Ask most Ravens fans what they felt was the biggest weakness of the 2014 season and they would answer it was the secondary. The Baltimore Ravens defensive backfield was regularly shifting in 2014.
The weakness was exploited by Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady as they carved the Ravens secondary in the playoffs. Brady threw for 422 yards and four touchdowns in the comeback at Foxborough. On New England’s game-winning drive, it seemed as though the Patriots receivers were open on every pass play.
It was well publicized that the Ravens battled the injury bug in 2014. They lost five corners to season-ending injuries: Jimmy Smith, Aaron Ross, Tramain Jacobs, Danny Gorrer and Asa Jackson. Lardarius Webb battled injuries most of the season.
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With a healthy Webb and Smith returning, the Ravens still have one of the top starting duos in the league. Rahsaan Melvin and Jackson figure to round out the group of cornerbacks. Baltimore could opt to find a corner late in the draft, but I would be surprised to see them spend an early pick for a player that would be a slot corner in his opening season.
The real need for the Ravens is to upgrade the play at the safety position. Matt Elam is still struggling for consistency and Terrence Brooks will start the season on the PUP list following a late season knee injury. The draft isn’t necessarily loaded with talent in the back end of the secondary so the upcoming free agent market might be where the Ravens look too.
Here are three players the Ravens might be interested in:
This offseason’s prize would be McCourty, who has made an effortless transition from cornerback to safety. McCourty is a rare commodity as he would give the Ravens someone with the ability to play both the corner and safety positions.
He has exceptional coverage skills and has shown the ability to get his hands on the ball, finishing 2014 with three interceptions. He is also a leader in the secondary which the Ravens have lacked since the days of Ed Reed.
At just 27 years old, the Patriots are gambling that McCourty will be resigned before the start of free agency. If not, it would behoove the Ravens to make the call and fix their problem at safety. He is going to get a hefty contract, one the Ravens might not be able to afford with the current cap situation.
Allen was never given the proper treatment while in Philadelphia. The Eagles acquired the safety with a pick acquired in the deal that sent Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins.
Allen plays mostly at deep safety, but has also fared well in the slot and near the line of scrimmage. His six passes defend and four interceptions in 2014 were career highs and more than the previous two season combined.
Allen has started 69 of the 80 games possible during his Eagles career. The Ravens could sign the former University of South Florida product hoping that he reaches the potential that saw him drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft.
Ravens fan might not remember the guy on the opposite end who made the Mile High Miracle possible. It was Moore who misjudged the ball that allowed Jacoby Jones to haul in the catch that is possibly the most remarkable play in Ravens playoff history.
Moore recorded five interceptions in 2014 and is exceptional in coverage. He does struggle in run defense and missed tackles are one of the main issues. However, no one can deny his play-making abilities which the Ravens lack.
Moore will be one of the most coveted defensive backs once free agency starts considering his age (25) and will attract a substantial contract.
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