With the draft and all the young players it brings, the Baltimore Ravens may have begun what I have been telling them to do: begin to go younger on the defensive side.
Three of the four picks of the second day of the draft have been defensive players. Each player can make an immediate impact too.
The Ravens have had an older defense for a good while now, and once Ray Lewis and Ed Reed departed, it did not function as well as it had. The names that are most recognizable on the defensive side are now in their 30s or late 20s.
There are the other players who are young and upcoming, and the Ravens are hopeful their work with these drafted young players will result in future parts of the defense.
With the 17th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Ravens selected Inside Linebacker C.J. Mosley from Alabama.
He fits in perfectly with the current Ravens linebackers at 6-foot-2, but actually weighs in at only 235 pounds compared to the other linebackers on Baltimore’s roster who rarely weigh in below 250 pounds.
This does not worry me, because I have seen Mosley play before. He is an all-around linebacker who likes to get his hands on the ball carrier.
Whether the opposing player is going to pass the ball, run with the ball, or attempt a reception, Mosley can play his part wherever needed.
I am excited to see how he plays out in Baltimore. He was a leader at Alabama, and I hope he can grow under the linebackers in Baltimore and become a leader in the locker room.
Mosley is a prime example of the player the Ravens need to have more of as they should seek to make the defense younger.
Now, Mosley should be in a prime location to help improve his skills as a linebacker. With the veterans he has to look up to, and a legacy left by Lewis, I am certain he will grow up strong in Baltimore.
With the 48th overall selection in the second round, the Ravens picked defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan from Florida State.
I was surprised that the Ravens passed on an opportunity in the first round to draft for a need on the offensive line. And the same thing was true with Round Two.
The defensive line was not a major focus for the Ravens’ draft so far as I knew, especially with the offensive line still needing a bit of help.
Clearly, Jernigan was selected as an overall good player who either can add depth to the defensive line or may even slide into Jones’ spot. Either way, Jernigan is a Raven now.
If he plays, he was an effective run defender in college. And the Ravens need to improve upon the rush defense from 2013.
The Ravens did select to address a need with their next pick, but not an offensive need, but a defensive one.
With the 79th pick in the third round, the Ravens selected Free Safety Terrence Brooks from Florida State. He has played strong safety and free safety; but the Ravens need a free safety, so he should move into that position permanently.
However, after spending some time looking into Brooks, he does not seem like someone who can start immediately. He can certainly move into a backup role, even special teams, but as a starting safety, I do not see him making an immediate impact.
The Ravens have focused heavily on the defense so far, and I would expect them to work on the offensive line in the next rounds.
Ozzie Newsome always seems to know what he is doing, so I trust him to make the right decision. But as he goes later into the draft, the less likely he will be to will get his hands on an offensive lineman who can make an immediate impact.