About this time two years ago the Baltimore Ravens were sitting on top the football world as Super Bowl XLVII champions. Last season they didn’t even make it back to the playoffs. Well, the Ravens are a team that adjusts very well due to the fantastic leadership of John Harbaugh; and although it wasn’t easy, they made it back to the playoffs for the 2014 NFL season. In fact, the Ravens needed a lot to go their way in Week 17; but in the end it all worked out for them.
Unfortunately for Raven fans, they were knocked off in the AFC Divisional Round by the eventual Super Bowl XLIX Champion New England Patriots. Of course the next week in the AFC Championship Game it was revealed that the Patriots had been cheating by deflating their 12 game balls. In response, Ravens fans and NFL fans in general began to start and sign petitions to get the Ravens back in the playoffs. No matter how many signatures their fans were able to acquire to disqualify the Patriots for cheating all season, the Ravens were out of the playoffs for good—a disappointing ending to a season that could have definitely seen the Ravens make their second Super Bowl appearance in three seasons.
The Ravens are now sitting on the 26th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft with a few needs that need to be met. For the Ravens, this draft is not a matter of rebuilding, as they already have all the tools and pieces necessary to win and make a run for the big game. At this point, the Ravens are simply restocking and trying coming back stronger for the 2015 season. The Ravens Here are the top needs of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2015 NFL Draft:
Tight End: Ravens fans probably won’t like to hear this, but Dennis Pitta’s career is on its last leg. Pitta has been one of the most underrated tight ends in the league during his five season in Baltimore; however, a hip injury ended his season back in September. Normally this is the type of injury that a player can bounce back from, but Pitta has had so many setbacks that he is actually considering retirement. The Ravens have Owen Daniels, but he is not a long-term solution. Drafting a solid tight end early in the draft could do the team a huge favor moving forward.
Nose Tackle (Defensive Lineman): The Ravens still have Haloti Ngata, one of the better and more consistent defensive linemen in the NFL and a regular Pro Bowl selection; however, he cannot play forever. Nose Tackles don’t last forever, so the Ravens definitely need a good player to come in for Ngata on relief and in the future once he has retired. Currently the Ravens have Terrance Cody and Brandon Williams on the depth chart behind the big man; however, neither of these players have shown the ability to play at the high level that Ngata has since entering the league in 2006. Most defensive lineman are interchangeable as well, so if the Ravens draft the right guy he could end up a starter next to Ngata.
Cornerback: This is by far the Ravens most pressing need coming into the offseason. Sure, the Ravens still have Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb, both of whom will be back and healthy in 2015; but a shortage of quality cornerbacks cost the Ravens another trip to the Super Bowl this season. The Ravens secondary suffered a lot in 2014. Injuries to starters forced the Ravens to practically start signing corners off the streets. Obviously the odds that the entire Ravens secondary will miss time again in 2015 is slim, but it still doesn’t hurt to have backups you can trust when the game gets tough. Simply drafting a decent cornerback or two as backups could prevent tragedy from ruining another promising season in Baltimore.