When the Baltimore Ravens enter the start of 2013 NFL regular season, they’ll be attempting to become just ninth team to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
In an offseason where the Ravens have had to replace nine starters, the team has plenty of work to do before it can once again be considered a championship contender.
The Ravens traded away WR Anquan Boldin (49ers), lost FS Ed Reed (Texans), SS Bernard Pollard (Titans), OLB Paul Kruger (Browns), ILB Dannell Ellerbe (Dolphins), CB Cary Williams (Eagles) and DE Ma’ake Kemoeatu (unsigned) via free agency and ILB Ray Lewis and C Matt Birk to retirement.
In an effort to fill the void, the Ravens signed OLB Elvis Dumervil (Broncos), FS Michael Huff (Raiders), DE Chris Canty (Giants) and DE Marcus Spears (Cowboys) and used their 32nd and 56th overall picks on SS Matt Elam (Florida) and ILB Arthur Brown (Kansas State). ILB Rolando McClain (Raiders) had signed but ended up retiring.
While the Ravens may have lost in the experience and intimidation category, their acquisitions should be able to offset losses on the defensive side of the ball. After all, the Ravens ranked 17th in total yards allowed and 12th in points allowed.
However, the Ravens still have holes to address on the offensive side of the ball.
Currently, 2012 fourth-round pick Gino Gradkowski is expected to replace Birk at center and Jacoby Jones is expected to replace Boldin opposite Torrey Smith.
It’s too early to know whether Gradkowski will pan out into a Pro Bowler like Birk, but Jones hasn’t proved he’s capable of starting. In three starts last season, Jones caught seven passes for 103 yards and a touchdown.
There have been rumors the Ravens aren’t done yet and GM Ozzie Newsome recently told ESPN’s John Clayton, the team “could use a veteran receiver.”
Aside from Jones, the Ravens other in-house options include: David Reed, Tandon Doss and Tommy Streeter.
The top wide receiver free agents include: Brandon Lloyd, Titus Young, Laurent Robinson, Steve Breaston, Braylon Edwards, Early Doucet and Austin Collie.