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The Quest for the Lombardi – Baltimore Ravens

Thomas Solarik March 25, 2012 NFLTR Features, Ravens No Comments

 BALTIMORE RAVENS

2011 Record: 12-4 (6-0) AFC North Champions

  • Won in the AFC Divisional Finals over the Houston Texans, 20-13.
  • Lost in the AFC Championship to the New England Patriots, 23-20.

 

Passing Offence – 213.9 (19th)

QB Joe Flacco: 3,610; 20 / 12

WR Anquan Boldin: 57 – 887 / 3TDs

WR Torrey Smith: 50 – 841 / 7TDs

 

Passing Defence – 196.3 (4th)

CB Lardarius Webb: 5INTs

OLB Terrell Suggs: 14 Sacks

 

Rushing Offence – 124.8 (10th)

HB Ray Rice: 291 – 1,364 / 12TDs

HB Ricky Williams: 108 – 441 / 2TDs

 

Rushing Defence – 92.6 (2nd)

ILB Ray Lewis: 95 Tackles

ILB Jameel McClain: 84 Tackles

 

Notable Arrivals:

LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (Re-signed, 3 yr / 3.21$ million)

C Matt Birk (Re-signed, 3 yr / 8.52$ million)

S Sean Considine (Cardinals, Signed– 1 yr / undisclosed contract)

CB Corey Graham (Bears, Signed – 2 yr / 3.7$ million)

LB Jameel McClain (Re-signed – 3 yr / 10.5$ million)

HB Ray Rice (Franchised Tagged, Yet to Sign)

 

Notable Departures:

OG Ben Grubbs (Saints, Signed – 5 yr / 36$ million)

LB Jarret Johnson (Chargers, Signed – 4 yr / 19$ million)

S Haruki Nakamura (Panthers, Signed – 3 yr / 4.8$ million)

DT Cory Redding (Colts, Signed – 3 yr / 10.5$ million)

S Tom Zbikowski (Colts, Signed – 3 yr / 5.5$ million)

 

Draft Order 

  • 1st Rd Pick – 29th
  • 2nd Rd Pick – 28th
  • 3rd Rd Pick – 28th
  • 4th Rd Pick – 45th (Compensatory Pick)
  • 5th Rd Pick – 29th
  • 5th Rd Pick – 34th
  • 6th Rd Pick – 29th
  • 7th Rd Pick – 29th

 

Last Five First Round Picks:

  • 2007 Ben Grubbs G (29th Overall) – Signed with the Saints this off-season to a 5 yr / 36$ million contract. Baltimore didn’t have the cap space to keep him after he came in his rookie season and never let go of the position and is considered one of the top Offensive Guards in the NFL.
  • 2008 Joe Flacco QB (18th Overall) – Came in as a rookie from a Division 1-AA with a cannon arm and in need of some polishing, but took home the Rookie of the Tear award. Has progressed well, but not at the rate the Ravens would like, especially with their Super Bowl window closing.
  • 2009 Michael Oher OT (23rd Overall) – Quickly stepped in and has been protecting Flacco’s blindside since. Yet he possesses all the ability to be an All-Pro, but has not been making the best of the opportunities.
  • 2010 – NO DRAFT PICK – (25th Overall) – Baltimore traded this selection to Denver for a second-round selection (LB Sergio Kindle), a third-round selection (TE Ed Dickson), and a fourth-round selection (TE Dennis Pitta)
  • 2011 Jimmy Smith CB (27th Overall) – Came in quickly and showed flashes to what he was able to do (2 INTs and 8 pass breakups). The Ravens will lean on him heavily this season.

 

Team Needs:

MLB – With each passing season, everyone continues to look in aw how effectively the league’s greatest middle linebacker to ever play the game in Ray Lewis thrives at his age. But at some point the Ravens need to start looking for someone to come in and replace Lewis when he decides to hang it up. There are some solid players in the middle (Ellerbe, Ayanbadejo, & McClellan), but they need a Ray Lewis 2.0.

  • Possible Pick – Don’t’a Hightower, Alabama – An aggressive force in the middle of Bama’s defence and reminds a lot of people of Jeremiah Trotter, stout and consistent. Would be an ideal person to learn for Lewis and then take over.

 

S – Each season everyone is waiting for Ed Reed to shake the injuries and return to his old self. But it hasn’t come and after 10 years in the league and multiple injuries has added up. Finding a new centerfield like Reed will be difficult, but needed. After losing two of their young safeties to free agency already Haruki Nakamura to the Panthers (3 yr / 4.8$ million) and Tom Zbikowski to the Colts (3 yr / 5.5$ million) its become precedent that a replacement is needed sooner than later.

  • Possible Pick – Mark Barron, Alabama – Blessed with the rare combination of size, strength and instincts such as Reed did coming out of Miami (Fla), he does possesses the play making ability that the Ravens need.

 

C – With one of the leagues strongest ground attacks, the Ravens know that Matt Birk won’t play for ever (Turns 36 in July) and will need someone to take the reigns to help with Flacco’s development. After losing Ben Grubbs, it becomes even more of a need to find a superior interior lineman, to play guard until Birk retires and can develop beside him.

  • Possible Pick – Peter Konz, Wisconsin – It’s rare that Centers are taken in the first round, but when they are they have never disappointed. With Konz this trend can continue, he has the size, mobility and quick feet that allow him to be effect at the next level, whether it’s at guard or center.

 

 

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