2017 Baltimore Ravens Offseason Preview
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2016 Season Recap
Baltimore started the season like a house on fire, stitching together three-straight victories. Then the wheels came off, as the Ravens lost the next four games. They went 5-4 the rest of the way, capped by a deflating 27-10 road loss to Cincinnati. The Ravens were riddled with injuries throughout the season, partly explaining why they’ve missed the postseason for the second consecutive season. That said, there were some positive takeaways from the Ravens’ 2016 campaign.
For one, the Ravens had one of the best defenses in the league, ranking inside the top ten against both the pass and run. It was a different story on the other side of the ball, however. Joe Flacco has been inconsistent probably due to his not having fully recovered from a 2015 knee injury. While Flacco threw for a franchise record 4,317 yards, he had 15 interceptions against 20 passing touchdowns.
Top Free Agency Needs
With all the hurt bodies on the Ravens’ roster, particularly on defense, the Ravens would definitely look for depth in that area. Head coach John Harbaugh wants security in the secondary with Jimmy Smith’s health being a nagging issue. Finding the right cornerback mix was a struggle last season for the Ravens, who are expected to take a hard and long look at some free agent corners this March. Steve Smith’s retirement (and the fact that he was still among the top go-to guys by Flacco at the ripe age of 37) has amplified the need for a new playmaker downfield for Baltimore.
Top Draft Needs
Defensive End. Despite the solid numbers on defense, the Ravens didn’t do much in terms of quarterback pressure last season in which they were only 24th in the league with 31 sacks. Interior linemen and a blitzing scheme provided 11 of those sacks, highlighting the team’s need for a pass rusher from the outside.
Offensive Tackle. Rick Wagner could leave for free agency and even if he stayed in Baltimore, the depth of the position behind him and Ronnie Stanley could use some shoring up.
Wide Receiver. Steve Smith is gone and the Ravens might not be willing to part ways with Mike Wallace, who has an $8 million cap charge next season. Getting a marquee wide receiver from free agency and complementing the move with a wideout pick in the draft could bring a smile to Joe Flacco’s face.
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