Projecting Baltimore Ravens' Depth Chart After Peak of Free Agency
After a wild first month of free agency, the Baltimore Ravens are vastly different than the team that ended the 2014-15 season.
That's what happens when you lose several of your best players and key contributors. Haloti Ngata, Torrey Smith, Owen Daniels and Darian Stewart are all on new teams now after being key members of last year's 10-6 club that made it to the second weekend of the NFL playoffs.
However, several players return who will once again be key contributors for next year's team. Here's an early look at the Ravens' depth chart following the first wave of free agency.
- Joe Flacco
- Matt Schaub
- Keith Wenning
There will be not controversy at quarterback, as Joe Flacco will once again be the starter for as long as he's healthy in 2015.
In the regular season, Flacco threw for 27 scores and just 12 interceptions one year after throwing 22 picks versus just 19 touchdowns. Then Flacco elevated his game in the playoffs, and was a big reason why the Ravens came within one score of upsetting the Patriots in the Divisional Round.
In two postseason games against the Steelers and Patriots, Flacco completed 46 of 74 passes (62.1 percent) with six touchdowns and two interceptions, good for a QB rating of 100.7.
Backing him up this year will be Matt Schaub after he spent a year in Oakland backing up Derek Carr. He has starting experience from his days with the Texans, but he's nothing more than a backup at this stage in his NFL career.
- Justin Forsett
- Lorenzo Taliaferro
- Fitzgerald Toussaint
- Kyle Juszczyk
The Ravens backfield will mostly be the same in 2015 after free-agent running back Justin Forsett was re-signed. Forsett was the bell-cow back for the Ravens in 2014, rushing for 1,266 yards (fifth-most in NFL). He'll continue to be the No. 1 back for the Ravens in 2015.
Backing him up will be Lorenzo Taliaferro and Fitzgerald Toussaint, who didn't get many touches last year as a rookie, but should play more in 2015.
Kyle Juszczyk will continue to start at fullback after serving well in that role in 2014. In addition to being a solid blocker in the run game, Juszczyk was a nice option in the pass game coming out of the backfield.
He finished the regular season with 19 catches for 182 yards and one score. Those aren't eye-popping numbers by any stretch, but they're still pretty good when you consider he was the fourth or fifth option in the offense.
- Steve Smith
- Marlon Brown
- Kamar Aiken
- Michael Campanaro
- Aldrick Robinson
- Jeremy Butler
- Dennis Pitta
- Crockett Gillmore
- Phillip Supernaw
The Ravens receiving corps will look vastly different in 2015 after losing Torrey Smith in free agency. Baltimore also cut Jacoby Jones this offseason, meaning two of the Ravens' top four receivers of a year ago are gone.
Steve Smith will once again be a full-time starter in 2015 after starting alongside Torrey Smith in every game last year.
Steve Smith will be joined by Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro as the top three receivers. Smith caught 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns this past season, but the latter two players combined for just 31 catches for 369 yards and four scores.
At tight end, Dennis Pitta is still on the roster, but may be forced to retire due to chronic hip issues at some point this year.
That leaves second-year man Crockett Gillmore to be the projected starter in 2015, with Phillip Supernaw as his backup. Those two combined for 17 catches for 148 yards and one score.
Gillmore was just a rookie out of Colorado State last year, and he should improve in his second NFL season while possibly being the Ravens' no. 1 tight end.
- Eugene Monroe
- James Hurst
- Kelechi Osemele
- Jeremy Zuttah
- Ryan Jensen
- Marshal Yanda
- John Urschel
- Ricky Wagner
- Marcel Jones
The Ravens have done a great job of keeping their offensive line intact, which is arguably the strongest unit on the team.
At guard, Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda are one of the best tandems in football, and they'll continue to anchor the line in 2015.
Ricky Wagner emerged this past season, starting 15 games in his first season as a full-time starter. Eugene Monroe started 11 games at left tackle while missing five due to a knee injury. If he can stay healthy, he will remain the starting blindside protector going forward.
Jeremy Zuttah started all 16 games and help anchor a Ravens offensive line that surrendered only 19 sacks in 2014.
The five will together continue to anchor one of the better offensive lines in football in 2015.
- Chris Canty
- DeAngelo Tyson
- Brandon Williams
- Christo Bilukidi
- Timmy Jernigan
- Lawrence Guy
The Ravens' defensive line will be missing All-Pro lineman Haloti Ngata after trading him to the Detroit Lions this offseason.
That leaves Baltimore without its best lineman of the past eight seasons, but the line will still be strong in 2015.
The Ravens will likely utilize a defensive line of end Chris Canty, nose tackle Brandon Williams and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. Canty and Williams are veterans who have started enough games that Baltimore will feel good about them, but Jernigan will be in a full-time role for the first time.
Jernigan showed a lot of promise last year as a rookie out of Florida State, but expecting him to replace Ngata's production is unrealistic.
The three should ensure the line continues to play at a high level in 2015, but they likely won't be as good as when they had Ngata.
- Elvis Dumervil
- Courtney Upshaw
- Daryl Smith
- Albert McClellan
- C.J. Mosley
- Arthur Brown
- Terrell Suggs
Outside Linebacker 1
Inside Linebacker 1
Inside Linebacker 2
Outside Linebacker 2
The strength of the Ravens was the linebacking unit, and that should again be the case in 2015.
C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith will be the two inside 'backers in Baltimore's 3-4 defense after combining for 261 total tackles, four sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and 17 pass defenses in 2014.
The two were all over the field in run defense while Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil terrorized quarterbacks at outside linebacker. The latter pair combined for 29 sacks and 98 total tackles in 2014.
Dumervil alone had a franchise-record 17 sacks last year. With both back in the fold next year, expect this to be one of the best linebacker units in football in 2015.
The only player who must be replaced is outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, who accounted for 7.5 sacks last year in a situational role. Courtney Upshaw will be counted on to contribute more in 2015 with McPhee now in Chicago after signing with the Bears this offseason.
- Lardarius Webb
- Asa Jackson
- Kendrick Lewis
- Terrence Brooks
- Will Hill
- Matt Elam
- Jimmy Smith
- Rashaan Melvin
- Anthony Levine
The Ravens lost Darian Stewart this offseason after he signed with the Denver Broncos.
Baltimore went on to replace him with Kendrick Lewis, who spent last year with the Houston Texans. He racked up 84 tackles, six pass deflections, three forced fumbles and two interceptions in 16 games last year.
At strong safety, Will Hill will battle Matt Elam for the starting spot after doing so in 2014. Hill ultimately become the full-time starter down the stretch, but Elam will be in just his third season in 2015, and there's hope he can make a big jump after regressing last season.
At cornerback, Baltimore should be better in 2015 just by being healthier than in 2014. Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith are a nice starting tandem, but injuries prevented them from playing together regularly in 2014.
Webb missed the first three games last season while recovering from a back injury. Smith suffered a season-ending foot injury and missed the final eight games of the year.
Asa Jackson is a nice third corner when healthy, but he, too, missed the season's second half after a knee injury cost him nine games.
The three should be healthy in 2015 and, if that's the case, they'll handle the bulk of the snaps at cornerback.
- Sam Koch
- Justin Tucker
- Patrick Scales
The Ravens special teams unit was great in 2014 and that shouldn't change much this year with Justin Tucker and Sam Koch returning.
Koch finished 2014 with a career-high 47.4 yards-per-punt average. He also had a career-high 43.3 net yards per punt.
Tucker was once again one of the NFL's best kickers after converting 29 of 34 attempts (85.3 percent), including a 55-yarder he hit in a road win at New Orleans.
Tucker's only five misses were from 50-plus yards, and he finished the year with 129 total points. Between he and Koch, Baltimore's special teams should again be among the best overall units in 2015.