Tha Sports Junkies 101

The Ravens are Quietly Piecing Together One of the Best Secondaries in the NFL

Secondary Keith Allison/ via Flickr

NFL

After putting together a 2016 season where Baltimore was top 10 in nearly every statistical category, the unit still felt held back by the secondary. That won’t be the case in 2017. After landing the top safety to hit the market for the second year in a row, Baltimore aims to have the best tandem East of Seattle.

Projected CB Depth Chart

  1. Jimmy Smith
  2. Brandon Carr
  3. Tavon Young
  4. Kyle Arrington/Anthony Levine Sr.
  5. Maurice Canady

Secondary Keys

Anthony Levine Sr.

Re-signing Anthony Levine was the most overlooked move in free agency for Baltimore. Levine’s value to the defense is immeasurable. Levine has played snaps at corner, safety, and linebacker, and is a “do it all guy” that every defense needs. He provides a solid matchup with anyone from a back, to a receiver, to even a tight end. Levine will play a pivotal role in the secondary rotation in 2017.

Tavon Young

The signing of Brandon Carr is phenomenal for a few reasons, however my personal favorite is that it bumps Tavon down a slot. Tavon Young will be a stud in this league, and it shows since he graded 79.8 in coverage, best of all Ravens corners.  Tavon received the 3rd best rookie corner grade at 80.3, only two points behind 5th overall pick Jalen Ramsey. (PFF) Young has the skill set to be a number 1 corner. I believe he needs a few more years to develop and moving him into the slot/nickel role is an amazing way to do that. In time, Tavon will be a threat on the perimeter, and next season will play a key spot in a lockdown secondary.

Brandon Carr

Ozzie made a small risk, big impact signing with Brandon Carr. Carr is a big bodied, solid corner to line up opposite of Jimmy Smith. Carr also brings 2 things with him that the corner group desperately needs: durability and reliability. He has yet to miss a game in his 9 year career. Brandon also brings the ability to lockdown a number 2 receiver, which can compliment Jimmy Smith and buy more time for the pass rush to hit home. Carr was signed to a very team friendly deal and brings leadership and talent to a young group of corners.

Jimmy Smith

Smith is still the number 1 corner on this team, and he is capable of locking down any team’s number 1 option. Smith’s biggest issue will remain to be his durability, since entering the league he has missed 15 games due to injury. Jimmy’s health will be pivotal in the secondary’s success, however, with new additions the unit should be solid in his absence. When healthy however, Jimmy is a top tier corner in the league. He has the size and skill set to cover a range of receivers, though he typically struggles with small shifty receivers. Such things can be addressed much easier now that there is more talent and depth in this secondary.

Tony Jefferson

Baltimore got the gem of free agency in Tony Jefferson, and he gets to line up next to Eric Weddle. Both have similar skill sets so defensive coordinator Dean Pees will have a field day scheming and disguising coverages. The tandem will both be able to line up in the box and cover over top. The addition of Jefferson opens the door for the secondary to transition into something special. Jefferson and Weddle will both make runs at Pro Bowl and maybe even All Pro seasons, the duo will be the backbone of a defense that was already stout in 2016.

New Look Defense

Baltimore has always hung its hat on a hard nosed, run stuffing defense. But now the unit at its entirety will be a threat to any offense. This free agency period has pushed Baltimore to the front of the AFC North and into Super Bowl contention. A young pass rusher is the only thing this unit needs to be a top defense in the league.