The Baltimore Ravens had a few people worried about their defense after losing the likes of Paul Kruger and Ed Reed to name two. After adding free agency and the NFL draft most critics can now be silenced.
The Ravens went defense heavy on their draft their top four picks were defensive players. Safety Matt Elam was the Ravens first-round pick who will help replace the loss of Ed Reed. Elam may not be a ball hawk like Reed is but he is a talented safety and at this point is younger and faster than the aging Reed. Elam will have a chance to start right away and be a difference maker for the Ravens. The signing of Michael Huff also helps the safety depth which also lost Bernard Pollard.
Linebacker was another issue for the Ravens and that was answered by signing Rolando McClain and drafting Arthur Brown in the second round. McClain keeps getting in trouble and is not a sure thing but Brown can play middle and outside linebacker and will add talent and depth.
The Ravens added a lot of pieces to their defensive line. One of my favorite picks in this years draft was the third-round pick Brandon Williams a defensive tackle. Williams is not your average 300+ pound player he is athletic enough to walk on his hands. I can see him making an impact right away. The Ravens also added defensive end John Simon in the fourth round of the draft and Kapron Lewis-Moore in the sixth round.
Lewis-Moore is not expected to make an impact this year after suffering a knee injury. Lewis-Moore will likely be place on the PUP or injured reserve to start the season.
Keep in mind the Ravens also added some free agents on the defensive line like Elvis Dumervil.
I personally love what the Ravens did in free agency and in the draft. They were able to cut salary and add talent/depth while still getting younger and less injury prone. The only really hard loss was Paul Kruger who was replaced by Dumervil.
A lot of Super Bowl winning teams try to keep the veterans that won the Super Bowl. To do that they restructure contracts that end up hurting them in the future. The Ravens went the other way and got younger and it may end up helping them repeat more than the veterans. Competing regularly means incoming depth and talent, the Ravens did that.