable and consistently effective in the secondary game in and game out.
It seems that the Ravens are systematically trying to fill the voids that have been vacated by supreme legends, most specifically that of the future first ballot Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. This issue appeared to be addressed last night when Baltimore drafted Arthur Brown with the 56th overall pick in the second round. A Kansas State Wildcat, Brown was considered a first round draft pick, but ultimately dropped out of the first round due to his size. Like Ray Lewis, Brown is a secure tackler, and brings immense hard-hitting power to the field especially when attacking ball carriers in the open field. His lack of size also allows him to be an effective blitzer to quickly close open gaps.
For their final pick of the night, the Ravens selected defensive tackle Brandon Williams with the 94th overall pick in the 3rd round. His upper body strength and his quick reflexes allow Williams get off his blockers with a degree of swiftness and control that allows him to impose himself effectively on any offensive line man who stands in his way. On top of that, he is able to direct teammates effectively, allowing them to get a jump on almost any offensive scheme before it occurs. He can also line up anywhere on the defensive line, making him a versatile defensive powerhouse that is both persistently present and reliable.
While there are still four remaining rounds for the Ravens to bolster the rest of their team as a whole, the defense at this point has seemed to blossom into a youthful core of individuals that have the potential to reinvigorate a defense that has been injury prone the last couple of years.