Ravens OTA Depth Chart Analysis: Linebacker
With the Baltimore Ravens Organized Team Activities fully underway, I will be going through the Ravens position by position breaking down the depth and the competition. I will be categorizing players into one of three spots; locks to make the team, bubble players, and longshots.
Locks: Terrell Suggs(16th), C.J. Mosely(5th), Patrick Onwuasor(3rd), Matthew Judon(3rd), Za’Darius Smith(4th), Tyus Bowser(2nd), Tim Williams(2nd), Kenny Young(R)
The outside linebacker position is an interesting situation for the Ravens. The young guys of Judon, Bowser, and Williams will gain from another year of training. Suggs will not. While Suggs may be the best shape in his life from the new training regimen, but Father Time cannot be stopped. At 35 years old he is slowing down regarding foot speed and game speed. While he did have some good moments at the end of the season, if you look at the stats you can see the drop off.
Bowser and Williams should be able to contribute this year as they adjust to NFL game speed. Judon will hopefully be able to keep up the production from last year. Smith is a wild card, going into a contract year and from the consistent improvement we have seen from him, he could have a big year.
The inside linebacker position suffered last year. C. J. was fantastic against the run and that’s how he got his Pro Bowl nod. Against the pass however C. J. was not able to cover Tight Ends, but he did have success against backs. Peanut is really an oversized safety and I do not think he is starting material. Young should be watched and since there is such a lack of depth he could be a surprise starter.
Bubble: Kamalei Correa(3rd), Albert McClellan(8th), Bam Bradley(2nd)
The Ravens linebacker room is already stuffed so there will not spots for all three. Correa and Albert are very similar players in that they can play inside and outside linebacker. Albert has experience and was hurt last season, but Correa is young and has a high ceiling. Bam looked good in the preseason and in the few games he got into had some nice hits.
Long shots: Alvin Jones(R),
Practice squad candidate.
This squad has some legitimate talent but some glaring holes. I think that the spot next to Mosely is the biggest hole and I do not think that the answer is in the building. Daryl Smith came into the Ravens building late in the season. I think Correa has the best chance to make the team because even though he has not played well, the coaches blame them selves for throwing to much at him. Will he ever be a star? No, but he can fill the role of all position linebacker cheaper and better than Albert.
Bowser is my pick for surprise player to dominate. As the season progresses and Suggs slows down that will be an opportunity for Bowser, Williams, and Smith will have chances to prove themselves.