The Baltimore Ravens have had a history of great middle linebackers. With Ray Lewis retired, the Ravens did not miss much of a beat with Daryl Smith stepping in in 2013 and providing leadership and great play. Now the Ravens have added C.J. Mosley to the linebacking core and further strengthened the position.
The middle linebacking core should be a strength for the Ravens in 2014. They are young and talented and lead by a great leader in Smith.
Now onto the analysis.
1. Daryl Smith: Smith may be up there in age but he is in great shape and I think he will have success similar to last season as he will be the Ravens’ leader on defense again this season. Smith is an every down linebacker who plays the run and coverage well. For more on Smith check out his player profile.
2. C.J. Mosley: The Ravens did not select Mosley to sit on the bench. While he may not play every snap, he should still get his far share. I can see Mosley starting right away and being solid and he’s impressed coaches in both mini camps and training camp. It’s early but look for big things from Mosley.
3. Arthur Brown: The Ravens drafted Brown in the second round of the 2013 draft and he showed small flashes of promise in his rookie season. He’s a talented player but was slowed by injuries last season and only had 15 tackles. Brown will probably be the team’s third middle linebacker and will see a good amount of playing time. The Ravens still hope for big things from him.
4. Josh Bynes: Bynes saw a lot of action last season with 45 tackles and he should be a lock to make the Ravens’ roster. Bynes will likely see his playing time reduced but will still play a lot of special teams. Bynes is a heavy hitter – even without great coverage skills and a solid linebacker who provides great depth.
5. Albert McClellan: McClellan is another linebacker who provides the Ravens depth and special teams play. McClellan can play both outside and inside linebacker, which adds to his value; although, he is a better outside linebacker and pass rusher than inside. And while he’ll likely not see much time at middle linebacker, he will be on the team for his overall value.
6. Austin Spitler: Spitler is a veteran player but has not shown much for his career. Spitler is a training camp player with a very slim chance at making the team.
7. Zachary Orr: Orr is an undrafted rookie who will likely only be a training camp body. He needs to play well to make the practice squad.