By Ben Babcock
Offseason Grade: C
It was a very quiet offseason in Baltimore this year. The Ravens didn’t have a ton of cap space going into the offseason, right around $9 million, but they certainly weren’t short of needs either. Ever since their super bowl victory in 2013 they’ve been on a downhill slope. Their defense have almost all either retired or left, and what remains is getting old too. Joe Flacco has been average, and they haven’t had a solid running back since cutting Ray Rice. While they weren’t horrible last season, going 9-7, they aren’t exactly looking better.
They lost running back Danny Woodhead and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, which weren’t really huge loses. They also didn’t improve much either. They made some good moves bringing in wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown, which really boosts their offense. Also bringing back offensive lineman James Hurst, they’ve managed to keep their offense together. And while Alex Collins had a pretty good season in 2017, I wouldn’t count on him doing that again going forward. So the Ravens could also use a new running back. The only problem is they still don’t have a tight end or much depth on the offensive line. Oh and Joe Flacco is kind a gettin old. Flacco has the third worst season of his career last year and took some pretty big hits. They need to either protect him or start developing a successor.
The defense is the real problem on this team right now. They lost cornerbacks Lardarius Webb and Brandon Boykin and two of their top defensive players are coming to the end of their careers. Safety Eric Weddle is still playing well for Baltimore but really only has 2-3 years left and the same goes for defensive end Terrell Suggs. C.J. Mosley and Tony Jefferson are the only other established players on this team with multiple years ahead of them. They should start rebuilding around those two players if they want to have one of the top defenses in the league again.
The Ravens have some good options in this year’s draft at no.16, and with plenty of needs to address there’s many different things they could do. For whatever reason, there have been a lot of analysts saying the Ravens will pick WR Calvin Ridley at no.16. I personally don’t understand why they would do this after just signing Crabtree and Brown. I would add to the O-line or secondary first, and there are good options at those positions in the middle of the first round. Some of these being; OG Isaiah Wynn from Georgia, OT Connor Williams from Texas, CB Jaire Alexander from Louisville, or CB Joshua Jackson from Iowa. Any of these would be good picks considering the fact that the Ravens aren’t very deep on the offensive line and they took a bit of a hit at the cornerback position this offseason. Since they are also weak at tight end, I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent their second or third round pick on one of the few tight ends available in this year’s draft. Durham Smythe could be a good fit for Baltimore, even though he isn’t the most talented tight end in the draft he is the best blocker out of them all, and still has a high ceiling when it comes to his receiving abilities.
The Ravens still have a strong team but aren’t anywhere close to catching the Steelers in the AFC North. To be honest, they’re going to have to rebuild within the next couple years with Weddle, Suggs, and Flacco all approaching the end of their careers. They aren’t going to be able to retake the AFC North with the group they have, so developing new leaders should be one of their priorities. The Ravens didn’t do a whole lot this offseason in terms of improvement. They beefed up their wide receivers but took a small step backwards on defense. It’s hard to do much with such little cap space, but they really should’ve made more moves on defense.