Remaining Needs for the Ravens @Weddlesbeard/Twitter

Street Talk Remaining Needs for the Ravens

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When it comes to projecting what an NFL team will do in the draft, it is typically ideal to wait until after the first wave of free agency, when teams can address the remaining needs on the roster before resuming draft preparation.

This was the case for the Baltimore Ravens, when they addressed three positions of need: tight end (Benjamin Watson), safety (Eric Weddle) and wide receiver (Mike Wallace).

Unfortunately for the Ravens, the Weddle addition was a bit of a sideways move. His arrival was met with the release of Will Hill, who will serve a 10-game suspension to start the 2016 season.

Nonetheless, Baltimore capitalized on the free agency period with three solid additions to the roster, with potentially more to come. But adding these three veterans does not bring the roster construction to an end.

April’s draft gives the Ravens nine opportunities to add more talent to the roster.

Through the second wave of free agency and the draft, the Ravens will need to continue to fill holes and add quality players to the team.

Which positions need to be addressed?

Cornerback

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett hauls in the pass as Lardarius Webb fails to defend.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Moving Lardarius Webb to safety limits Baltimore’s options at cornerback, opening the door for additions. The return of Shareece Wright helps, but ideally he is not a clear-cut, uncontested starter.

In a perfect world, the Ravens add multiple cornerbacks, via the draft and free agency. Depending on how the board plays out, Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves could be quite the solid pick for the Ravens at 6.

If they wait until later to select a cornerback, the likes of Kendall Fuller and Artie Burns are talents to keep an eye on.

Safety

Saints WR Joe Morgan beats Ravens DB Lardarius Webb.

AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman

Right now, Baltimore’s safety situation is quantity over quality. Eric Weddle is the only proven safety on the roster, followed by disappointments in Kendrick Lewis, Terrence Brooks and Matt Elam.

Then there is Lardarius Webb, who is primed to move to safety, but just how effective he can be remains to be seen. Adding another safety, perhaps in the form of a veteran on a one-year deal, could give the team more security on the back end.

Left side of offensive line

Eugene Monroe left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens

As of now, Baltimore’s left side of the offensive line is: left tackle Eugene Monroe and left guard John Urschel. Will that persist? We have no clue, but Kelechi Osemele‘s departure may signal that Monroe maintains his spot on the roster in 2016.

Unless the Ravens find a true starting left tackle during the draft, Monroe is their only option. As for Urschel, he could be a solid choice for the 2016 season, but he hasn’t done anything to cement his spot in the starting lineup during his two years of NFL play.

The whole left side will hinge on the team’s plans for Monroe.

Wide Receiver

Kamar Aiken scores a touchdown against the Browns, dances in the end zone

AP Photo/Gail Burton

A healthy Breshad Perriman along with the return of Steve Smith Sr. and the addition of Mike Wallace gives the Ravens an improved receiving corp. But they should not stop there.

Smith Sr. will likely retire after the 2016 season, and Wallace is only on a two-year deal. Those two are short-term options. The Ravens need talent for down the road as well. Early-round options such as Laquon Treadwell, Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard should attract Baltimore’s interest.

Backup Quarterback

Ryan Mallett raises his hands in the shotgun.

Sure, Ryan Mallett ended 2015 strong and will enter training camp as the favorite to be Joe Flacco‘s backup, but that should not justify an uncontested competition.

Ideally, the Ravens draft a young, developmental quarterback. Two preferences? Vernon Adams and Cardale Jones.

Linebackers

Ravens LBs Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs celebrate a sack.

With the release of Daryl Smith, the Ravens have a need at inside linebacker. The pass rushers are no spring chicken, either.

On the inside, two incumbents in Arthur Brown and Zachary Orr will compete for Smith’s spot. Logic would suggest, however, that the team does not view either as a legitimate starter. Neither has had significant playing time in purple and black. Perhaps a Smith-type signing would help fill the void, or maybe the team looks young and turns to draft options such as Myles Jack or Reggie Ragland.

At outside linebacker, it is plain and simple: the Ravens need pass rushers. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are not getting any younger, and Za’Darius Smith is more of a rotational piece than true starter.

Which need is the biggest for the Ravens?

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Kyle Casey

About Kyle Casey

Kyle's love of football centers around analytics and the NFL Draft. He has held season tickets at M&T Bank Stadium since 2004, and currently resides in Section 243. A 2016 Mass Communications graduate of Towson University, Kyle now works in the IT staffing industry. He tries to find the balance between being rational and being a contrarian through writing. More from Kyle Casey

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