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If there’s one thing Baltimore fans can agree on, it’s that the Ravens could use some upgrades at certain positions this offseason. Hey, what NFL team couldn’t?
But when it comes to picking what positions are the most urgent, the debate heats up.
Well here are my Top 5 positions of need in no particular order. Keep in mind, these are not the views of the Ravens organization, but rather my personal analysis.
I will debate the Ravens’ tippy-top offseason need tomorrow with Mike Duffy, so stay tuned for what could be a feisty discussion.
This one certainly isn’t any surprise for Ravens fans out there. Running back Ray Rice led the team in catches. Derrick Mason, who notched the most receiving yards with 1,028, could retire and is an unrestricted free agent even if he doesn’t. The next most-productive wide receiver on the roster was Mark Clayton, who had 34 catches for 480 yards and two touchdowns and is a restricted free agent. Behind him is unrestricted free agent Kelley Washington. Needless to say, this is a position where the Ravens may not only look for improved results, but also bodies to fill the roster.
If Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington were healthy, this would look a lot different. But considering they both could still be sidelined at the start of 2010, the Ravens are in a bit of a bind. Washington is a restricted free agent and the Ravens could look to add a young player to eventually crack the starting rotation. The Ravens finished 8th in the NFL in average passing yards allowed per game, but this is reportedly a deep class for corners.
Todd Heap had a resurgent year, catching 53 passes for 593 yards and six touchdowns. But Heap’s six-year contract is set to expire after next season and the Ravens could look for insurance in case Heap isn’t resigned or went down with injury. L.J. Smith’s one-year Baltimore tenure resulted in just two catches and the Ravens don’t have another receiving threat behind him. A pass-catching tight end would also boost Baltimore’s passing game.
Ed Reed is contemplating retirement, which would leave a massive hole in the Ravens’ defense. On top of that, strong safety Dawan Landry is a restricted free agent. Haruki Nakamura is coming back from injury. Backup Tom Zbikowski played well in Reed’s absence, but the Ravens could look to add a young talent that Reed could mentor and they may have a need for depth.
The Ravens were once again one of the top run-stopping teams in the NFL. However, they ranked 18th in the league when it came to sacks (32). A pass-rushing defensive end could help boost that stat. The Ravens could have a hole to fill if they don’t resign unrestricted free agent Dwan Edwards. Whoever the targeted player is must be able to fit into a 3-4 defense though, and I doubt the Ravens would invest in somebody who can’t plug the run.