Wide receiver Torrey Smith will be called on to take the lead role at his position in 2013.
The 2013 NFL season will feature several players for the Ravens who will be asked to fill bigger roles on the team. Baltimore will look to players from last year's roster to move up in the depth chart and perform better than they did last year.
Baltimore's roster features plenty of talented players who are more than capable of posting their best season to date in 2013. Here is a look at the top five players who could post a breakout season for Baltimore this year.
Defensive end Pernell McPhee is looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2012 season.
2013 projections: 47 tackles, 10.5 sacks
Defensive end Pernell McPhee is entering his third season with the Ravens. McPhee posted a nice season for the Ravens as a rookie in 2011, and was thought to improve on those numbers in 2012. Unfortunately for McPhee, he suffered a difficult season in which he lost three people close to him, and he played in only 12 games.
In the 12 games McPhee played in during the 2012 season, he recorded only 21 tackles and posted 1.5 sacks for the Ravens. McPhee returned to the Ravens in the postseason, posting four tackles while recording one sack. With a less stressful season off the field, and a healthy season on the field, McPhee could certainly improve on last season's struggles.
The goal for McPhee is pretty simple, he wants his third year in the league to be a dominant one. Expect a big season from McPhee, who could see an increase in snaps this season if he is able to produce early on.
Dennis Pitta has developed into one of Flacco's favorite targets over the last two seasons.
2013 predictions: 77 catches, 831 yards, 9 touchdowns
Tight end Dennis Pitta is one of two receiving targets who could post career years for the Ravens. Pitta was one of Joe Flacco's top targets last season, finishing the year with 93 targets, good for third-most on the team.
Pitta will likely see an increase in all of his receiving numbers in 2013, with wide receiver Anquan Boldin being traded to San Francisco this offseason. Boldin led all Ravens with 112 targets last season, but Flacco will have to look elsewhere for receivers following his departure.
Pitta really turned up his performance for the Ravens in the postseason. After hauling in seven touchdowns for the Ravens in 16 regular-season games, Pitta caught three touchdowns in his four postseason appearances.
The Ravens will have to rework their passing attack for the coming season. While it remains to be seen who will emerge as the top pass-catcher for them, Pitta looks to be near the front of the line.
Linebacker Jameel McClain's name has become lost in the discussion of linebackers who could replace Ray Lewis.
2013 Projections: 90 tackles, 2.5 sacks
This offseason fans have been wondering who could replace recently retired linebacker Ray Lewis. While there were thoughts that the Ravens could address that need in the draft, the Ravens recently signed linebacker Rolando McClain. Unfortunately, (Rolando) McClain's future with the Ravens is now up in the air after his arrest on April 21.
Veteran middle linebacker Jameel McClain seems to be a forgotten man on the Ravens' roster this offseason. If healthy, (Jameel) McClain should be a prime candidate to fill the Ravens' void at middle linebacker. Prior to last season, McClain had played in every game for the Ravens since being signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2008.
McClain played in 13 games for the Ravens last season, racking up 79 tackles for them. He was given the starting role following the injury to Ray Lewis in Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. On December 9 against the Redskins, McClain suffered a season-ending injury while attempting to tackle running back Alfred Morris.
McClain suffered a spinal contusion which was thought to be significant enough to jeopardize his career. Instead, doctors have cleared McClain to play the 2013 season, and he could be ready to go at the start of training camp. McClain's injury will most likely not require surgery, and if he can stay healthy, he could serve as Baltimore's starting linebacker come Week 1.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith will be asked to fill a major role following the trade of Anquan Boldin.
2013 projections: 67 catches, 1,139 yards, 10 touchdowns
Wide receiver Torrey Smith appears to be the top wide receiver in Baltimore. With Anquan Boldin officially out of the mix, Smith is the veteran leader of a young receiver corps.
In his first two seasons, Smith has racked up a total of 99 receptions for 1,696 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Ravens. Last year he recorded career highs in receiving yards (855) and touchdowns (eight) in his second year in the league.
Smith was second on the Ravens in targets last season, and his eight receiving touchdowns were the most on the team. With elite speed and solid hands, Smith should see a rise in all his numbers from last season, which were still good for only a second-year player.
After signing the richest contract in NFL history this offseason, quarterback Joe Flacco is in need of a breakout season.
2012 projections: 4,103 yards, 30 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
After signing the richest contract in NFL history this offseason, nobody should be expected to have a breakout season more than Joe Flacco. Aside from winning the Super Bowl, Flacco has now posted two solid postseason appearances.
Flacco's run to the Super Bowl led to one of the best postseason appearances in NFL history. He managed to throw for 1,140 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs, something only Hall of Famer Joe Montana has done.
After Flacco's strong postseason showing in 2012, it was thought that we were going to see a better quarterback in the coming season. Flacco was not bad during the 2012 regular season, but he was by no means great. He threw for a career-high 3,817 yards last year, and also threw 22 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions.
The pressure will be on Flacco to post some elite numbers in 2013 with his new contract. He'll also have to find a way to lead a young receiver corps down the field with Anquan Boldin gone.
If Flacco lives up to the lofty expectations that have been placed on him this season, he could post some of the best numbers of his career.