Baltimore Ravens: Is more depth needed in the secondary?


Baltimore Ravens strong safety

Matt Elam

(26) had a disappointing season last year, and he has to prove why he deserves to make the roster this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have done a lot this offseason with the addition and loss of players. So, what is remaining to yet do?

At this point in the offseason, the front office is working to add to the depth chart. While they have been hard at work to add depth to most positions, I believe there’s still some work to be done.

The lack of depth hurt the Ravens last season when the injuries began. Cornerback Kyle Arrington has solidified that position; however, the safety position is still thin.

Kendrick Lewis and Will Hill are obvious starters, but the team loses its depth quickly after that. Terrence Brooks is recovering from a season-ending injury, so he may not be ready for the new year. However, if he is ready, his return improves the depth at the safety position immediately.

Safety Matt Elam struggled last season with many aspects of the game, whether it was missed tackles, being beat on a play, or miscommunication. Unless he uses the offseason to improve his play, he adds no depth to the roster.

Elam does have promise for the Ravens, so he is a player to keep a watch on as he tries to solidify his spot on the roster. If he does not improve these fundamental concepts, he could find himself on the bubble when it comes time to make cuts.

More from Baltimore Ravens

Anthony Levine is the third string, but if Brooks has to sit out part of the season, he will have to step up. As he received more playing time in 2014, his stats reflected his increased presence on the field.

Levine has not proven himself as a starter, so I cannot say his adds enough talent to provide depth behind Lewis. Unless the Ravens add more depth, he will have to back up the new defensive addition if Brooks is still recovering from his injury. If given the playing time, he could prove himself a valuable player.

I worry about the depth because of the injuries the team had last season. If the starter goes down, the Ravens cannot afford to have the backup be inadequate on the field for another year.

Elam will receive most of his competition from Brynden Trawick, if no other safeties are signed. Entering his third year with the Ravens, Trawick has yet to prove himself as a consistent player. Even with the injuries last season, he received very little playing time, and in that time, he did not stand out.

Behind Terrell Suggs at left outside linebacker is another position that lacks immediate depth, though his durability doesn’t cry out for an immediate fix. Za’Darius Smith is only a rookie, but with his potential talent, the Ravens could easily leave him as the backup for his rookie season.

John Harbaugh told ESPN staff writer Jamison Hensley the rookie compares to Pernell McPhee.

"He has pass-rush ability even maybe more so than we saw from Pernell coming out. He has hips, and he can get around blocks. If he develops like Pernell did, we’re going to have something."

Steve Means is the third string behind the rookie, who adds almost no additional depth with his lack of playing time and experience. I doubt anybody else will be added behind Suggs with the praise Smith has received, but it couldn’t hurt.

The Ravens have done well to provide depth to most positions. While most players will be cut (to reach the 53-man roster), the depth will add more competition among the players. Surprise gems could be found among the unknowns.