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  1. #1
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    The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft



    First, I care about you folks reading this. To prove it I have a fainting couch available 24/7. I am sure a few of you will need it just from the thread title.

    Yes the offense sucks with some major holes in it. But the defense also has some serious problems was we saw with them regularly giving up late fourth quarter TD's this year. If the defense didn't do that we'd be in the playoffs even with a sucky offense. So while I am not saying that Ozzie must go defense first and last, he must address at least some of the problems on that side of the ball.

    Honestly I am satisfied with the play of the defense this year because with the amount of turnover the team needed to let happen from an already very average defense it could have been much worse. But overhauling the defense is a multiyear project; we can't just say that the defense dominated last year's draft so it is now the offense's turn. Not if you want to field a competitive team next year. I am not asking to find final solutions to the defense in the draft but hopefully some of the holes can be addressed and the team can get back to having real depth again. Let's look further by position group.

    Safety- Two problems here. 1) There is no depth behind the starters. Omar, Trawick, and Levine should make you remember fondly the Nakamura and Zibby years in terms of depth. Remember when the team could start a Jim Leonard-quality safety when a starter got hurt? We were extremely lucky this year that Elam and Ihedigbo didn't get hurt. Gambling on that happening two years in a row is just asking for it. We need depth here.

    2) The bigger problem through is that we don't have a free safety since Michael Huff flamed out. Elam and Ihedigbo tried their darndest and Elam has a long futrure with the club as a starter but we need a real free safety. And if Ihedigbo gets a better contract elsewhere then the team is in serious difficulty. Given the cap position it makes sense to at least look at the draft to help with this problem. It is unlikely that the team will draft Clinton-Dix in round 1 but there are other safeties that the team should look at. Guys like Bailey, Boston, Ladler, Whitely, and Brooks.

    Cornerback- Seems like if the team loses Corey Graham in free agency then definitely they will be looking for a young replacement. That becomes all the more clear when realizing that Jimmy Smith will command big bucks to stay on the team the year after and we might not have the cash to pay him. One other thing: you hear from various pundits like say Daniel Jeremiah that CB is an absolute position of weakness on the team. Cb is a deep position this year so one could imagine that even if the team keeps Graham that they draft a CB in rounds 2-5.

    Inside linebacker- Oy vey. The Ravens got away with duct tape and bailing twine at ILB this year. We had Darrel Smith (good vs the pass, good defensive play caller, average at best vs the run, plus is way over 30) who is going to free agency, and really not much else. I'm not writing off Arthur Brown but so far he's clueless as to what to do. He's chasing the game. The lightbulb hasn't gone on for him like it has for Elam. Bynes and McClain (he of the bloated contract and should be cut this offseason) are pretty useless vs the pass. We need another ILB.

    You'd have to think that if CJ Mosley is unpicked by the time the Ravens pick that Ozzie would look long and hard at pulling the trigger, even with the offensive needs. But if the team gets to round 2 and later and needs a ILB there are a few that could help out. Skov would be a great compliment to Brown going forward. Chris Borland and Christian Jones also should provide value for next year if picked in rounds 2 or 3. There's a few other mid-to-late round picks that could work out as well.

    Defensive line- Most likely we are losing Art Jones. Terrance Cody should also be allowed to leave. We do have Kapron Lewis-Moore next year. I can imagine then that the team would like another mid-to-late round DL guy, preferably one who can push the pocket.

    OLB- Let's say Suggs comes back. That would leave this position group with the best depth and quality of all of the defense. That's good. But Suggs and Dumervil are both over 30-something to keep in mind and would be a factor if the team were to let Suggs go. Would the team then be copasetic with Hamilton and Simon moving into the rotation? One other thing: Upshaw didn't really improve in his sophmore year. I am not advocating that we do something personal-wise about that but it is something to be aware of when next year starts. I hope he gets competition is what I am saying.

    There. This post is more to open the discussion of defensive solutions in the draft. I'm still on board for a Mike Evans in round 1. I hope that Rick Wagner is viewed by the team as Oher's replacement, but it is hope cause none of us here can say with anything close to positive conviction that Wagner will be ready. And if not we have to draft an OT by day 2 at the latest. Somewhere though we will draft multiple defenders. As Bill Walsh said, you can scheme offense to do better but you absolutely need talent on defense to do well.




  2. #2
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    Re: The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft

    I think you pose an interesting thought, but the problem is they invested fairly heavily on the defensive side of the ball this past off-season and IMO the return on value just isn't there.

    Additionally, you need an offense that can score, score and score some more. Denver's defense is a lot better than what their personnel would suggest because teams are constantly playing from behind against them. The Ravens have a QB that can hang with the best of them and they've got some good players. What they don't have are play makers at any of the skill positions. To make matters worse, the OL has been dreadful this season.
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  3. #3

    Re: The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft

    Your points are valid but the offense is a mess and with the cap situation and likely permanent decline of Ray Rice weapons and lineman need to be added thru the draft because we simply can't afford to add adequate FA's talented enough to fix the issues.

    The defense is a more than formidable one. I think it's important Elam and Arthur Brown grow as reliable starters. Asa Jackson I think has upside as a nickel corner, Tyson is showing he can handle more snaps, Lewis-Moore I think could play Tyson's current role next yr, etc. I think Oz layered the talent very well on defense. Guys have go theu their natural progression, as long as that happens as anticipated and Oz finds some bargains as he always seems to do I think they'll be just fine on D.




  4. #4

    Re: The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft

    Good points. All of them. However, I think that the FO & Harbs are willing to let the youngsters grow.
    I do believe and agree that FS and ILB are key spots to fill.
    Back to the AFCCG we go. So get ready!

    Team MVP to-date: Rick Wagner and C.J. Mosley (tie)

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  5. #5
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    Re: The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft

    There ARE some valid points here, but on a whole, I have to disagree with you. There is just no question that the offense has way more holes than the defense has, and the 4th quarter lapses are rather more of the ineptitude of the offense and the play calling from Pees, rather than the players. You also don't fill holes through the draft, I just don't understand this on going perception that the draft is something used to fill holes with. The previous draft was heavy on defense, yet only our first rd pick ended up starting, and that was because Huff totally flamed out. Rookies take time, and even though these days, teams do find day 1 starters in later rounds, its still pretty rare that they are effective. I am willing to make a bet that unless we go with Clinton Dix in the first rd (which I think we shouldn't), we wont have a day 1 starter at FS. We're better off signing a guy like Ryan Mundy on the cheap to fill that hole. We can also get by at ILB, I am pretty confident Arthur Brown will grow into being a starter next season, he has to be given more shots at winning that job too. Besides, vet ILBs are pretty darn cheap, Daryl Smith could easily be re-signed if we want him.

    We need to get some young play making studs in the draft, and it wont be at the expense of the defense IMO, especially if we get a new DC who can be aggressive.




  6. #6
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    Re: The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft

    Everyone: great comments and I basically agree with you. The offense takes first priority even if safety and ILB concern me. I can practically taste Evans in the 1st.

    What will be interesting is to see what the team thinks of Wagner, Gradkowski, Jensen, KO (back from injury?), Juice check, Arthur Brown and yes, Dennis Pitta-who I don't think is a must sign at all costs kind of guy cause there's obvious big time talent at TE this year in the draft.

    - With Wagner- is he gonna get a serious look at RT? Does the team think he can develop there? If not than we need a RT by the end of day 2.
    - With Jensen and Gradkowski- does the team feel that one of them can become the long term solution? If not then it looks like there's a few centers in the mid-rounds that the Ravens can pick.
    - With KO we just need to see if he's healed. If we are worried then we need to address depth on the OL in a serious way. Might do that anyway.
    - With Pitta it is all about the contract, all the while knowing that there are 3-5 really good TE's in the draft. And then there's Juice check. Is he the wild card in the TE thinking process?

    Notice that I am not bringing up our WR's in this decision process. I think it is pretty clear that while Tory and Marlon are in the long term future plans of the team, the others-Doss, Thompson, Mellette and even Jacoby if he resigns with us-aren't good for much more than special teams/returning kicks work. The biggest hole the team has is WR and the team has to look outside the organization for answers immediately. No other position is quite like that.




  7. #7
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    Re: The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft

    The offensive line has been one of the major weaknesses this year, we all know that, but before the season began, we had on of the best Olines in football on paper, so it is strange how things work out.

    Surprisingly to many, I don't think we need to draft any linemen high this year, but rather sign some vets, providing the following happens.

    They are confident that KO can come back healthy and start at LG next season.
    Monroe is resigned.
    Wagner is in serious consideration for the starting RT job.

    With all that said, we still could do with a vet at C to compete with Gino (I'm going to continue to bang on the door for Jonathan Goodwin), and a vet RT (maybe Eric Winston).

    I think those 3 questions are more on our side than not. With how treatment is for top level athletes these days, I have a good feeling that KO can come back strong, he did have the surgery a while ago now, and will be given plenty of time to recover. Despite the bleak cap situation, I think Monroe has a better than average chance of being resigned, he will be the top priority this offseason, and we will probably back load his deal as we do with most of our players, so in reality, his cap figure wont be all that high next season. Finally, I have a good feeling about Wagner, purely on how he performed at LT in the preseason. He did have a nightmare when he came on for Oher against Denver at RT, but given the circumstance at the time, I think he deserves a pass for that. I actually already predict that Wagner is our starting RT next season.




  8. #8

    Re: The Case for a Defense-heavy Draft

    Personally, I am of the belief that the defenses issues are more due to schematics and coaching preparation than talent. I just can't get Chuck Pagano out of my head. How he showed up after Mattison, pulled Cary Williams off of the bench (When he should have been starting for Mattison, but didn't fit what Mattison wanted to do), finally told Kruger that he would be an OLB (While Mattison almost exclusively had him in a stance), and with the re-emergence of Terrell Suggs, which I have to admit was very important, the defense looked more like a Ravens defense should look.

    All this team is really missing is a FS, so that Elam can move to his more natural position, a true thumper at ILB, to put beside Brown in the future, and an interior pass rusher, which could be Pernell McPhee who they oddly tried to turn into an OLB. Otherwise, it is a matter of depth, as you mentioned, which is an issue every season for all teams.

    I am of the belief that, in today's NFL, it is easier to build a dominant and aggressive offense that can get you a two TD lead, than it is to build a high quality defense that will hold a three point lead. The closest example this year is Seattle and I think we all hear the questions that are being asked about that unit behind the scenes.

    In the past, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were the two best players on the team, outside of Jonathan Ogden, so it made sense to build around them. Now, honestly, Joe Flacco might be the best player on the team. It's time to build around him.

    Most of it, in my opinion, is coaching on both sides of the ball. However, if I had to choose a side that need an injection of talent more, it would be the offense.
    "When questioned, the Elders explained that they were in search of magical powers. However, they're actually searching for the whereabouts of a certain ring. This ring is a legendary treasure that long ago was known to exist"




  9. #9
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    The 2014 Ravens Draft Thread

    To get us started, here are some guys that I've been tracking and think would be good fits for what Baltimore does offensively and defensively. We all know about Eric Ebron, Mike Evans and CJ Mosley.

    Here are some others...this is not round-specific.

    Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU (6'3" 240lbs). He can play ILB, OLB and he is a hell of a pass rusher. Possibly a 2nd rounder.


    TJ Jones, WR, Notre Dame (5'11" 190lbs). Reminds me a lot of Randall Cobb.


    James Franklin, QB, Missouri (6'2" 235lbs). He's strong, mobile and he has a nice arm. I think he'd be a better back up QB option over Tyrod. He can do all of the things Tyrod can do, but he can actually put passes on receivers as well.
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  10. #10
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    Re: The 2014 Ravens Draft Thread

    I've seen Van Noy in the late 1st so far. Way too early but athletic do it all linebackers have been all the rage in recent drafts. I have a feeling he will be a 1st round pick.
    He Who Dares.....Wins




  11. #11
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    Re: The 2014 Ravens Draft Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    I've seen Van Noy in the late 1st so far. Way too early but athletic do it all linebackers have been all the rage in recent drafts. I have a feeling he will be a 1st round pick.
    I'm thinking late 1st, high 2nd.
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  12. #12
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    Re: The 2014 Ravens Draft Thread

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins officially declares for NFL draft.
    http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports...for-nfl-draft/
    Milk is for babies. When you grow up, you have to drink beer.

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